The more that I look at different kinds of art, the more I realise that I actually know virtually NOTHING about it. There are literally like…a million things that I don’t know about art. I got thinking about this the other day, and like most things I get to thinking about, once I started I couldn't stop.
What makes art art? Is it the actual physical nature of the work in front of you, or is it more about the thought process and emotional journey that went into the artists interpretation?
And just as importantly - What makes good art good. I’m not gonna lie, I have gazed on the artwork of many a prestigious artist and found my conscious mind dominated by thoughts of baked beans on toast when I am clearly supposed to be pondering the relationship between physical growth and metaphorical transformation in multi-textile artistic expression (don’t know what that means? Me neither. Thats how deep it is)
All jokes aside. I take the micky because I don’t understand, which leaves me feeling a little intimidated by the art world. Some work speaks to me without me understanding why, and I enjoy that inexplicable connection to both a piece and to the person who made it. Some work I glance at and feel a magnetic attraction to the emotion portrayed. I like emotional art more than intellectual art. I don’t want to feel like an idiot if I don’t pick up on the super subtle nuances suggested. I want to look up (or down) at something and just feel. Feel joy, feel sadness, feel irrelevant or small, feel embraced or isolated, feel fury, feel love. I like that. I’ll wrap myself up in those feelings and be forever drawn to that piece. Thats what makes me remember art. This is just the first time I have ever tried to put it into words.
Next Thursday night I am going to attend Art Ache, an evening held at Golden Dawn in Ponsonby which showcases the works of 5 different artists in a way that is as non-threatening and accessible to amateurs such as myself as it could possibly be. I may even buy something (depending on my stock levels of baked beans at home). I need this middle ground. I need a way to slowly familiarise myself with art, artists, and the whole art scene…without feeling like I have to sell my car to get involved. Art Ache attracts a sincere mix of both established art collectors, and those who are longing to begin a foray into the scene but have no idea where to start, save for printing off someone else's photos of art and sticking them in picture frames (I’ve ‘heard’ that happens anyway).
Basically, there will be things there that you can afford. I know that, because there will be things there that I can afford. If you are more sophisticated in your appreciation, there will be works that appeal to you too. And hopefully, after the evening spent together admiring the art and artists involved, you and I will then be able to engage in some witty same-level repertoire about the way a simple painting of a broken coconut can speak volumes about the harsh realities of climate change in the world today.
(*disclaimer - If there exists somewhere out there a painting of a broken coconut that is a comment on climate change…all similarities are merely coincidence)
See you there.
- Casey McLellan is the Community Coordinator at GridAKL, a tech co-working space in Wynyard Quarter operated by Bizdojo.