Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Art: the mourning after

"Art is for the living. If someone has lived creatively and you are grateful, for goodness sake, write them a letter, or create a website about them; get an article about them published if you have the opportunity, or if you are an editor, commission tributes while she or he can read them. What is the point of making a fuss when they are gone? It is morbid and to me it seems inauthentic...Instead of lamenting the lost, we should be celebrating their achievements, and saying thank you, while they are still among us. So stop this saccharine artistic morbidity. Instead, pick your favourite living creative artist – and write them a fan letter."
-Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, UK

Full blog post here: "The mourning after: why we should celebrate artists while they are alive"

In his latest blog post, The Guardian's Jonathan Jones writes about the loss of Cy Twombly, Lucien Freud, and Ken Russell. His overall point being that the rush of the arts media to heap praise and tributes on the recently departed artists comes too late. Now, the people Jones mentions were hardly unknown and did live to see their work exhibited or seen by wide audiences. I think that it's the lesser-known people who should have a chance to have an encouraging note or two, especially from people that they don't know and may never meet. 

I come across a lot of images of artwork on the web and when something strikes me in a particular way, be it art, design, photography, or music, I'll often find a way to let the artist know how I feel about their work, mostly via email and sometimes by posting about their work either on this blog or elsewhere. 

I don't do this to "network" or to gain some other in-kind favor or notice, I do it because something about their work grabbed me. I do so for the same reason that Jonathan Jones mentions in his blog post for the Guardian; that we should celebrate artistic achievements while artists are alive and can appreciate the thoughts and accolades from peers and others.  


Nancy Natale said...

Showing appreciation for the work of living artists encourages them to continue their work and demonstrates that someone out there is looking and on the same wavelength. I like it (and I do it). And by the way, I really admire your work virtually and hope to see it in the flesh one of these days.

Tim McFarlane said...

Nancy: Thanks a lot for reading and replying. I've been enjoying seeing what you've been working on virtually, also, particularly the "Running Stitches" series. It's developed into quite a rich body of work.

Stephanie Hoff Clayton said...

Your post makes a valuable statement, Tim, and Nancy summed it up very well in her comment.
It is my aim to do this.
One can't help but consider Vincent Van Gogh; how tragic that few encouraged him and celebrated his work while he was living. If only he had known...

harold hollingsworth said...

I'm with you on this theme, it's about the inspiration that others fuel in us, and why I'm truly grateful when I find works that I haven't seen before, and if I can, to let them know or even ask if it's available. I'm truly glad to witness your works Tim!

Tim McFarlane said...

Stephanie: Thanks. We'll never know, of course, but his times and some peers weren't ready for him.

Harold: Yes, it's definitely about the inspiration and recognition of the talent and integrity that dedicated people bring to their work.

Thank you, very much for that comment. I'm glad to witness your works, as well, Harold!

Sophie Munns said...

Had to share this via tumblr... a great thought...especially as I am leaving this comment at the start of the new year!

Tim McFarlane said...

Share away, Sophie! THanks for reading and commenting.