"Good drawing always transcends those trends which beset painting and other forms of visual expression within any period. It is a most personal revelation, the DNA, the proof one way or another of calibre. Good drawing is never just about craft or virtuoso skills, nor the dogged science which leads to feats of portrayal. It is about a show of warmth and understanding, a sensitivity and genuine engagement with subject. It is about discovery, awareness and articulacy and it is the core of creativity." Sonia Lawson, Arts Review, May 1996
Omega posted a link to this quote yesterday and it's content and timing were just perfect for me! I'm not sure why I started getting grumpy recently (although it may be the headache after the migraine!) but I think it was an accumulation of things on the groups I'm on. Funny how you join them with a vague idea to get more information and after a while you realise there are subjects on each of them that one mention of them is enough to light the touchpaper! On the quilt groups it's the art versus craft debate, who is an artist and what is art? (They may as well ask what is the meaning of life, or is there a God!) QuiltArt has all those including it's No.1 'no no' Thomas Kincaid - Martha Stewart may be No. 2, but I really couldn't care less as everything seems to tick them off!
On EDM I asked some questions about the Moleskine sketchbooks and thankfully the answers were civilised and informative! I'm very suspicious about things that inspire blind devotion and this book certainly seems to inspire it. It's not so much that the book offends me - I think it's very ordinary - but the cult of celebrity that is invading every part of our lives. The paper is so smooth it rejects watercolours and pencil smudges right off it. It was supposed to be used by Chatwin and Hemingway who were probably using pen anyway, but the point is - who cares about that? If asked, I doubt anyone would admit it, but the celebrity or cult status seems to carry an awful lot of weight! Buying it puts you in an exclusive club.
I'm tired of celebrity. Look at what it does to people! Paris Hilton gets publicity for wearing skimpy clothes and doing nothing. Ditto Victoria Beckham who must spend huge amounts of time either shopping or finding a camera to ignore but certainly not eating. Madonna is not the queen of re-invention, she is in desperate need of attention, constantly, by anyone, everyone. We worship people driven by demons.
Recently, after many years of having only a few cheap, foreign channels, we got satellite TV installed. It's really, really sad. It's worse than sad. The ads are mostly from loan companies who offer to take all your loans, wave a magic wand and make them disappear. Behind the facade of celebrity, looking good, staying thin, having the right brands, there are so many people in debt struggling to keep up with this dream/nightmare.
I guess that's why I don't like the Moleskine. It's a little bit of shallowness which to me is not what art is all about. Artists should make comments on shallowness, not be shallow. But art attracts those wannabes who think black clothes will guarantee their authenticity. Maybe I'm too cynical. I've come to the conclusion recently that using pencil is what I do, it's what I've always done and that's OK, it doesn't matter how lowly others think of it, I can't change my spots. To cut the crap, it's something genuine.
A headline caught my eye on the BBC yesterday
about there being more overweight people than undernourished. My theory about why the world is in such a mess is that people have lost the ability to find value in what is genuine. Half the world (or more than, according to the headline) is out shopping to fill the void. It's the new religion. One group I was on started talking about how many sewing machines they owned. All that 'I am an artist' crap fell away! Forget that honey, shopping is what it's all about!