Embrace the dark

It is obligatory… whenever I show someone new my website or Facebook page, their response is “your work is dark”.

What the fuck does that mean? Dark as compared to what? I wonder if Tim Burton got these responses before he was big (or still does).

I don’t really think of my work as dark, but I know that it makes some people uncomfortable. It is confrontational on purpose, and if someone thinks it is dark, chances are they see something inside themselves reflected back, possibly afraid to examine further. I have sabotaged meeting people by sending a link to my site first. I have ended conversations with my work. Once Tonka had to leave the room. Mind you, I’m not complaining, it’s a great filtering tool.

It is not art without a reaction. The answer to that timeless question, ‘is it art’?

So I have made a decision. I will embrace the darkness. And if you thought my work was ‘dark’ before…

This is the beginning…

I’m really good at not talking about my artwork.  I rarely ever want to share the intimate details of why I paint a specific piece, at times to my disadvantage.  I’ve always looked at artwork as a mystery for the viewer to dismantle, thus bringing their own experiences and convictions to develop meaning.   Then one day, Tonka told me ‘if you ever want to show your work, you are going to have to talk about it’.  Meh.

I had a ridiculously easy plan for this a few months back, but unfortunately, it didn’t pan out as I hoped.  I decided to make a Facebook ‘fan’ page where I would post new work, and the masses that loved it would provide their own commentaries and fuel a debate of what it is to be human.  My miscalculation was that anyone would voluntarily assume this role when me, the artist, wouldn’t even do it.

But yet I still don’t think we, as artists, should give away the mystery.  It seems that musicians can play this card famously to heightened interest and sales – we still flounder over Carole King’s object of desire (and you aren’t vein if you think a song that IS about you is… well… about you) and continuously postulate on what Lucy in the sky with diamonds is about.  But it seems us visual artists cant get away with that ‘i’m not going to tell’ strategy.

Ultimately, I know my work is challenging and highly personal, but all great art is.  And my fear becomes reality when I realize that most people don’t want to examine it. Though we never should be afraid to speak up and I offer this space here to share some thoughts beyond the miniscule Facebook posts.