Apr 11, 2009

What I Really Think About Pointy Hats and Wings . . .

This is a piece I made many months ago when I was working much more simply and before I figured out ways to make things sharper or cut things apart or reinvent whole bodies and characters. My buddy, Tace, if I remember right, bought her. (update: I KNEW I should've checked - it was purchased by Lisa, one of my special blog friends that I love dearly - you can read the first comment below - thank you, Leslie! Tace bought a very similar piece with Eva in a crown.) It uses Eva, my most favorite face to use that I snagged from the public domain (I just love that little look of "yeah, what? I'm not in the best of moods"). What makes this piece art? Is it art? To me, yes, simple but yes. Is it a masterpiece? No. It wasn't meant to be. Not all art is meant to be a reviewed, critiqued, gallery displayed, high priced, intensely powerful, masterpiece. Some art is just a little ditty. A little slice of something. This piece truly rests on the hat and wings. They are the elements that made it more than just a reprinted picture, the proof of some creative exertion, intention and purpose.

Anyway, I didn't mean to post about this piece, but instead the controversial subject of hats and crowns and wings. It seems so funny that there could be a controversy over such silly little things. Maybe controversy is too powerful of a word to describe the tryst, the difference of opinion, the division of tastes. Taste is a key word that I'll get back to in a minute. In a couple of the very first Somerset magazines I actually read (didn't just look at the pictures - I sound like a teenage boy with his Playboy stash), I discovered the first inkling that trouble was brewing over the "over use" of hats and crowns and wings that was being discussed in the letters to the editor. It seems we artists as a whole are really concerned about the use of these things. There should be some kind of quota or hat and wing diet some people proposed. I admit, I spend quite a bit of time debating the issue and did before the Pez comment we've been discussing here. I always end up with, ehhh, I still like 'em and want 'em.

I mentioned in a previous post that a good friend of mine sort of politely suggested losing the hats and wings too. But it was a caring and thoughtfully made suggestion from a very talented artist that I respect and admire more than I can tell you. And it was given with compliments and admiration and for the purpose of opening up other markets or audiences for my art. By using things like crowns and hats and wings, I do limit my audience.

That's where taste comes in. We all have it, taste of some kind. We prefer some things over other things. It's the way it is and the way it should be. If it were any other way, what a boring world it would be. Victor, the very nice USPS man I seem to be getting to know a little through my frequent-of-late post office visits, I'll just bet isn't into pointy hats and wings and probably would never in a million years purchase or even pay much attention to my art. That's okay. THAT'S OKAY! Victor is a cool guy, I think, from what little I know. He intrigues me. He's rather handsome and mysterious and you just know he has a life that's interesting and maybe very hip. He's into art in general and even suggested an art walk I may visit tonight. He's a musician too and he seems pretty cool and nice and intelligent with important things to say that I wouldn't mind hearing. But I bet Victor likes edgier art, more raw, more powerful passionate mature statements than my little ditties make. That's okay! That's his taste. And, I like it too, I do. It's just that I'M not edgy or raw or passionate (in a rock and roll worldy hip way) so I don't have the experience to make that art with.

I complain about the lack of gestural whimsy in my work, the lack of expression. When I write about that, I'm really thinking of Teesha Moore's work. I look at her work every single day, several times a day. I mean EVERY DAY. I study it. She can make pointy hats and wings raw and edgy and passionate and deep. She can make pieces with hats and wings that Victor might appreciate. She obviously has had a great impact on the art world. A big impact, a revolution of sorts. I lllloooonnnnggg for her abilities, her voice in my work. But, I also long for longer legs and bigger boobs. It's not me, it's just not me right now. It wouldn't be my voice. It wouldn't be me. I'm not there yet. Her work is still an inspiration, a launching off point for me even if you could never tell it by comparing my work to what I see in hers.

Now, let's talk about my husband. He's a big manly man. He's worked in the movie industry for over 25 years and has had as much "rock and roll" as he's wanted. He likes horses and cattle drives and hiking and boating and ball games and he can build houses and fix engines and . . . . He was an exceptional athlete and is highly intelligent. He's very handsome and very confident. He's cool and gregarious and popular. He was quite a catch, still is (yeah, baby). HE would buy my art, and not just cuz he loves me. He likes fairy tales and stories and magic and humor and sweetness (he cries at movies all the time, he's that sweet) and he likes my style. So, it is all a matter of taste and appetite for what you connect to. Whether it's a masterpiece or raw and edgy or a slice of sweet, trite, whimsy.

