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  • Guy Martyr

Circling the Prey - Summary of my art philosophy


Continuing the theme whether my works of art are valid and engrossing insights into the essence of life, or ‘meaningless’* exemplars of any art that anybody might do: in summary, they are a bit of both.

I see around me many examples of wonderful art: last week I visited the William Blake exhibition at Tate Britain - yes, wonderful art. At the weekend in ‘The Guardian’ there was a report on the renovation of Jan van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece. Wonderful art! And on my Twitter home line, in museums, commercial galleries and magazines, many examples of

art - produced by artists with a vision and a means.

This is what I have tried to do over the years of my engagement with the practice. Yet I have not been able to rub out from my mind the words of Joseph Beuys: ‘Jeder Mensch ist ein Kunstler’ (every person is an artist). It is surely true.

I haven’t achieved recognition with my art: and trying to find recognition, or even an avenue to recognition, has become an apparently insurmountable obstacle; but I am still impelled to create art. The internet, with its opportunities for un-invigilated/mediated publication, offers the appearance of instant access to an audience; but there are so many people on the available platforms, that tangible advantage is faint.

Yet advancing ‘democracy’ demands that each individual counts. An ‘expert’ artist can be seen as an old-fashioned idea, akin to a bygone strict authority, or a patronising, even colonising approach. Whether people are trained or not, or have achieved access to a special, solipsistic vision, which others, or influential others, have found beguiling, is irrelevant - what matters above all is enabling the human impulse to create.

Imaginative expression!

Something where there was nothing!

The antidote to destruction!

Giving vent to this is perhaps the highest ambition in art - the next ‘David’ will be ‘Democratic-art-in-doing-and-reception’. To me, this sits alongside any great ambition, like a decent home for all.

A casual passing glance into windows, perhaps from the train, reveals how many bare walls there are. Anecdotal observation indicates how many un-successful/un-recognised trained artists there are. And how many members of our wider community are there who haven’t taken the leap-of-confidence to draw, paint or make, yet who have it in them to do? (Or dance, or sing?)

Something new is called for!

Yes, I want to express myself with all sorts of formal approaches - I have in me portraits, landscapes, abstract pictures, photographs, prints, 3D, performance, and on . . . At the same time, if I can in some part inspire the more widespread allowance and confident adoption of the artistic impulse among my colleagues-in-community, I will lean in that direction, as my corresponding artistic duty - if only by making art that is not all about my ideas, my making-abilities and my élan: some of my art might be saying look at me, look at my insights, my ‘meaning’, but it will also in part be saying do, just do.

*Nothing is really devoid of meaning

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