By John Jude Palencar
For the sake of this post, I’m referring to two dimensional work. How many times without seeing their work have you heard an artist explain their art in an evasive pretentious manner? In some cases the artist will respond with.... ”it’s hard to explain my approach”. What they really mean is... “I’m just so unique that no one understands my genius”. In reality, when finally viewing their work it simply turns out to be low quality crap, borrows heavy from one school of painting or a combination of approaches. This attitude is adopted by both abstract and realist painters. Rather than attributing any influence, their ego prevents them from giving credit to other artists or schools of thought. Remember ... ”it’s all about me and I’m special! This narcissistic arrogance is often accompanied by long winded statements to support otherwise low quality work. Maybe it’s insecurity more often it usually is ego. Some artists feel if they talk up their art it will give the viewer, gallery or potential collector a special window into their creative souls. This is not to say that being a good verbal communicator is not beneficial, rather that “art speak” can be overly used as a crutch to bolster, or uplift bad art. In their inflated minds they are flawless and deserve the admiration of others for their self proclaimed, unique artistic efforts.
What really matters is quality. Quality in concept, execution, and presentation. Words are just words and in most cases will have no bearing on how someone will ultimately react to your art. These “art speak” posers often fail and will be flipping burgers or waiting tables in some dingy restaurant in a few years . Or... they will go into teaching to perpetuate the life cycle of “art speak” practitioners. Their frustration is sometimes palpable... so stay away from them... very far away.
Originality is a very rare thing. Today’s artists are working in dialects instead of inventing completely new visual languages. These hybrid styles (dialects) will become the next generation of art for our time. Your art for the most part should speak for itself and at least affect the viewer in an intimate memorable fashion. The viewer may not get what your striving for but they should respond on a qualitative personal level.
The vid below is a piece of Performance Art. The performance is making fun of itself. The subtitles are priceless. I’ve personally heard this ”art speak” from low quality artists for years. I hesitate calling this vid performance art... it’s more like a comedy bit, but oh so true.