Friday, 12 September 2014

In Praise Of Little (Art) Stuff / James Hoff Video

Move Up 2014

There are no more great men, no more geniuses. We are finally free of these malevolent dummies. Genius was an invention of the Greeks, like the centaurs and the hippogryphs. There are as many geniuses as there are unicorns. We have been so scared of them for three thousand years. - Jean Dubuffet 

We emerged from an Art Fair the other week with LJ complaining about 'all that clutter', by which she meant the little stuff people had made and spread out on their tables. Then we had a row. I know what she means, though. That little stuff; the cards, crude, simple drawings and collages, what does it amount to? I fought their corner , saying how important it was that the little stuff is made, not only for the makers but as a stance against the Big Art stuff, you know, the stuff that signifies that an artist's 'made it', the stuff dealers deal in and Frieze magazine writes about. That stuff. But there were the common people making little stuff. It was great. 

I bought the latest package from Indestructible Energy. It's filled with little stuff. Some of it's good. Some of it is so insignificant as to hardly seem worth making, however crudely. It reminded me of the olde fanzine days, naturally. There were zines at the Art Fair. Not many, mind. Most were filled with cartoons, which aren't really my thing. It doesn't matter that some of this stuff isn't your thing, if you don't support it in some way you are, by default, supporting the idea that none of it matters compared to Proper Art and Literature. You could also be resisting on the grounds that your tiny flat is already crammed with books and stuff.

I bought a couple of prints by Ben Rider. Here's something else he's made...

They only cost £5 for two, but as usual at these kinds of events I felt like Saatchi, throwing money at struggling artists like a big-time philanthropist. I do this partly because I hope that if I'm ever sat there selling my work someone else will be as supportive. Not that makers of little stuff should be treated as desperate charities. 

No-one else ever seems to be buy much, except pretty postcards, for 50p. There's nothing wrong with pretty. The worlds needs pretty, yes. But it's disheartening that the edgier stuff doesn't seem as popular. What a surprise; pretty pictures are more popular than something deeper, more cynical, or 'weird'. 

I didn't see much edgy material there. Perhaps that was simply a matter of who booked a table rather than a reflection of the state of things. Darkness is all over the place in the form of terrible Goth angst in music and visuals. I don't blame people for wanting to look at something that lifts their spirits. But I find those who only embrace the 'beautiful' a little tiresome, like people who only listen to 'happy', 'upbeat' music. Oh, and whinging singer/songwriters, they get right up my nose.

Here's some nice music made by a fairly successful artist called James Hoff. The video is new. 

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