This the image I’ve been trying to paint today… tried and failed so far. I’m trying to address why I’m failing? Yes I know its a departure from the style I’m used to doing but the reason I’m failing is not because of the colours, I haven’t even got to the colours yet…
it’s not because of the subject matter, I have painted trees before quite successfully… It’s more that I don’t have the language to create a poetry between the subject as an image and as a emotional response.
This I equate to synesthesia :
Synesthesia is a condition in which one sense (for example, hearing) is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses such as sight. Another form ofsynesthesia joins objects such as letters, shapes, numbers or people’s names with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor.
I was trying to explain this artistic synesthesia to an artist friend of mine…
I was explaining how I like the book of someone like Basquiat, He is iconic to me not because of his paintings, I find them difficult because the cultural references are foreign to me, being English and not American, so I simply do not have the cultural linguistics to fully understand them… But as an Icon he represents something thrilling to me, the fact that he was probably the first person of colour to be accepted by the art establishment… The fact that he overcame all the restrictive boundaries thrown up to simply deny people of his ethnicity and class a place in the gallery. I love him as a totem… the same way I love Maya Angelou, or even Andy Warhol… I like what they represent, not necessarily what they write or paint.
I love David Hockney. I don’t aesthetically like all his paintings, but I like the way he approaches art…
I like the book of these people, I like the verfremdung (making the familiar strange) their art represents, in effect, I believe that these processes have to be gone through to make ART… all Art. Painting, Sculpture, Writing Literature, Poetry or plays, Acting or making Music… All of these benefit from each other, bleed ideas one to another, so that there is a cross over in languages, a synesthesia of sorts, for without that, creating new art of any sorts would be worthless. Why paint when you are not Picasso, or Vermeer, or even Rapheal…? Why write when you are not Shakespeare or Lorca? why make music if you are not Mahler or Lennon? and so on. You continue to create art because whilst you may not have their abilities, you do still have a valid point of view… Your experience and emotional response is as valid as any of these above.
So I failed at the first attempt at this image. So what? The canvas cost me a buck and the time is free… I tried but couldnt find the language for this image. I will go back to it and try to unpack what it says to me some more, see where I have failed to translate the image into the abstracts of colour and form.
And If I Fail? I’ll throw it on the fire.