Today I have been thinking about what I listen to while in the studio. I love pod casts, audio books, and music. I usually just think of this as background entertainment, but I have decided I need to be more selective, as it is also stimulating and can have a negative as well as positive impact. Too much bad energy can affect my artwork. I know my mood has a great influence on my mark making and colour use. It can also influence my confidence in what I’m doing.
So I was listening to Grayson Perry, ‘Playing to the Gallery’ on audio book. This had a very positive impact. The value of laughter cannot be underestimated. It is a live recording of his Reith Lectures (2013), and he is discussing his experience of the art world, now that contemporary art is so much more main stream. He is so very inclusive and helps people to understand and become less afraid of art. It is well worth a read, or a listen. I actually bought a copy to read as well, as I like his illustrations.
So after my work day with Grayson I felt very positive and I was happy with my progress.
Then the next day, I listened to a fictional story about the modern art world. It was well written and probably I had exactly the reaction that the author was expecting. The Burnt Orange Heresy by Charles Willeford. I found I was immersed in a world that made me cringe and the characters were deliberately unlikeable. It is very much a dig at the art world and the creation of a famous painter through media hype alone – a deliberate art fraud.
So my irritation at the story line and vile characters, ended up affecting my work and nothing was right. I had to stop work in the end, as my negativity was having an impact, as I painted out and removed everything I had done the previous day.
Some days I just have to walk away. It is just part of the creative process.
Grayson Perry mentioned Marcel Duchamp’s work ‘Fountain’ several times in his talks. This is a ready-made sculpture of a porcelain urinal signed ‘R Mutt’ which was exhibited first in 1917. This has been described as ‘a brilliant and absurd art event’.
This was a ‘concept’ rather than an object, making it intellectually stimulating and throwing up questions. This wit and ingenuity is what Grayson seems to embody in his work, so I do understand why he mentions it. (Also it had to be remade by a potter, as the original was destroyed).
Burnt Orange Heresy is based around this same idea of a painter who creates a conceptual work of art by framing a crack in a wall and then the fame that develops from this pivotal moment. But this is not framed as humour, but more as the artist laughing at the viewer. But I think this might be more like the view of ‘the public’; noses pressed against the window of the gallery, too afraid to walk in for fear they will not understand and be the butt of the joke.
The joy of Grayson Perry is his lack of elitism and his approachable, positive personality.
Anyone got any suggestions of positive impact things that I can listen to in the studio in the future? All ideas appreciated.