Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

Panorama view of exhibition in Jedlitschka Gallery, Zurich.

23 May 2012

Brandl: Experience as the Foundation for Art: "If you've paid for it, it's yours."



One point I feel I have to make regularly to young artists might also be of interest to others.

As several readers may know, one of my "Sharkpack" points has always been to emphasize to individuals that you are responsible as an artist --- for your career as Paul Klein demands, for your belief in yourself and your own criticality as Wesley Kimler emphasizes --- and my most well-known point, you are responsible for your own thoughts, your own theoretical inspirations your own interpretation of history. As part of that, I have a saying: "If you've paid for it, it's yours."

I don't mean that monetarily, but experientially. In the sense that Blues musicians so accurately speak of "paying your dues." If you have paid them, then what derives from them is yours. Don't believe any of this "you can't do this or that now" --- everything has already been done, in a certain sense, yet NOTHING has been done in YOUR way yet. Make it personal and its yours. Even worse than "that can't be done now" are the proscriptive, veiled, commands like "you as an artist must do what is current" or however the clich├ęd statements go. That is an appeal to fashion in the worst sense. If you try to "be with it" you will always be one step behind, anyway. Do better. Make it personal. Then it will always be current, YOUR current, and interesting to others. We humans are always interested in real human expressions of what it is to be alive. Take for your own life, what you have paid your dues for. Personal experience is the foundation of all true expression. (Note: I do not mean nostalgia in any way --- that is believing some specific point in the past was the only worthwhile thing and dreaming about it sentimentally. I mean a real use of what you have, what knowledge (in all senses) you have inherited, worked through, lived through. "If you've paid for it, it's yours." And it will in many ways be unique to you.