While that may seem like total creative license, there is a Book of Iron-clad Requirements, built over centuries, looming over every sculptor. Just look at any art museum (from a social distance, mind you, they’re all online for tours these days--try it yourself). As you look, ask:
Were rich old men in waistcoats really that interesting to artists?
Where did the school of socialist realism find all those happy workers? Why are children always depicted with only their mothers or alone. What were the fathers doing?
In my virtual visits to the worlds' art galleries I have discovered happy news! Time ripped entire chapters from the BIR.
Think about this:
No longer requirements (now, at least)
- Must please royalty
- Must please oligarchs
- Must make propaganda
- Must be academically accepted
- Must cloak whatever you make in religious or moralist legend (were biblical characters really mostly naked?)
These requirements, I feel, went away when we lost our respect for institutions, respect which was lost when we were betrayed by their outrageous crimes and corruption. (Just a fact, no time for outrage. See Twitter or Facebook for that.)
So where does that leave me. I no longer need to please people I do not care for. But there are still whole BIR chapters which still apply.
I promise to concentrate on pleasing YOU. To this end, I will follow what remains of the BIR.
I will do art, not technique. Art education seems to teach how, and only rarely, why. Art is in the why. The questions count.
I will be “of my time.” Tougher than it looks. Ask, “What is MY time?” Hint: Don’t look back.
I will ask sculptural questions about engaging, important things. While Art is in the questions. The answers are in you.
I will be unique. No derivative sculpture. If somebody, anywhere, did it, it’s been done. I will do the totally new or pack it in.
Perhaps this is a bigger load for me than before. I can no longer seek the hint of a smile from My Master as a signal to affix my signature and quit. There is no longer a filter between me and transcendence. If I fail, there is no Great Influencer to bail me out.
Trust me, this load is plenty, and I am daunted, but YOU TOO have a new freedom and a new load.
The BIR’s gone. Nobody sets rules for you to like, or not like, particular sculpture anymore.
You are free to love or not love, understand or walk away, be inspired or disgusted, all with no ghosts on your shoulder to point at what you must like or reject.
You stand free to find your heart, and to step ahead of yourself in the soft hands of beauty. And that is what it feels like. You step ahead of yourself. It sounds corny, but I see this miracle all the time. I’ve been you, standing speechless before an unexplainable message.
In the song “Rainbow Connection,” Kermit the Frog said it best, “It’s something that I’m supposed to be.” It sits there, but it's inside me, inside my head, inside my soul, sometimes with tears.
Go find your something. If you find it in my sculpture, I am thrilled. If you find it somewhere else, I’m thrilled.
So give yourself permission to completely engage with sculpture you like. Hear its message. Feel its texture. Listen for the echo in your heart. It’s alright. The BIR doesn’t apply to you today.
Maybe it never did.
Embrace your circles, and stay healthy.
Write if you see beauty,