Paint on a surface

Some artists talk about what their work means, and this is reprehensible if art is to stand on its own. Art doesn’t mean anything, it’s paint on a canvas, words on a page, pixels on a screen. Did Mary Shelley and J.R.R. Tolkien mean to write about the dangers of industrialization and technology in Frankenstein and The Lord of the Rings? Is Moby Dick a slippery allegory?

I don’t think it particularly matters. There is indeed room for things to mean more than they were intended to, but this is because an artist was smart enough to leave room for interpretation. Maybe the creator had some meaning in mind, but does that preclude the consumer from finding significance elsewhere in the work? The space between the notes can be a powerful place, but it’s still empty. (Empty of notes, anyway.)

On the other hand, artists who talk about their creative processes have always fascinated me. I love “making-of” documentaries on DVDs and author’s notes. Part of this is my late-80’s art-school training, but I’ve always loved to read about the process of creating art-objects.

For my contribution to this form, have a look at my paintings and artwork page, and let me know what you think. Let’s pretend I’ve written about how I don’t belong in the ranks of artists who blah blah blah, and golly gee am I humble!


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