Recently I’ve been watching a lot of a youtube channel called “The Art Assignment”. It’s, unsurprisingly, about art education and critically approaching art especially the kinds of art that are traditionally challenging to appreciate.
I have not always had the best relationship with modern art. For the longest time, I sneered at it because it was cool to dislike it. And when art challenges the viewer it’s easy to turn away from it. It did not help that I had immersed myself in communities that prioritised easily digitisable art and digital art above that.
I’d like to say that I’m wiser than I was 14 years ago, but I’m more just less of a contrarian arsehole. Maybe these are the same thing.
Related to this, this year I set out to rekindle aspects of my personal artistic practice. This mostly meant doing more painting and I’d set myself a goal of doing at least 12 paintings this year as well as learning how to paint in oils. Whilst part of this urge was to recapture something I felt like I’d lost over the years, it was more to do with my desire to create “Real Art”.
For the last six plus years, I’ve been doing various amounts of scale modelling including but not limited to people, animals, vehicles, buildings, ships, aircraft and giant robots. Over the last few years I’ve increasingly been scratch building and designing my own models and even sold many of them.
For example, just this month I completed a new game board four feet square where everything on it was made by myself. As I put the finishing touches on the coastline of the board, the thought crossed my mind: why is the acrylic painting of a landscape I did at the beginning of the month at, but this mixed media landscape nor art? The only reason I could think of was “because I said it isn’t”. And to continue the train of thought, are the various scale models I work on art? Maybe. In fact the thing that got me back into scale modelling was an exhibition of painted scale models of the Cutty Sark in the Cutty Sark museum, that inspired me to buy and paint a smaller one than ultimately lead to me rekindling my love of miniatures painting.
This isn’t to denigrate my newfound canvas painting habit or my long term love of watercolours but to try and recognise that I never really stopped doing art. Art comes in all shapes and sizes and the more I embrace this the better an artist I can become.
I am slightly tempted to do a series of landscapes though as mixed media sculptures. Actual wargames terrain as art.