A biography of painting

I always look at art and creativity as having three different aspects, or domains :

That of the individual, which I characterise as the Garret
The historic and theoretical, or the Academy
And the social, which I call the Salon, as in fashionable salons of the Belle Epoque.

This model is fundamentally about how we come to terms with our individual isolation. Art is the tool by which we make this resolution, which is a two way process; we present ourselves to the world and we define ourselves in relation to the world.

Everyone has a some way of doing this. Art is just one choice. For some of us it is not a choice that is explicitly made but rather it is a vocation.


My triarchic model of creativity

It is my opinion that the artist needs to be able to effectively engage in all three of the domains. The tendency of most people is to favour one domain more than the others. True "genius" or success as an artist is to engage fully in all three.

I also use this model to evaluate art. If we look at any artist it will be apparent that they are either academic, theoretical or political in their approach; have a strong sense of what is fashionable and are well connected in the art world; or they work very much from their own psychological perspective.


So in this model it seems obvious that to cover all three areas with some facility is the most successful approach. With some considerable regret I recognise I do not.

I take a very personal approach to art, I give some regard to art history and theory and attempt to work within a social context, although with some difficulty. I do not like an over abundance of theory, just enough to underlie and motivate my work is enough for me. I live in fear of being too illustrative.


And so the diagram on the right would provide a good example of where I sit in terms of this method of analysis.

Individuality is very 20th century. Yet it has to be recognised. The job of a good artist is to negotiate this aspect in relation to the other two areas, but in particular in regards to the social. Unfortunately so much of this negotiation is reliant on third parties, or "gatekeepers". So an artist's art is never really always about them as much as we like to think otherwise.


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