"I could do that"

(Image: “The Company Secretary”, Lindsay Hunt)

So, yet again, a new year is upon us!

As I recover from the “Christ Mass”/ Hanukkah / Sun God period of excessive excess and self-congratulation, my alcohol addled mind wanders to things of greater import.

Just the other day, a certain person of indeterminate gender and age, sashayed in with an attitude that betrayed their mindset and indignantly announced that: “I could paint that”, quickly followed by the confident assertion that “It’s not worth XXX dollars”, as he/she swiftly and dismissively turned to walk away rather resplendent in their confident assertion.

It was something that I had witnessed many times, over many years, in many galleries.

It is that poignant yet depressing moment where folk who simply do not understand art and indeed artists - who are happy to reveal their ignorance and indeed, arrogance. In equal measure, if I am permitted to say.

Please compare and contrast the dizzying elation of the knowing person entering the gallery recently who with both confidence and conviction walked into the space and within short measure, confidently selected seven pieces that were to be dispatched to their overseas premises. Or indeed, the lovely fellow who wandered in after perusing our website, spent 90 minutes agonising over the two pieces, (from a selection of four), and confidently walked away with two! (That which will invariably enrich his life for years to come … see my previous posts ...).

Tonight, a dear friend of mine Facetimed me (look it up – Google is your friend!), and relayed his exploits in Paris and its multitude of galleries and museums. I somehow doubt that most Europeans would have the temerity and breathtaking ignorance to proclaim that both:

“I could do that” and even the more disrespectful, “ It’s not worth X dollars”.

The fundamental issue is this...

Art, its progenitors and practitioners are to be accorded the respect and understanding that any specialist should receive.

How would one approach the empty canvas or page; the blob of clay; the pieces of glass; the glob of molten-something to produce an original outcome ... something with meaning ... a sub-text ... a visual gag ... a visual angst ... a visual beauty? How?

I cannot believe that the same folk would dare to assert that they could practice law / architecture / dance (insert discipline of your choice) with the same dismissive regard that they happily and flippantly disregard Artists. Art is something that is rare, precious, and transformative.

We may be wage slaves in jobs we despise, yet endure because we have to. We may be executives with position and power with a financial recompense to make most of us blush. We may be unemployed, on the boundaries of society ... but we all take succour, hope and inspiration from those who articulate the beauty and desperation that we may not be able to articulate.

These are the Artists who we admire ... and simply cannot be.

I raise my glass to them.

We raise our glasses to them!

To the detractors; the imitators and the disingenuous, we do wish them well - but we also wish them knowledge, insight, expression and dexterity to produce their own art - something to be proud of and something to share with others.

That would be a wondrous and beautiful thing.

Live long and prosper …