But the simple fact is that I truly believe in the statement at the top of this page. My intention was not to sell my art, but to make an impression. No not just an impression but an "extraordinary impression".
When I began the planning for this show I said to myself, I can either do it half-assed or I can take it over the top. There was no middle ground. If I strove for the extraordinary then I would get it. This reflects my philosophy not just about the business of art, but art itself. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that. "Slow down and don't rush it" goes through my head often while I am creating.
We sometimes take short cuts that reflect on our art and on how we present ourselves as artists. We say to ourselves, lets get the basics done right and we forget that as artists we must present everything we do in an artistic manner even if that means going way over the top to achieve it.
But if we do just the basics then thats what we are going to get in return. I would rather have a reputation for going way over the top because in the end people will remember that. If I strive for only the basics then nothing will be remembered.
It is not enough that one piece of my art stands out. My whole relationship to the art world must stand out also and make an impression that others will not forget.
This image was snapped at the show. The taller man was my MC for the night. I chose him not just for his outgoing personality but because he truly goes over the top. His presences served to create an extraordinary impression which in turn reflected not only on him but on me and the whole event. I took the time to make sure I stood out also, wearing a purple vest with a purple died tuxedo shirt below. In fact as funny as it might sound I grew out my hair, beard and even my eyebrows for this event because the last thing I wanted was to blend into the crowd. I wanted to stand out. I wanted to make an extraordinary impression. From the comments I got back, I achieved my goal.
When I teach art interns I always take a moment to tell them that what will make their art stand out is to make it as extraordinary as possible. A painting of a tree, is just a tree. A painting of a tree with human arms instead of a limbs is extraordinary.
Much of what makes my work extraordinary is that I am a surrealist in much of what I do. Surrealism is difficult for many to grasp. They get it confused with fantasy. But fantasy is a totally different being. Many of my pieces verge towards fantasy, but not all. I want to lead the viewer on a story that takes them out of the bounds of their own world, but not so far that they become lost in another place. I still want to retain some elements of reality also. Here are the basic rules of surrealism that I use:
- You must introduce an equal measure of reality to illusion or else it becomes fantasy
- Surrealism is subtle. It is meant to transport you one step out of your own reality not one hundred steps
- Color is the gas that fuels the illusion. A color change shifting away from reality changes the world
- Unique doesn't equal over the top. A unique piece of surreal art is one that explores subtlety
- The line between surrealism and fantasy is thin
- Tell a story that the viewer interprets
- Surrealism should vaguely disturb the viewer but not necessarily frighten
- It must be plausible even if it stretches reality to the breaking point. Impossibility is fantasy not surrealism
- Surrealism plays to the viewers emotions. If there is no emotion in the piece then there is no depth
- If the dog is brown, its realism. If the dog is blue its fantasy. If the dog has four brown paws and one blue paw its surrealism
- Distort, don't destroy
The end result if done well is extraordinary and leaves a lasting impression on the viewer and the future owner of the work.
In the end, don't ever let anyone tell you that your going overboard or over top in what you do. Trust your intuition and never hesitate to go to extraordinary lengths to make the impression needed to be remembered.