Thursday, 23 June 2022

More thoughts about making art

While watching some videos in a YouTube channel  I was prompted to thinking about what sort of response I should make, adding some comments but also wanting to expand at more length here. 

The two episodes in Basia’s series I want to talk about are for ‘Books’ and ‘Journals’. As for the first, what remains in my mind most strongly is the fact that despite the almost-instantaneous nature of photography making a book takes time so the process has to slow down. For my part, making a folder with paramontage in A4 size was complicated because the printer didn’t make the right size for some items so I have to go back to the shop to get them trimmed. It’s only a couple of millimetres but that’s a big margin when you’re talking about manufactured supplies. When I called them Sam offered to do this (I assume there’ll be no charge) but it means another bus trip and a walk through Redfern. 

The folder contains different types of print, some made on my office InkJet printer, some made at Officeworks, and some at Pixel Perfect in Chippendale (which is close to Redfern Station). I got a bag of plastic sleeves the other day and have been filling them up slowly. I also make a table of contents to go at the front of the folder under the title page and in front of the introduction. The complete package is handy because it means I can transport my work easily without the need for cumbersome stationery like a portfolio. The materials for making the folder came partly from old stock, things I’ve owned for God-knows how long and had never used. This is not strictly true in the case of the green plastic folder for the main series, which used to hold failed job applications. I like to think with bitter fondness of those pieces of paper consigned one year to the shredder.

As for ‘Journals’ what was most interesting about Basia’s video was how her drawing derived from using a journal. For Basia is more than just a photographer, and I own some of her drawings, two of which are hanging in my studio paired with prints she made of native Australian flowers. One is a grevillea, and as I write my own grevillea out the front of my house is flowering. The plant had been eaten partly by some sort of bug but I got a bottle of spray from a nursery and used it on several occasions so it’s doing ok now.

Art also needs nurturing but it’s something of a mystery where the need for making it comes from. Going by the records we have some art has always been used for ceremonial purposes, and this can be seen as being just as true nowadays in the ways that movies, for example, or popular music are deployed in advertising and in TV shows, other secular cultural products that enable us to contemplate the unsolved questions of the universe. In many ways the focus has narrowed as time has progressed because most of these products gravitate in their essential elements to the political. To a large degree the numinous has been relegated to the fringes, whereas in the past it was firmly at the centre of people’s lived experience.

Given the advances in medicine and other technologies it’s hard to lament the past. We’re probably better off now with refrigeration and washing machines than people alive, say, when Virginia Woolf was arguing with her housekeeper. I, for one, would regret an inability to watch friends’ videos.

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