The Artists Job
What is the job of an artist? Is it just to throw paint on a canvas and watch the world interpret it? Is it to roam around the world and contemplate life 90% of the time and paint 10% of the time?
The artists job is to present his view of the world through the canvases he creates.
I have recently been challenged by the notion that my job as an artist is to paint beautiful pictures that bring colour and imagination into peoples homes and offices. It came to me through a conviction I have felt for years, to paint scenes that were terrible, provocative and disturbing. It's not my job as an artist to shock the viewer, but if I see a situation that evokes a feeling of injustice within me then I am going to feel that when I think of painting.
I am a citizen of the world like any other and I see the news, hear the reports, get bombaster by the deluge of pain and suffering around the world. What can I do about it? So I should just remain in my little nest and just worry about my own little world?
I think not.
My recent series of paintings on the conditions and experiences of the Aboriginal Residential School children in Canada is an example of how my soul became stirred and so much so until my brush had to speak. I battled with my conviction to paint scenes that point directly at the "monsters" who ran the schools and have gotten away with murder and rape and abuse in the highest order.
In my paintings there is no abuse being shown but if you look long enough you can see where the painting is pointing. The monsters lurk around every corner of the scenes. Now I feel as though for these scenarios I have done what I am charged with doing and I have delivered the message clearly. Now I can get on with painting beautiful scenes. Until my inner conscience pulls me in another direction, one where innocence needs a voice.
There lies the job of an artist. To direct the viewer to see things they do not see every day. To understand something they have never considered before.
To polarize their view so that contrasts are made clear for all to see.
I suppose I could go through my entire life painting beautiful sunsets and niceties. I couldn't live like that. when I see the long lines of parents and children at the local food bank I just have to tell that story. Like the one at the Simcoe Hall Settlement House in Oshawa. The other day I went through the drive through of the adjacent coffee shop that rhymes with Jim Bortons, how shocked I was to see that the coffee establishment has hung a tarp over the fence along side the drive through window, it seems to me to block the patrons view of the food bank lines on the other side of the railway tracks. THAT eats at me. I feel a painting coming on in that scene.
I feel, in a way, I am just doing my job.
The Artists Journey
This is my blog page and it is where I get to be the opinionated man that I really am. The views are my own.
I invite your replies and comments, on my virtual welcome mat.
This sketch above became this finished painting below
The Pine Tree Painter.
How did I become known as the Pine Tree Painter? You could say I paint a lot of Pine Trees, that would be true. I paint a lot of other things too, but Pine Trees, Spruce Trees, Birch and others seem to be a continuous string in what i do. I just like the way they stand there like a custodian of the land. or a greeter to nature. So, I continue down the path with the Pine Tree Painter name on my head, It's ok.