Art and Politics

Brett Wilson asked a while ago if conscience should go into toy photography. I think it should, and it should also go into art (and obviously into toy photography that aspires to be art).

Why don’t I like political art?

However, there is one kind of art that usually does not do the job for me. It’s what they call political art. Most political art is very efficient in getting its message across. A Parthenon made of forbidden books: Once you know all these books were sometimes forbidden somewhere, it seems to be hard to misunderstand this work. The artist may mean well, but I am not satisfied.

I do not care for the good intentions of the artist. I care for the kind of art that stays with you because you can never really figure it out although you would really like to. Continue reading Art and Politics

Small Surrealism

“A photograph passes for incontrovertible proof that a given thing happened. The picture may distort; but there is always a presumption that something exists, or did exist, which is like what’s in the picture.”

– On Photography by Susan Sontag

Toy Photography Movement

When photography first came about it was a way to further describe an actual thing. It was meant to be truthful. Overtime of course, photography evolved in many ways, even becoming its own art form as creators found ways to lie through the camera lens.

Toy photography as a part of that movement, is and was a groundbreaking departure from the truth. While we may not be photographing the already existent world around us, we’re storytellers finding our own truths within the posed photograph. And I argue that sometimes we can delve deeper into a truthful topic by creating a whole new world that reflects our thoughts. Continue reading Small Surrealism

Ai Weiwei and Lego

As you all know I love my documentaries and especially ones about artists. Last week I watched a documentary called Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and of course it left an impression. If you are not familiar with Ai, he designed Beijing’s National Stadium which is often referred to as the Birds Nest. After his arrest in 2011 his travel has been severely curtailed and he has not been allowed to leave Beijing. This documentary tells the story of Ai’s activism through art which ultimatly led to his virtual imprisonment.

Ai is very active on social media and I soon found myself following him on Twitter and Instagram which then led me to his show in the famous United States prison, Alcatraz. By now you are asking yourself what does this have to do with Lego?  Well, it seems Ai created six large carpets out of 1.2 million LEGO bricks to depict 176 political prisoners. (More information on the Alcatraz show can be found here and here. )

Trace, the show’s most ambitious work, consists of six large carpets of Lego blocks that depict more than 175 prisoners of conscience, past and present Photograph: Mae Ryan
Trace, the show’s most ambitious work, consists of six large carpets of Lego blocks that depict more than 175 prisoners of conscience, past and present Photograph: Mae Ryan

It seems that our beloved LEGO brick is continuing to evolve from a children’s toy to a medium that in the right hands, protests a few of the many injustices of the world. Maybe this children’s toy is growing up?

As I continue to grapple with my own art, I am inspired by a man on the other side of this planet who uses his art to change the world. I follow him on Twitter and Instagram as a reminder that everything is not awesome.

~ xxsjc

Have you seen this show? Would you be interested in seeing this installation?

Do you think LEGO bricks are an appropriate medium for a political statement?

 

It’s Not Art You Are Buying, It’s Time

Sisyphean Task

When buying from an artist/maker, you’re buying more than just an object/painting; you are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation. You are buying days, weeks & months of pure joy. You aren’t just buying a thing, you’re buying a piece of heart, part of a soul, a moment of someone’s life. Most importantly, you’re buying the artist more time to do something they are passionate about.

I found this quote floating around the internet as an unattributed meme and found it to be very accurate. It doesn’t matter if you are buying the creative output of a photographer, a musician, a fine artist or your local craftsman…the effect is the same. By purchasing someone’s creative output you will be telling them that what they do has value and that you want them to continue. You are buying them more time to create and delve deeper and farther into their craft.

I know I have talked about the importance of supporting artists before with my post on So You Want to be an Artist, but I think it is well worth our time to revisit important topics. Yesterday’s post by Avanaut on Michael Paul Smith brought this line of thought back with a vengeance. Before I had even finished reading the post I had already purchased Mr Smith’s upcoming book. (Of course the fact that it would be signed by the artist was an extra added incentive.)

So I urge you, if you see someone creating something that effects you in some way, buy it. It does matter if it is a song,  a book, a painting or even a photograph, by purchasing what you love you are sending a very clear message to the creator: this is valued. This goes double for all those beginning photographers out their starting on their own professional journeys.  Ask yourself,  what have I bought from an artist lately? How do I support the arts? If I want people to support my work, how can I support their work?

It may seem like a little thing, but trust me, buy from an artist and you will give them the gift of time. It is a gift beyond compare.

~ xxsjc

If you enjoyed the movie about Michael Paul Smith and learning what drives him, you should definitely check out Marwencol. It is about a toy photographer who creates amazing photographs with an equally dark back story as Mr Smith. 

Care to share the last thing you bought from an artist?  My husband and I traded for an 82″ High Wheel Hare. Can you top that?