One of the topics that comes up frequently is “What is Art Good For?” I believe this is largely because people approach artists as image makers. While recreating scenes and making beautiful things may be interesting and nice to look at – what is it ultimately good for?
One of the ways I talk about art is its ability to contribute to and change thoughts and ideas. This is looking at art from the prospective of conceptual art and the way that art intersects and comments on life. I think that one of the questions an art practice should ask is, “Do you care?”
Whether you use natural materials or incorporate natural processes, once you start to intentionally connect with your environment and things that occur naturally, you begin to naturally care about what is happening in your environment. If your art practice involves people and how they interact, you organically have a heightened sense of awareness of how people *are*. If your art practice involves portraiture or working boats and you are aware that there is a dialogue between the sitter or the maker of the boat, there is a sense that you care about how they are represented.
If your art asks, “Do you care?” it ultimately leads to questions centred around environmentalism, social structures, social justice and the fullness of the human experience. Asking these questions leads to a society where artists are the ones that are at the forefront of pursuing a better life. Artists, as described by artist Tim Rollins, “are literally a diseased people. We live with a condition, a disorder that questions the existing order of things, a disease with the world that cannot be cured but only managed as best as possible.”
Question the existing order of things. Ask questions. Create. Be an artist.
I’ve been in an in between place following the TRIO Bienal in Rio and returning to Grenada to continue my practice. I will be in Grenada for an indefinite amount of time working on my next year’s project of establishing a canon of locally sourced art materials as well as teaching studio classes.
I left Rio de Janeiro a few days ago now and have had some time to decompress and wanted to catch everybody up on what happens when I go off to faraway lands in the name of art.
Rio became a possibility when this man, Alexandre Murucci who saw my work at the Grenada National Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
Murucci was curating artists for his project, Rio’s first “Trio Bienal”, an international exhibition of contemporary art around the three-dimensional in his classic scope – sculpture, installations and objects – as well as in all its expanded fields – painting, photography, drawing, video and others medias as three-dimensional research, and will occupy several museums and cultural institutions in Rio de Janeiro, from September 5th to November 26th, 2015.
While Murucci saw my Painted Portraits for Cocoa Farmers project in Venice, he was more interested in my “Sea Lungs” installation that I had exhibited as part of a Grenada Contemporary exhibit in December 2014.
During the rest of the time there were important conversations about the development of art in Grenada and future projects with other artists and curators.
The time in Rio, and during any of these trips for art help me chart my own trajectory as far as what I will be working on with my art for roughly the next year. Every interaction improves the clarity of how the international art scene works and makes it easier to prioritize the use of time over the next year.
When not engaging with other artists or talking about my work, I tried to take advantage of scouting out the city as possible location for spending a residency in the future! Brazil is a bright spot in the world for art production especially in the context of natural processes and how art reflects life.
That’s the summary of my time there! One of the takeaways as an artist is that you never know where one opportunity will lead you to, so take the opportunities that come around! Please contact me if you have any questions!
*Update: 3 and 9 are no longer available – get the one you want while it’s still here!
These works are 9″x13″ spray paint on paper. This work references the painted portraits for cocoa farmers project and the figure in the piece is Joanne who works with Belmont Estate.
The background element is the chemical make up of theobromine, one of the key elements to cocoa. I also used a gold spray paint as a way of associating value with this magical chocolate formula. Overall I want to portray the cocoa farmers as a kind of alchemist. Knowledge from oral tradition is passed down and the cocoa is grown and harvested and ultimately processed into chocolate. In this way the farmers are extracting gold (chocolate) from the soil.
These small pieces are available for sale at an affordable price in order to continue connecting people and ideas through my work and also to help fund my ongoing projects. Please contact me for details!