I'm currently in the GTA for the weekend, slash-pleasure-slash-business. I went to The Artist Project show in Toronto in support of my colleagues, and it was an interesting space! Definitely a lot of talented folks, and it was good to note patterns and trends going on right now in the art world. I also got the chance to pick up the laser-engraved iteration of the Lonely Hydra and I'm so excited to print off of it when I'm back in London! It'll be great to compare it with the vinyl-cut and blasted iteration I worked on a few weeks back. I am a little caught up up here to I can't sit down and take pictures, so stay tuned to my instagram to see what's up.
In studio news, I've been currently working through the prep for a project! Made a rubber casting of a clawring I picked up someplace, then made my own iteration for a bigger project, down the line. I'm basically making digits for Death's gauntlet, and I plan to make a series of sculptures of holding symbolic items. I was considering casting the components in either pewter or impact beads! But I will expect obstacles to block my path and delay things. This past week is a testament of how I haven't had a chance to sit down and work digitally for the online shops, let alone anything else. I'm hoping there will be a lull in life real soon or else I'll have to start brushing people off. Life of an artist.
So, in the last two blogposts, I discussed the base concepts that fuel my creativity, and now we'll connect them to the contemporary. I will preface and say that I may not be consistent or very clear with my ideas because when it really comes down to it, it's the aesthetics that matter most to me. But I'll give explaining my reasoning a real try!
Concepts such as the sublime, hope and despair, and a graceful death still carry over into present day. Confronting fear and pain through art embodies a form of the Romantic sublime, one that questions our survival of the terrors of ourselves. A contemporary realm that does his is Anthropocene art. The term Anthropocene describes our time period, dating back to the moment Earth started showing significant symptoms of humanity's influence. Our lifestyle and its harmful consequences evoke creative minds to speculate potential dystopian outcomes if these problems persist. Artists who choose this topic as their focus often emphasize disastrous side effects (such as environmental pollution) and display them as shockingly beautiful things, so beautiful to the point it nurtures fear. They offer a reality check, if you will.
Post-apocalyptic settings in media often focus on the people living in the aftermath, and they usually depict them having adopted a regressed lifestyle. To me it relates to the cycle, or coil, of hope and despair. It's not necessarily a clean slate, because it can't quite exist like it had when time began. There would be people remembering what life was like before a calamity, as opposed to previous events spanning millions of years.
As a coil, things repeat, but not in the same way.
The fantastical narrative that attracts me, however, is a world withstanding some great equalizing event that make all other political affair or corporate conquest irrelevant. Everyone is in the same boat trying to survive in a familiar yet ultimately changed landscape, forced to adapt. That's what every other creature on this planet's had to do to co-exist with us, so it serves as a fruitful allegory. It's like the people who survive the event are a different kind of species from the people that existed before; more raw and simple, even though they could have existed in both times.
I dunno if any of that makes sense, since I usually refer to urban ruin more as a form of aesthetic than philosophy. The storytelling behind the scenes I delve is all up for interpretation. I get cautious talking about the people-side of things because it can sound a little political or preachy. Like, I've always had this innate opinion that the greatest threat to man is man itself and that our hubris will be our downfall. It's happening as we speak in the form of climate change. But yadda yadda, what about it? At this point it's a very common mindset, and I believe it can be quite pessimistic and selfish to think that way. We shrug off the responsibility when we chatter and say it's up to the big corporations to take action, and it may well be beyond us, but it becomes a whinging dirge that jumps from one generation to the next. Our attention span is too fleeting, and those who remain focused, or 'woke', end up consumed by their loneliness and hopelessness.
But despite the name or politics, most of the works in the Anthropocene realm that draw me lack any human subjects; the scenes are strictly describing what the world looks like in the absence of people, with only ghosts of their promise remaining. Urban ruins are my aesthetic. They exist in the wake of destruction, victim to some great, terrible, sublime event that rendered them asunder. Then there's a stillness, a peace, a spirit. When life still persists in the wake of death, oof! It's very pretty. The Japanese isle of Hashima, the documentary series After People, the far future in Cloud Atlas, the forbidden lands in Shadow of the Colossus.
I don't expect anyone to get all of that when they look at my work. I'm more interested in the spirit that exists in these landscapes. Romantic painters flocked to ruins as a subject since there was something seductive about their downfall and the memory left by their inhabitants. That really resonates with me, too. Angular bricks overtaken by flora, fauna constructing dens or nests in the nooks of broken structures, why, there is no final death there. Death occurred, and it's the end of someone or something, but not the end of all.
At this point I feel I've just word-vomited everywhere, but long story-short, I like ruins. They are sad, yes, but they heal overtime. Scars are beautiful. Contemporary media takes it up a notch and we get breathtaking visuals that drive the relationship between man and nature home.
Urban ruin. Post-mortem beauty. A beautiful death.
We are destructive as a species and we should do everything we feasibly can to reduce our mark. If not for us, then for everything else after us. Our world is in constant battery so it doesn't have time to heal, so any effort helps it catch up.
I want to see more healing.
Okay that's enough! It's about time we get to the craft and medium of things. I can't promise concepts won't slip in here or there but at least you get to SEE something right?
Until next time!