On Artistic Practice.
My goal as an artist is to make pictures which capture people's attention - something which when they see it from across the room or out of the corner of their eye will make them say "Hey, what was that?" and go back for a closer look. Something which gives them a feeling that something has changed in their lives, although they may not be able to formulate exactly what. Something, in other words, which makes people think.
Why do this? Because, as artists, we can. In the same way in which a great writer can change people's lives, if we are serious about our art, we should also be able to catalyze change. When we sit down in front of a blank canvas (or a wall, a lump of clay, a raw stone, or a computer screen) we are God. We can create whatever we want, and if we are good enough; 'in the zone' or 'in flow', we can make people believe in our creation. If we have the ability to do it, then perhaps we also have the obligation to do it.
In my own case, I try to create something which will make a change in people, to 'make my mark' (for that, of course, is what artists do), by searching for combinations of shape, colour, form and texture which evoke a subliminal emotional response in the viewer. My goal is for someone to look a picture and feel that it 'resonates', that it 'strikes a chord' (note how we use expressions for visual art which echo the impressions we get from music - both are visceral experiences). They need not understand exactly why it gives them that feeling - my goal is to work on the archetypal level, so that the viewer cannot help but respond in a certain way to what they are seeing.
The content of my art sometimes incorporates symbols which are widely recognisable (and therefore likely to be reacted to) by the majority of people. Clouds symbolise flights of the imagination and dreams. Flowers are for springtime and rebirth. Baroque carving evokes a feeling of luxury, exclusivity - even spirituality, and archaic lettering for nostalgia and a sense of the presence of the past. More than this, though, I try to allow my own intuition to select shapes, forms and colour combinations which resonate on a more subtle level - that which gives me a particular feeling, evokes a particular emotion, I hope will have the same effect on someone viewing the picture. Often the meaning of an image only becomes apparent to me well after I have created it - at the time of creation it is simply in the process of becoming, and the act of facilitating that process can be conscious, unconscious and subconscious, in any combination.
|"Me da la Cabeza de Juan Bautista" : Oils & egg-tempera on canvas : 97 x 55 cm|
Copyright © 2010 by Martin Herbert
|"A Thing of Hair and Feathers" : Ink & sanguine pencil on tempera-washed paper :|
11" x 14" : Copyright © 2010 by Martin Herbert
|"The Last Rabbit" : Oil on canvas, 2000 : Mark Ryden|
Please visit the artist's website for more
|"My Dishonest Heart" :Mixed Media on Wood : 2008 :|
: Audrey Kawasaki :
Please visit the artist's website for more.
This then, is the conclusion when considering how my own artistic process manifests itself: that it should remind the viewer of the necessity to reconcile our physical and mental states of being, by using all the techniques available to the artist - shape, colour, texture, perfection of technique, to arrest their attention. To make them stop and look again, to think and say to themselves not "Er... something is wrong here...", but "Wow! Something is very right here". It is that striving towards wholeness which distinguishes my art and, I hope, makes it unique.