Tag Archives: thoughts

Do you speak ‘Twitter’ ?

What can I say? Blogging is a privilege, but blogging is also a luxury, which few can afford. Blogging means ‘time’ and a ‘longer meaningful statement’ – both goods more pricey than pure gold.

Few years ago, thousands of those caught in the Web for good were thrilled by this very opportunity – to be one’s own publisher and editor. Dozens of hospitable platforms hosted amateur and serious writers, journalists, thinkers who quickly found ingenious devices to gain more and more public, and to make their online hobby profitable or even – a sort of a permanent occupation.

Blogging-world has been, right from its birth, a faithful reflection of the market as it evolves everyday – it’s got its ‘celebrities’ and ‘niche’ authors, its outstanding examples of intellectual ballet and creativity, as well as the pools of pure spam. Blogging has changed the way humans think and express their everyday experience. Blogging was and is all about the challenge, beauty, mystery, wonder, torment and curiosity of living ‘here and now’.

Then something even more groundbreaking has occurred. Social networking services like “Facebook’ (FB) and recently “Twitter” failed to become, as their critics predicted, online hangout places for teens with lots of strong language and weak sense of any significance whatsoever… If any of us has ever dreamed about the supernatural power to know the thoughts of people as they spark – here it goes… Take “Twitter” – one can easily follow a scientist from Washington, a politician from Warsaw, a journalist from London, an unknown brilliant x from y who brights up a day by his ideas… One is able to share all the worthy, meaningful bits and pieces of one’s online and offline experience as it goes with friends and strangers. And this very common, hyper-democratic spirit and habit of free-sharing of one’s humanity – thoughts, emotions, beliefs, tastes, choices is possibly the most important, most positive and amazing aspect of this comparatively new Web development.

Generally, one could write essays and books about these phenomena (and many do). As a member of an art-world I’m simply overwhelmed and enchanted by their potential, especially when considering theoretical and practical benefits that art and artists may gain. If art is all about communication, about projecting our humanity – what happens online now is like a new, never-seen language in making – fractured, grass-rooted, highly experimental code of communication that a man of 21st century chooses to express himself in.

Does contemporary art speak this very language, does it follow closely enough? Or maybe – IT IS the thing per se – from time to time I cannot escape the impression, that by making my own mind a public venue, by contemplating the same condition from a distance thanks to others generosity – I take a part in a deeply artistic experience. What’s the difference after all, for a contemporary of Rembrandt to see his/her world reflected and transformed in his canvases to a point of alchemical strangeness, and – for us right now – to experience the same when literally – ‘reading minds’ of ‘real’ people in a virtual realm; the effect is the same – uncanny illumination of one’s own power and futility – the essence of all art.

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Where you can find me (Whilt 19)

Remember this one of my series – Whilt – What Have I learned Today?

Trying to come back to it – little day-to-day discoveries of a starry-eyed kid, which lives in me (despite my daring attempts to evict it) and within all those interesting people I’ve met.

I followed that link – contemplating a personal story of a man close to me I bumped into that movie: “Into the wild” – loyal portrayal of a real drama of Christopher McCandless – a top student from a privileged background, who – bitterly disappointed by vanity and hypocrisy of his parents, by mindless brutality and shallowness of his society drops out of the picture trying to reclaim shattered identity and personal integrity. He does it through an impossibly romantic, extreme means of going into the wild of Alaska, living only from the land-resources and in a total isolation. Being only 24 and after two years of his adventure Chris dies out of starvation in his adopted ‘home’ – a wreck of a green bus. That bus in itself becomes a destination for dozens of McCandless’s followers, his uncompromising choices in life are being interpreted in equally extreme fashion – from glorifying the ‘hero’, who had to paid the highest price for an attempt of a noble self-discovery, to scolding the ‘spoiled, egocentric’ kid.