Wanna know a secret? I don't really care for nudity or eroticism or sexuality in art. I can appreciate the talent of someone who made artwork with those qualities, but I don't long for it, don't connect to it, move right on by. Part of the reason is my awkwardness with my own body, not liking it. Part of it is my shyness, my modesty. Part of it is some horrible past experiences that make sexuality a complicated subject for me. Part of that thought process makes me think some art is made to shock and make things uncomfortable and I am still shocked and uncomfortable enough from the past that I don't need to be reminded of it. I don't think it's productive for me. Art should be productive, improve your life, be a joy and a pleasure to look at, get your mind working in good ways. But, this kind of art DOES speak to me, it DOES elicit a reaction and is still very successful in my mind no matter if it's my personal cup of tea or not. So, just like everybody else, I have my particular tastes and reasons for them. We can't all like the same things, but we can appreciate everything.

So, here it is, the big finish brought into focus for me by the Pez person. When Somerset publishes art that uses hats and crowns and wings and when I put my work up on flickr, no one is saying "here, like this because we are showing you masterpieces that you must adore and feel connected to". The pieces are just there, simply there, intentionally placed with hundreds and even thousands of other pieces of art. These pieces are there to be ignored and moved past and skimmed over by some, and there to be appreciated and create a connection with others. And, THAT'S OKAY! The nitty gritty of why Pez upset me is that I had no idea anyone proclaiming to understand and appreciate art would ever try to squash another artist's voice. It is so against the code, the unwritten understanding that artists appreciate other artists no matter of their taste or style. It is just uncool, ignorant, obnoxious, and moronic. Poor Pez is going to go on making a fool of him or herself and because of cowardly anonymity cannot be worked with to help have a better, more meaningful life. What a waste.

and a little p.s. - I think Pez misused the word integrity (which reflects badly on their intelligence or at least vocabulary). How can one lack in integrity using hats and wings? That bugs me. Even my 15 year old daughter's first reaction to reading it was "what the ---- does integrity have to do with it?" (yes, she's in AP English and talks like a sailor) If you're gonna slam me, at least use the proper words to do it.

I AM DONE WITH THIS AND MOVING ON! So should you! There are more important things to be conquered and thought about. Thank you for all of your brilliant and wonderful comments and support!


Leslie said...

The Pouty Eva was bought by my dear friend Lisa Schell. Lisa dedicated a post to her and you, Marsha, on her art blog House of Hullabaloo. That's the very piece that first attracted me! It's the piece of art that caused the whole world of Tumble Fish Studio, art blogs, and Etsy to be opened up to me! It energized me and led finally to my entering several pieces in an art show. My work was selected for the exhibit and I attend the reception next Friday! All because of pouty Eva with the pointy hat and wings.
Marsha, this post is so well-written, everything so well-articulated that I wish you would print it up as some kind of manifesto! Brava!

Cathy Mendola said...

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha. You poor dear. I feel like I've been gone way too long. I haven't read the entire post about your extremely UNKIND critic but when I'm feeling better I fully intend to come back and sit a spell and digest it fully. THE NERVE!
The AUDACITY! and I totally agree with the lack of intelligence concerning her/his use of integrity. ???
I'm just floored! I love your work and so does a lot of people out here in blogland.
Obviously this person has nothing better to do than to sit and criticize others. They probably don't have a creative bone in their body!
Put it behind you and keep on doing what you love!
hugs and I'll be back later.

Melissa said...

Hmmmm, you know some people have their unmitigated gall! I like wings and pointy hats. I adore your work. Some people are so unkind, they do not understand that an artist's work is an extension of them. Pez needs to get a life and not waste time on such trivia matters on commenting about hats and wings. Let's face it, it's not like it's a controversial Maplethorp or Jasper Johns piece of art!
Marsha, you keep doing what you are doing! It's fabulous doll!

kentboy said...

