Friday, June 3, 2011

Bad Art Night-Some thoughts

Greetings everyone,

Since I'm going to have a little extra time this summer-I will not be traveling to teach.  I thought that I would share a few thoughts about Art and other sundries from time to time.  Some of what I am going to say will most likely not win me friends.  Many will not really read what I have to say they will just "assume". I most likely will get the title of negative, snob or uptight.  My opinions might even lose me some students.  So be it. It is time for me to speak up about some things I see and a few thoughts I have.
This is my blog and these are my opinions only.  You of course are entitled to you own.

Last year I joined a local group of artists. This is a wonderful group of people, friendly and very talented.  Several of the members have gone to the latest Art fad "Bad Art Night".  I have heard about this before from other friends and students of mine that have participated.  When I first heard the name "Bad Art Night" it has truly bothered me-but I couldn't put a finger on why. Yesterday the reasons finally dawned on me.

Yes I have to admit that it bothers me that people are going to someones house to create bad art instead of supporting my small studio to create good art.  That is rather a depressing idea.  And my small studio cannot compete in terms of space or money.  So I must let this disappointment go.  When I push past my petty hurts and see through to what really bothers me it's the concept of BAD ART.

When did deliberately trying to create something bad become a good thing?  Don't we already experience enough bad things in life? Bad politics, bad economy, bad education, services completed poorly, bad products and bad people that want to harm you and on, and on and on.  Deliberately creating bad art does not "free" you-it locks you into the idea of creating something that you and everyone around you considers substandard.  It locks you into all the negative connotations that are associated with the word "BAD". Its a cheapening of your art and Art in general. You say Bad is just a word and what we are really trying to do is play with new ideas and new techniques.  Yes Bad is just a word but words matter. Would you let your children do bad work in school?  Would you want a roofer to give you a bad roof? Is it ok for your vital computer services to be bad
Yes you should play in your art.  Experiment with new concepts, new techniques, new forms of art.  As we all know this is not easy.  But the ability and permission to play comes from within. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes confidence. You cannot become self confident by creating something you consider bad or substandard. One of the things we consistently do in my studio and classes is to work on giving ourselves permission to play.  I take pride in the fact that I have many students that I have helped to find the "play" within.  I take pride in the fact that I can now sometimes find the play within myself. 
The concept of Bad Art is very subjective.  Just because you are experimenting with something new it doesn't mean that the result is Bad.  Mistakes usually end up being very good art because you've finally gotten out of your own way and  let a tiny piece of your heart and soul show to the world.
Guys-Art is not mainstream. By allowing yourself to create "Bad" art you are cheapening your talent, bringing it down to an everyday level. There will always be people in the world that consider Art unimportant.  It is the artists job to educate these people. To make them see and understand your art.  How can you do this if you are creating art you do not think of as good?   You've been given the gift of art.  Revel in it!  Art is love, hate, joy.  Be joyful and create your good art.
One last point: Bad Art night is not Art,  its a social gathering.  What's wrong with a social gathering?  Nothing.  But why not gather in the name of good art or Heart and Soul night or something with positive overtones?

There is one thing that I can assure you of.  At my studio and classes we will never ever strive to create bad art. We will always strive to create good art through shared ideas, friendship, fun, laughter, chocolate, new techniques, play, self awareness, and sometimes a little wine.

 And that's my opinion- for what its worth.


Laura McHugh said...

There's a lot of liberation when you allow yourself to not create perfect art. "Bad Art" is just a terminology to embrace that feeling of liberation. It seems to be working for the 10-15 people who come to Bad Art Night on a regular basis. New art ideas are being born every week.

I respectfully will disagree with you that the word "bad" is bad when it comes to art. All art is good art, even when it starts as bad art.

Chris Flynn said...

On the other hand.... I happen to agree with you. It has such a negative connotation. It does relate somewhat to the "crappy first draft" of creative writing. In that case, you have permission to not let your perfectionist self slow you down from writing... thus creating a "crappy" first draft. It's almost like creating a foundation, or underpainting.

But, again, I do agree with you that the word "bad" is just not a cloud I would want to work under.

Keep up your great work!
Sweet Blessin, Chris

Michele said...

perhaps the phrase "bad art" is meant to be liberating. nevertheless i am with you. i prefer positive empowering words. i say let us be free to make art and love what we do as it is and love ourselves as we are. and especially let us support working artists. wish i weren't so far away and could come to one of your luminous classes! xo