Saturday, 20 July 2013

Wherefore art thou, art?

Art, typically, is subject to interpretation. This question can also be. If Wherefore can mean Where is, then the question becomes Where is art? The colloquial answer is everywhere. However if Wherefore means Why – regarded by language xsperts as such – the question asked of art is Why are you art? Why is that art?

According to Wikipedia, “Commercial art is an outdated term for art created for commercial purposes, primarily advertising. Today, ‘graphic design’ and ‘advertising art’ are considered more contemporary terms.”

The picture above is that of Roy Jacobsen, the proprietor of The South Melbourne Market Grocer. If you note the signs bear a resemblance to the Tin Can-vas Series, that’s because Roy and partner Lynette liked the Tin Can-vas artworks and approached me to produce something similar as part of their plan to revitalize the stall and it’s promotions. The fact that the artwork has been designed for a commercial purpose can diminish what some would consider as true art, but tell that to the likes of Duchamp, Warhol, Koons & Co. who in their day have all had a hand in redefining what constitutes art.

To my thinking, producing something that can be appreciated beyond its intended function goes some way to define what art can be – a self-expression, an aesthetic, a form, a statement, a design that can be appreciated and considered on several levels.

The feedback for the market signs has been good. Roy and Lynette love them, and I’m pleased with the result. As the designer, I would have preferred the signs were the authentic tin and nails I use in my metal artworks, but practical and budgetary considerations of this brief necessitated prints onto Dibond (a coated aluminium material used in the signage industry). Nevertheless, perhaps years from now and after being soiled by grime and flyspecks, these signs may take on added character and have a life beyond their commercial purpose displayed in a boardroom or incorporated into an interior design, for no greater reason than it looks good in that space. And at the end of the day, that’s all the appreciation that is needed.