One of the most poignant discoveries this run-away’s parents had made was, that he didn’t want to be found. One can save someone who is temporarily lost, or help the one, who plays hide-and seek game out of lack of confidence or confusion or pain, but not the one, who makes a conscious decision of ‘disappearing’ from your life. Thinking about that I started to approach this question if I, indeed, want to be ‘found’ in this very wilderness of the Internet reality. Energy and dynamics of the Web-World acts as ever-expanding multiverse – once you lose the track of its actual demands and nature – you share fate of a micro-organism completely lost somewhere in a vast vacuum of a Tropical Forest. And it doesn’t matter, if your performance here is of a poor or great quality; or of any importance to humanity in general… who really bothers after all…

Here are the online services, where you can find me, except of this site (obviously) – join and use the fun of Facebook (my name: Katarzyna Skonieczna), where you can quickly connect with those you know, check the latest ‘what’s up’ with them, compete in various (deliciously childish) games and share your thoughts the moment you think them… Twitter (my name: skonieczna) is another, very immediate and natural way of sharing your online experience, you simply answering the one and only question: “what are you doing?’ – what are you doing right now – share the article, you’ve just read; picture you’ve discovered, new web-site, follow people, who make it all more fascinating and inspiring… There is where you can, if you want to – find me – the moment I will dare to disappear – you will be one of the first to know…

P.S.

Enjoy thoughtful song from ‘Into the wild’ above. Eddie Vedder signs ‘Society’. More about the philosophy behind this movie, which, I believe is worthy to explore – in my next posts


Studying Art (20) – some loose thoughts…

Being ‘graduate’… I mean, how ridiculous it feels…

Being ‘graduate’ in Fine Art… I mean, one cannot get it more absurd… There is no ‘graduating’ from art, unless one can ‘graduate’ in ‘being a human being’…

Having first show, first chat with a journalist, first reviews from the public – at once one’s is able to see what art is really for – I met with those attentive eyes… hungry for any sort of a thoughtful, emotional expression from another human creature…. ‘C’mon – show me a bit of yourself, prove that there is still that thing called ‘a soul’ in us, let me witness your humanity here and now, whatever’…

Looking back at past months without a shadow of any sentiment – I mean, only my innate stubbornness kept me digging in that hell… Guess, that meant I really had started to ‘study’ and ‘make’ art… Only guessing…

Getting really cross with myself due to my perfect failure to prevent my private life from taking over my studio work during the last year. How it calls to be called – a lack of ‘professionalism’, or rather opposite – daring attempt to ‘master’ human condition despite of all odds, or maybe – just the natural event in one’s life?…

Naturally observing art-life around and having those ‘improper’ yet intense thoughts, that art is not and is never going to be for everyone, just forget all that ‘democratic’ rubbish and populists’ talks… Classical music is not for everyone, hard-rock is not for everyone, learning Chinese is not for everyone and even driving cannot be mastered or even tolerated by some people… Some are driven by irresistible forces, some only let to be guided, sometimes only by one’s vanity or greed. Ethos of an artist needs to be re-established, made clear to all and supported at all costs. Otherwise, we don’t have ‘art’, we don’t have ‘artists’ any more – we have ‘art-world’, ‘occupation’, ‘business’, ‘creativity’; we have ‘professionals’, ‘graduates’, ‘MFAs’ and all sorts of folks having no idea whatsoever, how bl…y serious game they involved themselves in…

One needs a break even, or – especially – from the things one puts no price on, simply cos there can’t be any price… things one would die for, if needed… A step back instead of grabbing and gaining even more control, just letting go… I excelled in making things more complex that they probably are, now – I have to learn, by ‘letting go’, how to make simple choices and obvious statements.

Having tendency to ‘over-intelectualize’ my work, and  that’s surprising considering that I’ve started as a completely intuitive painter. Now, I build an entire elaborated construction of theories in order to touch the canvas with a brush. I guess, it’s a protective mechanism (as a shrink would say) – use your head when using your heart and instincts feels like a torture…

Keeping on exploring links between science and art – funny, how the questions and problems of both echo each other, not to mention that it all seems to generate from the major philosophical systems of the past and present. Everything is so deliciously cross-feeding and inter-depending that it seems crazy to chop up human culture on so many ‘self-sufficient’ institutionally defined parts.

Preparing for a hot summer in the Middle and East-Europe. Wishing you all fruitful escapades for fun, meaning and maybe some inspiration as well!


Studying Art (17) – Why do you paint?

