Thursday, August 12, 2010
What does an artist do?
The judges at a recent art competition I entered did not award a prize in one section. The main judge's explanation was rather high-brow and long-winded . One of the audience (not me) walked out loudly cursing and swearing. What the judge basically said was that no one had gone creatively out of the square.
I think I understood their attitude a bit better when I read and laughed at this except from "Lanark" by Alasdair Gray:
“What work could I do?”
“Have you visited Galloway’s Tearoom?”
“Did you speak to anyone there?”
“Then you can’t be a businessman. I’m afraid you will have to take up art. Art is the only work open to people who can’t get along with people and still want to be special.”
“I could never be an artist. I have nothing to tell people.”
Sludden started laughing. “You haven’t understood a word I’ve spoken.”
Lanark had an inner restraint which stopped him displaying much resentment or anger. He pressed his lips together and frowned at the coffee cup.
Sludden said, “An artist doesn’t tell people things. He expresses himself. If the self is unusual his work shocks or excites people. Anyway, it forces his personality on them. Here comes Gay at last. Would you mind making room for her?”
Alasdair Gray is an artist as well as an author and does the illustrations for his own books . See above.