Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Each One Is Identically Different
I make things. I inhabit the shadow world between art and utility.
I've always been there. Architecture is my kinda sorta background, and it's neither fish nor fowl in the same way. I drifted away from formal architectural education because they aren't the slightest bit interested in the inhabitants of their buildings anymore. They are indulging their own cranky ideas, and treat the people that use, see, and pay for their misanthropic creations in the same way street urchins pull the wings off of bugs for their own amusement. They massage their egos with your submission to their sticks-and-bricks hairshirt misery and disorienting visual style. Bye bye Vitruvius, hello Doctor Caligari.
According to Oscar Wilde, no real artist pays any attention to what other people want. I don't think he knew what he was talking about. Or more precisely, I think he knew exactly what he was talking about, but was playing hide-the-truth with that observation. We always fall for that one. It's the reason everyone thinks if they simply act dissipated, they're an artist of some sort.
Like all successful artists cum celebrities, Wilde was shrewd above all things. They minutely gauge the zeitgeist for possibilities, and push a little at the edges. He's fooling when he says he doesn't care what others think. If he didn't care what you thought, he'd have no idea how to shock you, and get all famous doing it. The fellow on the subway that reeks of urine and the dumpster, mumbling to himself? That guy really doesn't care what you think. There's no money or fame in that.
There are many ways to shock. Some are plebeian, and dashed difficult to pull off, so they are rarely attempted by those who know they can go the easy route and simply make things weird and ugly to annoy the masses and cash checks from the glitterati.
People often give me parameters to work within, but they don't bother me, as I've never really made anything for other people, even though I've spent my life making things for other people. I make it for me, and then give it away - for money sometimes.