Sep 17, 2019
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Is art just B.S.?

Skepticism of artists’ ‘self-promotion’

I have a confession to make: I go to Art Hop partly for the free food. Don’t get me wrong, I’m way more into art than I used to be, especially since I started experimenting with media beyond the written word.

But my relationship with art in general has evolved over the years. It has become more about meaning rather than technique, maybe because I wrote long before I ever attempted to create anything visually.

I used to think of art as just a pretty picture or as anything that simulated reality. Along the same lines, I used to think of stick figures as bad art because they were so easy to draw.

Whoever said art had to be intricate to be appreciated?

I started making collages because I really suck at drawing and I grew tired of painting scenes with words. I wanted to see some actual color, not just describe it on a page.

The imagery I was drawn to quickly morphed from eyeballs and Daniel Radcliffe to magic mushrooms and ocean waves. And after a while, I realized it’s not as simple as slapping cut-outs on a sheet of cardboard.

There always ended up being a reason and a method, even if I didn’t start out with one.

This was about the time I started pouring over the art magazines like Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose at Borders. I tried to absorb as much as possible when scouring the magazines’ interviews with artists. What inspired them and why?

But half of what these people spouted was pure B.S. It was so obviously just self-promotion and trying to craft a certain kind of image and use as many big words as possible.

Shortly after that, I became rather skeptical when it came to consuming art. I grew leery of all the hipster types that I came into contact with at Art Hop, with their bowler hats, skinny jeans and fake eyeglasses.

Was it all about image now? What had happened to meaning?

Then a few weeks ago, a friend and I decided to check out the Fresno Metropolitan Museum’s 60th anniversary reception.

And sure, there were a fair number of intellectual types sipping wine and musing over abstract paintings, as I’d expected.

But there were also all kinds of people there milling around, enjoying the fancy catered food, absorbing the scenery. I saw this lady dressed to the nines spill her plate of food all over the floor.

And it was then that I came to understand that behind all the facades people put up, we’re still only human.

My cynicism has since flown the coop, and I can now enjoy art without being too critical or uppity.

I’m always on the lookout for meaning, but the pieces that stay with me aren’t necessarily the ones with the biggest message, but rather those which are the most nakedly human.

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