The Art of Living

For the next few weeks I’m going to be ruminating about art – more specifically contemporary art, made by artists who are still alive and chasing after the zeitgeist or just glancing sideways at life.

This will not be a torrent of art history, theory, jargon or mumbo jumbo, just a look at how artists work and what they do, and why they should keep on doing it.

As a preface to this I’m going to get the buttock elephant out of the cyber room right now: Yes, I was part of a panel that awarded £20,000 to artist Sue Williams under the Arts Council of Wales Creative Wales Awards scheme and, yes, she was proposing to use some of that money to cast buttocks as part of an exploration into sex, gender, identity and racial attitudes to body parts. And yes, yes, yes, I spoke to a Sunday Times journalist and you can Google the rest.

As an aside, if you want to know what the nasty end of the blogosphere looks like, see what the Americans had to say about me.

So why do certain elements in the media hate contemporary art and artists? And why, in the face of such hatred, do artists carry on? Aside from the highly visible money makers, such as Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, most artists do not earn enough from their artistic practice to make a living.

I have been lucky enough to be at the starting point of hundreds of creative projects; to hear the synapses in the artist’s brain fizz and crackle and to watch as an idea turns into something concrete, tangible and often (although not always) wonderful. If you think that contemporary art is unfathomable or just some bloke covered in his own body fluids, stick with me over the next few weeks and I’ll try and change your mind.


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