A very popular conception of art these days is one of ‘cultural significance’. Art is held up on a pedestal as something only certain ‘artists’ or ‘creatives’ with innate talent can do well. A lot of people don’t bother with art, leaving it to the supposed artists. The truth is, anyone can be an artist. As I’ve repeatedly argued in my previous articles for this fine section, art does not have to be good to be art. Any creative expression with aesthetic importance is art, and because beauty is entirely in the eye of the beholder, all creative expression can essentially be argued as having artistic value.
The point is, anyone can, and should be creating art. It’s like the fat chef guy from Ratatouille said, “anyone can cook!”. He had it all figured out. Always respected him. All it takes is a canvas, an instrument and inspiration. The first two you can buy at the hardware store, but I’m not too sure about the third one. Everyone has their own relationship with ‘creativity’ and ‘imagination’ as tools, and while some find it easy to form clear mental images and create, this can be hard for some. I find however, that still life sketching is a great way of drawing that requires little imagination, and builds skill.
I used to be quite artistic as a child, but years of rigorous prep-schooling rubbed it out of me. Since coming to university and re-broadening my artistic horizons, I’ve essentially had to create visual art in the form of article graphics for Courier articles I edit. (shoutout Comment section) Making them made me relearn my love for visual art, and during lockdown, I decided to further dip my toes back into art and purchased just a little sketchbook. I began taking it with me on walks and sketching things I saw. I I quickly realized I barely had the ability to concentrate enough to actually sketch, (at least not with significant effort) and that I could do little more well than make angry, straight, black lines.
Soon enough, however, I saw a few blocky buildings and realized I could essentially draw them with just straight lines. So I did. As I worked on the sketch, my ability to concentrate slowly improved, and eventually I got a full product. It doesn’t exactly look “good” in the traditional sense, but there is something to it! Everyone has an appreciable way of drawing, and while it may change and ‘improve’ with, it isn’t invaluable! Just the fact that I was able to take out a few minutes of my day, and make something concrete on paper that is interesting to look at gave me a sense of accomplishment, and as I drew more, I started to consider myself an ‘artist’, which felt great.
The Letterist International, an alliance of avant-garde artists that were inspired by Guy Debord’s ‘Society of the Spectacle’ wanted to break down the distinction between artist and consumer, a distinction imposed on society by capitalism, which seeks to commodify art. This distinction removes the reigns of cultural development away from the people and shifts it to a few artists, lucky enough to be famous. The situationists sought to remove this disconnect through the first-hand fulfilment of authentic desires. Drawing and making art is one such authentic desire. Ideally, everyone would be creating art, unalienating people from art.
Right before starting work on this article, I did another sketch. I sketched my desk and the bay window behind it, as I saw it. I have to say, for a guy who a month ago would be hard-pressed to do more than a few doodles, it came out pretty well!
Last modified: 24th November 2020