DOWNSIZED Art Show: “Create until you Die”

I have been selected as a participating artist in the DOWNSIZED (Craftivism) Art Show.  Many of the art pieces utilize found materials and recycling due to the theme of sustainable community centered around ideas of subversive structures and networks, which engage various social issues about communities-of-care and intimacy versus immediate publicity: including anti-consumerism, slow time, geo-social networking, environmentalism and sustainability.

Artist Statement: Create until you die

Is a response to the ‘Downsized’ Craftivism art show. I explored the theme of how the arts cuts affect me as an artist, I see the impact through two elements that are of importance to me.  As an arts based advocate for mental health I am seeing first hand how these devastating cuts are affecting me, but as well as the community around me that depends on the arts as a means of economic independence and survival.

In my work, the healing power and emotion within nature is something that I try to evoke.  Here, the depiction of the upside down tree emits a feeling of distress and also reflects the human impact on the environment. Our society still seems to value a fallen tree more than a living one.

Art is a critical method for dialogue, particularly when it comes to social or environmental issues that most people are afraid to tackle. Dialogue has the ability to create movements, movements can create change, change is what a strong society needs for sustenance.

The noose depicts the lack of foresight by our leaders through failing to maintain its investment in the arts. These cuts are not only a weak economic decision, but more importantly, it can stifle discussion within a community and the healthy progression of a society.  It also reflects the emotions we feel as working artists from these devastating cuts; we have no other place to go, no back-up career, we do not have the choice or know how to quit.

Our existence is only as artists, we create to live, we create to survive… we create until we die!

The Creative Process

My intention was to symbolize the arts cuts through the metaphor of a tree; hence the the quad-tych with a missing quadrant.  With the provincial government investing into the arts leading up to the Olympics, why would it choose to then significantly cut its investment to the tune of 40%.  They have essentially eliminated any potential of growth and throw away any momentum gained through the exposure.

By having only a small piece of canvas to work with, the usual impact of size is no longer available, so I need to create boldness in other ways.  I have not ever painted on canvas this small, its somewhat frustrating to say what I want, considering my natural evolution now is to do bigger pieces.

As an artist, if our creativity is arbitrarily limited then sometimes there is the feeling that there is no reason to create the art in the first place.  However, herein lies the dilemma about a working artist, who needs to create for sustenance.  He or she has no other choice but to create in this paradigm, it reeks of authoritarianism in that you can only create based on someone else’s definition about what the art is about and what it needs to fully create impact.

Thus, the creative work intended can become less about the original inspiration and more about the anger towards the medium and its inappropriateness for the message.  Its an emotion that was never intended for the original, however it is now crept into the work and as artists we are powerless to stop it and feel we have a creative obligation to include it.

However, my way to resolve the emotion of anger is through irony and comedy. It really allows for that endorphin rush to keep me going.

At the closing Gala of the 2009 Vancouver Interntational Film Festival, Kevin Krueger the Minster of Culture, Arts and Tourism was quoted as saying “The Arts give people Sparkle”.  He was ridiculed by the Arts community for his seemlingly fuddy duddy praise for the arts.  However, it also represents his lack of literary imagination and understanding of the dialogue the arts can do for a community.  So, in the spirit of Mr. Kruegers comments I have decided to add a generous dose of ‘Sparkle and Glitter’ to my piece.  Glitter is a material I use in body art and representative of the spotlight that the Arts Community was heralded for during the Olympics.

In addition, in the spirit of using re-claimed materials for my work I was able to reclaim some aluminum foil out of the garbage.  You can take the reference to trash wherever your creative mind takes you.

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