Saturday, December 14, 2013

Objects, and the Thingness of Them, etc.
Special Rum. Mixed media.

Two, related subjects: The importance of being bushwhacked, and the importance of a "thing".

First subject: I'm constantly sucker-punched by new art discoveries. I admit to then getting easily sidetracked. But it's a wonderful thing! This past year I was blindsided by some amazing still-life works by French artist Guillaume Mongenet*.

But as I wrote in my previous post, I've not been one to happily draw objects myself until recently. Mongenet's approach to objects is an example of what a creative person can do with them--taking them far beyond mundane studies.

An example: Lantern (used in Mongenet's catalogue above) now hangs in my studio. I was thankful it was still available. It is beyond visual; it is tactile, filled with spirit, and it inspires me to try harder.

Look at this detail of Mongenet's Lantern--gorgeously haunting. What use of mixed media, and what a cool treatment of Object!

Now I've also been recently blindsided by object art digitally created for video games. Many of those artworks are wonderfully rich, with the same appeal as the objects drawn for classic Disney animated films many years ago. Between Guillaume Mongenet's objects, and game-artist's objects, I'm hooked on making a bunch of my own.

Here is Special Rum, prior to the addition of color. I am enjoying drawing objects immensely.

Second subject: I thrive on actual objects. One-of-a-kind things; vintage objects with wear and tear and age have always attracted me, and art objects have the same attraction. Both types are things, but special things that enrich my living space and my life. For me, neither objects nor art need to be expensive or large--they simply have to have a soul.

Now I am not one to dismiss digital art, and never will. Art is art, period. I admire and am intrigued by so many great people who create amazing artworks via digital media.  But I will always want the "thing"--the one and only, made-by-hand, piece of art. So while I'm incredibly inspired and in awe of digital art, it could only sit there on my computer screen, or come to me as a print. And a print hasn't got that "thingness" that will breathe its spirit into me.
This view of Mongenet's Lantern gives you an idea; the achingly-marvelous, tactile surface of the original. No print can affect me like this--the real, handcrafted thing.
 You can accuse me of being elitist or a materialist. I don't think I am. Art is art--it doesn't need labels or corrals in order to be legitimate. But for me, the unique piece with the hand of the artist or craftsman stamped on it is essential.

*And check out more works of Guillaume Mongenet!

Thanks for the visit!


  1. Interesting post, Tom. I totally agree with your observations about the real thing. "Special Rum" is just wonderful!

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth--I am very glad you like the barrel. I hope I conveyed openness and not snobbery. I also hope that my belief in the soul within an object does not get me in trouble with the clerics :)


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