The Critical Mass
Artists often work on the periphery of society, rearranging or dismantling border controls and crossings, shifting boundaries and boulders and generally being a bit discontent with the current situation. Somehow the word “content” and the word “artist” don’t really go together. This discontentment and unease could be one of the reasons that the general public who are not in this creative battle find much contemporary art to be not what they are looking for. This “not what is being looked for” is a problem for artists; as in, people coming to view art with a preconceived idea and the art has to fit into their idea of what art should be, for them. If art is to conform to the wants of the masses, how is art to grow? This discontentment and unease is a catalyst for growth in art, like an athlete, an artist will push beyond the comfort zone, questioning and creating and developing, as if they were muscles being pushed to their limits.
We have “The Funny Little Gallery” on the road towards The Cliffs of Moher, you can imagine the traffic! yet the only people who call in are artists or have a artist in their family and/or have a big appreciation of art. This is a tiny percentage of the people who pass by every day. The masses drive to the Cliffs and do the Aran Islands. The majority of people feel alienated from art, unless it is something that they can relate to, such as a scene of a landscape that they like or something nostalgic or sentimental. This gap between the people who appreciate art and the people who don’t is gapping. There should not be such a gap, there is something wrong; as everyone is creative. I feel things are changing now, but in the past there was nothing taught in school since about The Impressionists. That’s about where the appreciation of art stopped, in certain places.
It is part of the job of the artist to take the audience into consideration, but not to be stifled by the audience. It is a two way thing; artists need to take a step towards the public and the public needs to take a step towards the artist. Many artists and collaborating groups are doing this and have been doing this for many years. My own step is opening up our house to the public and welcoming anyone who wishes to come inside into an informal setting, also by talking about my work to the people who visit in a way that you don’t need an art education to understand. My mission is to start filling the gapping void between the art world and the rest of the world, even in a tiny way. When the critical mass reaches a certain number or ratio then the general public will love art too!