Last night I wrote quite a lengthy rant about a tutorial I had yesterday, and about how I feel like my work isn't taken seriously in uni because its not Abstract or Conceptual. After re-reading it this morning I've decided not to post it, I'm happy with what I've written but it does make me sound spoilt and a bit thick, so instead I'm gonna post a quote from the awesome painter Glenn Brown, it sort of sums up the rant and means I can't be sued for libel!
The following quote was Brown's response to the critical mauling his Turner Prize Nominated paintings received:
"If [my paintings] were completely abstract people would take them very seriously and consider the colour, and the tonal quality of them and what it actually meant in a very soulful way. But you put a spaceship in there and everyone goes ‘ugh, it's low, it's pathetic, it means nothing, it's childish.' And I'm thinking, ‘hang on, do these narratives not mean anything?'"
I find myself constantly been told that my paintings are "not interesting enough" and that people "will not understand them unless they know me", which is fair enough, it should however be pointed out that the majority of people saying these things, work in an abstract style.
Personally I think its not just the Realism in my work, but the subject matter and intentions that people have a problem with. My work is littered with images from Pop Culture, my childhood, films, music etc so it's really quite important that people recognize these references to understand my intention [admittedly some of my references might be a little esoteric but the overall image can surely still be appreciated and understood?] . I first latched on to this idea when I was doing my A-Level in English Lit, we read Kerouac's "On the Road", and my teacher, Mrs Moseley, pointed out that Kerouac uses symbols of Americana to draw the reader in and provide a reference point for them, for example he uses the Mississippi River as the backbone for the journey, and regularly talks of American Brands [Ford, Levi etc] and typical American foods like Apple Pie, to create a sense of familiarity for the reader. I realized that I doing something similar with my own work [Damn Kerouac stealing my ideas!] I was using images from pop culture etc to draw people into my work, and then as a reference to my intention for the work. The paintings I'm doing at the moment are no different, I'm using images and objects from my childhood, music/lyrics, and films like Poltergeist to relate back to the discovery of death and fear of it, but they are images people can universally relate to, e.g. the clown, stormy skies, 'end is nigh' signs, and even the fisherman [which a lot of people can relate back to their own childhood - to some people he reminds them of a relative, or a character off the television]. But apparently this is all very Low Brow, I should be looking more towards "Intellectual Sources" for inspiration [instead of Batman] and thinking more about the theories of art [instead of using my own experiences]. To be completely honest if I did that the work wouldn't be mine, I have to use what I feel is best and what I can relate to, I'm not gonna dress my work up and pretend its something its not. To quote Kurt Cobain: "I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not". And the same goes for my work.