I’ve been challenged with this innocent question recently, and though I came up with an immediate answer at that moment ‘of truth’, I still keep pondering over it now, as if looking for a deeper, fuller view…

Why do you paint? Why do I paint?

My photographs say most of what I want to convey, my writing could explain the rest… I enjoy constructing installations, and I’ve got a truly creative time exploring all the new media available… Yet, I’ve been coming back to painting like a prodigal son, despite,  or – perhaps – because of everything, that has been given and taken away from me, due to my pursuit of this particular way… That ‘everything’, which I find almost beyond any description…

I remember being praised for that ‘loyalty’ to the medium, and my answer – quick, almost sub-conscious, was:
– Well, we cannot escape ourselves, can we?…
And then I added:
– In forty years time, I will probably still be painting…

Strange, how sure I was about it at that time, having only few studies in paint executed and still being largely ignorant about the most basic things…

I’m far from crafting any cryptic messages about the mystical connections between a painter and his materials, between his psyche and that angelic ‘monster’ – the painting, which always proves to be stronger than its creator… There is something true about it and those, who paint can grasp it… Yet, there is much more…

Painting has got that power to create, and abolish, entire worlds… just now… And the responsibility for that is a part of an adventure… Just like the all  pain involved into it…

That was my ‘raw’,  intuitive answer to the title-question. I meant by that, that each time I take a paint-loaded brush to live a mark on canvas I’m in a charge of an universe, which is out there, waiting to be created in me, and – through me – in an artwork…

It can take a minute or years; it can cost nothing or life and health; it can result in generation-changing discoveries and it may end up in a private despair only… Yet – there is that creative, never-ending, always profound challenge no other artistic medium, I know, can offer to a searching mind and courageous spirit… The challenge to capture the essence of life and death, humanity and divinity, what has ever existed and what is possible yet…

Painting is my Theory of Everything – it aims at explaining and linking all the matter of my consciousness (and unconscious) into an independent, evocative system – a Cosmos taming and denying Chaos .

Painting is the projection of my humanity, it’s a story of a human being… No other medium (except maybe music) appears to be so close to the human nervous system – I paint with my nerves, I paint with my blood and cells… I paint as a living being – living organism to create another living organisms – self-sufficient microcosms.

I paint to save and to be saved…

And you – Why do YOU paint?

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Studying art (16) -Humility

It will sound like a pure didacticism, yet – this appears to be the new discovery of mine: art is one of the best teachers of humility one can find.

I’ve been going through stages of naive, dreamy escapism, of unconditional passion, of playing tricks and games; I’ve used artistic means to express how much I care about and adore human world and how deeply negative, even nihilistic  about it I may become… I’ve got mesmerizing and intimate moments of a discovery, metamorphosis and truly painful bits of going astray…

And I’ve experienced months passing like weeks and those weeks making me older like one would got in years; childlike and often purely vain self-importance has been interweaving with the periods of self-abuse and self-denial…I made great plans and watched them going to pieces in one small push of fate; I hoped and got disappointed; I gave hope and let others down… My entire worldview and personal identity has been challenged dozens of times and I’ve never felt so powerful and so meaningless in my whole life…

And that’s all because of one decision made over three years ago – to study/make art – decision being continuously and not without a struggle refreshed almost each day…

Yes, art can be and is a severe yet quite compelling mentor and a guide – it knows no masters, truths, rules or logic beyond its own ones; it crowns with immortality and it devours without a blink of an eye.

This period of my study – final months of going towards the first degree in fine art is the time of humility and humiliation – I’m being put down by my own work, simply because it reads me perfectly – that neither my head or my heart are in charge as they should have been… So I’m producing substitutes, broken cups – useless right from the beginning, still-born paintings which I desperately try to revive and the ‘display’ work – to convince myself (yet not my tutors) that I’m in a good shape… I’m not prepared for a defeat yet, I’m not prepared to paint bad paintings, to be rejected and to admit my impotency, the limits of my imagination and mental capability; I’m unable to accept any help and to give much more than is expected of me…

And that’s why I’m not ready to be an artist yet… I may become a graduate in art, I will not become a painter… Unless I will find a way to cease to be – me myself – the biggest obstacle and enemy of my own work.