Our Marsh gets my back up when she diminishes her art and talent. All of the artist I've met work at what they do. It may be a pleasurable labor, but it is work. I watch what Marsh goes through. I know what others go through for their art. The elements in Marsh's work are intentional. Even by some accident an element appears, it is left on the paper intentionally or it is redone. Musicians place notes in their pieces. Poets agonize over words.

A great example of the intention of artists is the sign language community has 2 types of sign language. 1 is to communicate effectively with others and it doesn't reflect every word used. The second signs every word literally. This is used for things like poetry because a writer has decided what words are important in their work.

About taste. Taste is what you like. I have said it for years. If we all liked the same thing we'd all be married to my wife.

To "your" star and back.

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Ah, my Kentboy. After 20 years you still amaze me and you still thrill my tummy until it tickles all by itself.

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Ooops! Sorry last comment leaver. I do truly appreciate what you wrote and your understanding and effort to write the nice note that you did. Please understand that I felt uncomfortable with anyone mentioning any names in a derogatory or presumptive way on my blog, especially someone I don't know nor have had any dealings with. I only was able to write so freely about the Pez person because of their self induced anonymity and because they made their comments to me public in the first place. I do hope you understand and that I do appreciate you!

House of Hullabaloo said...

Marsha! I can't believe this is coming up again! The whole wings and crowns and hats etc. I too remember the somersets and the editorials from those pompous Bi%$#es! I wrote a letter to the editor about it but alas it was not published but guess what! My envelope was. I'll post it tomorrow. It has convicts on it with hats and wings. If I were as talented in fairy art as you are that would be all I would do! I wish I could create fairy art like yours! I would wall paper my room with them. Believe me, I've tried! I can create convict fairy art - That is the only thing I have ever had published by somerset and one of my many my life goals is to get publish in Somerset studio. I don't think an envelope counts. I see my fabulous pouting dunce fairy some days more time than my family. I love her and am so grateful to know you too!

Long Live Winged and crowned or Hatted art! Lets just say long live all Art!


Tumble Fish Studio said...

Okay, Lisa, I want to see the convicts with hats and wings! I am so intrigued! I love it already. And bulloney, an enevelope doesn't count! It so does! Do you know I'm afraid of mail art! I'm afraid it will fall apart on the way to where its going and someone will get it and say "what the heck is this?" I can't wait to see it! Thanks friend!

Randi said...

I think you are a wonderful artist and you have a very cool attitude about stuff in general! Keep up the good work and let's DO move on to more FUN stuff!

mary schweitzer said...

Pez isn't worth mentioning, obviously he/she is a cretin.
I LOVE pointy hats and wings.
So I want to comment on wanting to be like Teesha. Totally understandable. For the longest time I wanted to be Micheal deMeng.
But I have noticed something kind of interesting. I always thought it would be so fun to go to a workshop by one of these amazing artists. Learn their thricks of the trade so to speak. But when I see pics of what has been created at some workshops/classes/retreats, they seem to be duplicating the teachers work.
While you have a Teesha Moore feeling in your work, your work is so obviously you. Original, fun and colorful.
I've stopped yearning to be Micheal and just try to be comfortable being me creatively.
'Course I still get jealous of others abilities sometimes, but we won't mention that.
I laughed my butt off when you talked about how you read the mags. I do the same!!
Did I just ramble too much?
This is the longest comment I have ever made.
Hope it made some kind of sense.

NancyB said...

Hello from the girl in the corner of the room with the flu...waves...You know I have been thinking about all this pointy hat and wing business...POINTY HAT = a starting point..everybody needs one..am I right?! Each starting leads us to even more exciting things....WINGS = learning to fly...we were all born with wings... with that said and good friends like you is what puts the wind beneath those wings!! So don that pointy hat...soar with them mighty wings of yours...heck why not sport a pair of stripey leggings just to annoy people!!!!!! LOL :oD

DeBRiNa PRaTT said...

Amen!!! We are definately on the same wave length regarding this issue. Appreciate all art but that doesn't mean all art speaks to me. I have been using pointy hats/crowns and wings for over 3 years now as a full time artist so there must be something to those elements to have been able to feed me for this long! lol... but yes, I do want to expand and explore but because I want to not because there's people out there who don't think it's art or are tired of seeing them.
Blessings and thanks for your positive insight!