Art: A reflection of a perception, or the baring of the soul?

Today (6th August) has seen me head out into Newcastle. Not a place I go to often anymore, as, quite frankly, aside from the people living there that I know, there isn’t really a great reason to go. If I want to go and see things, then I’ll go out to Durham for the day, as I feel like I’m going out somewhere else, and if it’s just generic window shopping/picking stuff up then Sunderland has most things I would need (and those it doesn’t have, Durham does, for the most part).

However, there was a reason behind today’s trip and that was for culture. First stop was the Laing Art Gallery – where we had a look round a couple of exhibitions, but in particular had gone to see the Quentin Blake section (http://www.quentinblake.com/en/). Forgive me if this is patronizing, but for anyone who doesn’t know – he’s the chap that illustrated for, most famously, Roald Dahl’s books, and is still going strong, even now he’s 80. For me, he’ll always be a bit of a lesson in life, I guess, as he doesn’t conform to ‘conventional art’. It’s been said on more than one occasion that his influence is seen in some of my sketches (although it’s VERY rare I’ll allow someone to see one of my sketches in the first place!)

For me, I’ve never had much confidence in my ability when it came to art. Surrounded by friends, and family members who were absolutely amazing at more traditional forms of art, where I, quite frankly, sucked at it, was not a good place to be…. I never really knew that there was more than one way to ‘do art’ – until I stumbled on this chap’s work. He certainly didn’t have the finer features of the face down perfectly, or everything in proportion, and no-one seemed to mind…

So basically I got to thinking about the way in which society perceives art – what classes as ‘good’ art? I don’t think it’s the same thing that I, or a fair few people I know would say it is. For general society, conventionally ‘good’ art is aesthetically pleasing, neat, coloured, safe. Occasionally you’ll get someone like Banksy come along who upsets the status quo and becomes the darling of the media for a while, but over time we return to the conventially accepted norm.

For me ‘good’ art is anything which I can see has something of it’s creator in it. Whether it’s a particular method used, or just the perception you get from it. No more more less. Art, for me, should be a reflection of your perception of life, whether it’s a portrait, an abstract, a landscape or something of the imagination – for why should the realm of imagination be any less real or valid than those things we can see!

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