Integrity and disintegration… (Whilt 18)

From time to time, and recently quite often, I catch myself as being innocently and profoundly ignorant as to the meaning of some concepts, ideas, words, phrases… It’s got something to do with the English as an adopted language; even if it’s used completely naturally and fluently – there is always that surreal quality of putting on a mask, a costume, going on stage each time I have to or choose to communicate in not-my-mother-tongue… What’s interesting, that after years of being cut of the sophisticated, literary and everyday usage of Polish I’ve lost that absolute ‘feeling’, that innate sense of my first language… So, I’m somewhere between; and even craving – I’m not able to create a decent fiction or poems in either of codes of expression… not yet, not without a considerable struggle, at least…

So, I’ve come across that concept of the artistic integrity – first I had to check in five different dictionaries (of three languages) extended definitions of the notion; each one had a slightly varying shade of meaning attached; so I felt like juggling between them composing the balanced outlook…

Then – the tougher bit came when I asked myself – But what exactly does it mean – to be an artist of integrity? Does it mean the same as being the man of integrity, or – can the professional integrity coexist with the personal disintegration and vice-versa? Is integrity ‘merely’ a virtue you possess or not like courage or modesty, or rather a fundamental component of any individual, without which a serious trouble creeps into your life?… And  how this noble talk relates to the contemporary postmodern ethics (or rather non-ethics) of making/dealing with art? Who has, who can afford now to keep his/hers artistic integrity over time, when sometimes one call from a hated curator or a critic you disregard may be a life changing event? And so on, and so on…

Quite recently I’ve unwillingly provoked one of my tutors (calling my new paintings ‘a mess’) to form and challenge me with ‘the tough question’: If you won’t have an integrity with your work – who else will? To have an integrity with one’s work – that means to be unified in terms of the intent, concepts and the general message; or does it? If I call my own work ‘a mess’ – publicly and honestly – isn’t that enough to prove my solidarity with it? My demanding, yet compassionate unity with a piece of art which happens to be as confused as its author? Does it always have to sound ‘assertive’ and ‘confident’; ‘positive’ and ‘grand’ – like in salesmen’ slimy talk where even obvious downsides are clothed in sweetish-easy ‘solutions’…

And why is ‘integrity’ such a sought feature in an artist after all? I bet it suits perfectly some particular ‘breeds’ of professions – lawyers, doctors, teachers, intellectuals – sure… I know men who are a book-like example of the whole phenomenon – they’re noble and loyal, creative and open-minded; yet there is something vital missing in them – a spark of imagination empowering to jump in the dark, to take bold risks and challenge barriers or even rules, if necessary; they’re the guardians of the gates – and no artist should aim at that domain (not only, not merely, not predominantly).

An artist is a man of integrity chiefly via the creative act – by doing what he was born for – in the best, most dedicated way he/she knows and can apply; what comes to the world from that act is another matter – yet so-called integrity has nothing, or little to do with that.

If my work’s integrity comes from its conscious and chosen disintegration and subversion who can prove it wrong, and on which grounds?

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I dare so I am… (Whilt 17)

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. -Johann von Goethe

Courage is a strange thing – like fire: too little and you don’t exist; too much and… you can cease to exist as well… it’s self-perpetuated under the one condition – it’s got the fuel to nurture it. Basically, it purifies you as well as it may be a consuming force, if you won’t master it…

Neglected, it dies; one gentle stroke of attention – it glows again. It knows or respects no rules made for the ‘health and safety’ sake; it demands maturity and keen intelligence in handling it.

I was about to do an important step today and I stepped back, perhaps still feeling burns on my fingers from the last time, when I tried to touch and command the fire… In the same moment, when I chose so-called ‘common sense’ and self-importance over the boldness of challenging the situation, I knew I was wrong…

Painting and the creative act in general takes a lot of courage (and this is the most corny thing I’ve written in weeks); actually – it’s not meant to be for faint-hearted… One false step, one step too far, one step back (because you lack the boldness) and you lost the most important, and sometimes you are the last person to recognize it…

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it… To dare means to be, to create …

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