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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Vindication – What Goes Around Comes around

When we moved into our villa, everything was white; the tiled floors, the walls, the cupboards. Over the last few years, we watched the trends go from white to color and from pastel to bright and bold. Through it all, we stoically held our own as we watched our friends slather on reds, golds, teals, and yellows.

Our dark bold furnishings complimented our world of white. I did admire the bright gleam of graceful white flowers and white woodwork against the latest trending colors, but we stood firm on grounds of economics and the fact that our walls were freshly painted when we moved in.

"Blending In" 11x14 acrylic on panel / in barnwood frame
Trends have a way of reaching their peak. People tire of intensity and they long for peace and non-distraction. Enter the new white; not only exhibited on walls and cupboard doors, but in furnishings. The scuffed up well-worn white of yesteryear has been replaced by shiny smooth. We’re back in style! Vindication -- oh, sweet reprieve!

The same holds true for clothes. If you leave them hanging in your closet long enough they will be back in style in a few short years. What goes around does come around. The same holds true for art. Styles and trends cycle; but if you go back far enough, you’ll find some of the same trends with a slight twist.

Today’s trendy art boasts a large following of buyers. It is hip, techie, and speaks to the young at heart. Ignore the trends if you must, or climb on board and take advantage of the upswing; in either case, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring.”

But don’t let your heart or your eyes be fooled. Even though art is trending free and wild, the successful still follow the tried and true rules of color theory and composition. In fact, this is the very reason an artist is able to get away with so much. Knowing what colors to use, how, and when is the key to their popular draw. Rules of composition still apply, perhaps even more so as the subjects and images become more outlandish.

Andy Warhol once said that “rules are meant to be broken.” Knowing how to break them creatively and within the bounds of good art is another matter. Once you know all the rules that govern art, then choosing which one you will break for a given effect is not stupid, it’s creative license.

My own journey has been one of trial and error. I’ve always been a non-conformist of sorts, and my internal creativity screams at sameness, blandness, duplication, or compliance with other people’s rules of beauty or completeness.


We’re told as artists that we should be “loose,” and that we should “fly.” But at the same time, our journey is bound by strict compliance to certain codes of behavior and performance. I don’t know about you, but I get confused. I’m hoping something “clicks” sooner than later!