describes an underground visual art movement that arose in the Los Angeles, California, area in the late 1970s. It is a populist art movement with its cultural roots in underground comix, punk music, and hot-rod cultures of the street. It is also often known by the name pop surrealism. Lowbrow art often has a sense of humor – sometimes the humor is gleeful, sometimes impish, and sometimes it is a sarcastic comment. Wikipedia
At the Yuma Art Symposium last week, I went to a talk by a ceramic artist named Max Lehman http://www.maxdna.com/#! The work was fun to look at, full of references to Mayan Art, Mexican folklore, bunnies, cars, and skeletons. Max went into the influence that Pop Surrealism had on his work, and showed images by Pop Surrealists such as Mark Ryden and Gary Baseman. When the talk was over, I felt discouraged, feeling that that my art was old and dated, the words "fuddy duddy" springing to mind. Some raw nerve had been touched, some part of me that felt out of step and unloved. Even though Pop Surrealism was old news by now, I still couldn't get over the feeling that I wasn't doing work that spoke to a younger generation, work that was cynical and clever, droll, and complex.
I thought a lot about this Pop Surrealist thing, this feeling I had of not being current for the rest of my stay in Yuma. I then brought these thoughts back to New Mexico to ponder and chew over. Today, when I came out to the studio, I felt as if I were looking at my work with new eyes. Interestingly, I found the work to be very compelling--much better than I had remembered. Perhaps not clever or cynical, but certainly complex and not like anything I've ever seen before. There was honesty, and an attempt to make and do things I hadn't done or known how to do before. I don't know exactly why I needed to beat up on myself so much in Yuma, but I suspect it was the part of me that doesn't know where I am going creatively. That part of me was looking for a way to dodge the responsibility of not knowing, of being uncomfortable, of feeling chaotic and lost. It was easier to substitute the known for the unknown instead of just reassuring myself that, no matter how hard it is, all would be okay.
Thanks for your post today- I appreciated your honesty and openness about your work as an artist and its relevance in the world today. I have the same questions as an artist and ultimately come to the same conclusion. The unknowing and the chaos of making art is hard to sit in most of the time but its the only way through. Loving the unknown. Thanks again.ReplyDelete
I found your post very enlightening. Never thought of you as an old fuddy duddy, though!