Art as process

I often talk about Art, I’m not an Artist even if other people arbitrarily assign that identifier.  I prefer to say that “I make stuff”.  Stuff, that isn’t important to me.  It’s not the thing I make, it’s the process of making it that I enjoy.  I’m capable of all the mediums and whether I’m ‘good’ at any of them enters the debate: Is ‘Art’ mastering a craft?  I don’t think it is but there’s plenty of disagreement to be had.   I often use ‘Artist’ very tongue-in-cheek, a way to mock the way Art is treated and defined.   Maybe I just never outgrew that child-like quality about it.  You grab your crayons and start scribbling away, when you’re finished maybe you say “Look what I made Ma!” and then completely forget about it and move on to the next thing.   Art is serious business!

When I was in high school I took some art classes as electives for the easy credits.  Man, talk about taking all the fun out of making stuff.  Art History, and Art Technique, that’s all it was.  One of my drawings ended up awarded and hung in the Library.  It wasn’t for me, or the student body for that matter, it was really for the teacher to say “My Pride, Look What I have Taught!”  It was pretty much a stolen piece.  When I asked for it back, I was told that the piece would remain in the Library.  It was pretty lame and it attributes to my attitude about Art in general as well as discerning learning from education.  I did end up stealing the thing back and burning it in a bonfire.  Fuck all that noise.    It’s not the first time I’ve destroyed what I make, and it certainly won’t be the last.

The concept of process gives other creative people reason to buck.  They’re ‘Artists’ and that’s pretty important to them.  Never has been for me.  Running tandem is the idea that in order to qualify as ‘Artist’ it’s your life’s work.  Work?  Isn’t that a process?   Other artsty types would hate to think of what they do as a procedure. It’s too mechanical or it’s just not special enough.  It doesn’t stand out. It doesn’t increase the value of their craft.

Some think of it in terms of a ritual object, or a carrier of a person’s essence.  It’s their very own unique fingerprint on the thing.  Painting, drawing, sculpting, et. al is a craft and what makes it ‘Art’ is the shift in perception it causes, in other words the effect it has on the viewer.  It would seem that the object requires a viewer and measured results in terms of impact to make it ‘Art’.

The need to create is like an itch to scratch.  Other people describe it as a vehicle for an overfill of emotion.  It accounts for the outcome of what is made.  It’s the opposite for me.  I don’t need to feel anything particular to create, only the impulse to make something drives it.  It’s during the process that my mind wanders, it can often be quieted, which can be a relief. It’s a busy little thing that never shuts up.  Maybe it even invokes an emotional response.  I never really know until I’m engulfed in it.  Can’t say I’ve ever cried or have been consumed by joy.  It’s just play time.

Recently I was trying to decide what to do with all my left-over bead stock from other projects.  Acrylic Beads are cheap and light and I had quite a bit on hand.  I thought about melting them down to make sculptures, I wasn’t really sure so I started researching for Do-it Yourself projects using beads.  I came across a kid’s project that reminded me of when I was a child and would melt crayons on my light-bright bulb to make wax drip paintings and melt the pegs to make abstract 2-D designs.  Just melt them in a pan and make sun-catchers,  easy!  Why didn’t I think of that?  Is it because I have no genius of my own?

Even if thousands of other people have melted down beads and made sun-catchers from them,  every person’s go if it will be different and somewhat unique.  Uniformity tends to occur over time when anything becomes trendy.  Even as a painter, the subject of the painting can be found across styles and eras.  A flower. A piece of Fruit.  A portrait.  Not exactly unique.  It’s the way the flower is painted that may make it stand out from the thousands of other painted flowers.  I guess that’s the idea when people talk about painting as a carrier of expression and unique marks.

Embarking on the project was fairly simple. Collect all your supplies, throw shit against a wall and see what sticks.  In my case, I figured out pretty quick that some beads don’t melt as well as others, and some require different temperatures to liquefy.  I had all these really big ideas about what to embed into the plastic but what came out of the oven wasn’t what I expected.  I sorted beads by type and narrowed down which were ideal for the thing I wanted to make.  Process. 

Aside from using up bead-stock, I also wanted to hang something different on my kitchen wall.  A dozen different things (including some of my paintings) had been there and I was never really happy with the aesthetic of it.  As a result there’s a dozen or so small nail holes in the wall and I didn’t feel like filling them or painting the wall to smooth it out.  I really hate to house paint.

Acrylic will melt at 400 degrees but it also smokes and stinks up the whole house.  This procedure occupied my mind and my space.  Once I got the hang of the mechanics, I was just aiming for a decent flow of light and dark pigments that would blend in with my color scheme. Maybe that’s the ‘Art’ part, who knows.  People can argue about that if they desire, I just like to experiment and make stuff.

I used up all the stock I had and even went out and bought a few bags to fill in gaps of space.  I was using some old pie pans I was going to get rid of anyway but it required a lot of beads to fill in and complete the round shape I was after.   The idea was to get rid of beads but I was enjoying myself so I bought some more.  Just to melt and hang on the wall.  Ooo la la, I must be an Artist! 

Each set (I baked 2 at a time) took about 20 mins so after about 4 or 5, I was about done with the whole operation.  I aired out the house, boiled some cinnamon essential oil for the smell and picked it back up the following weekend.  I kept about a dozen for myself and gave (3) away to a friend as a gift.   I took a few photos, I also like to look at things I make through photography.  The mind plays tricks on you and you can think something is so friggin’ great when you have it before you then look at a picture and think it sucks.  I don’t know that it’s the photo that alters my perception but rather just gives me another angle to view it from.

 

 

I often feel that way about the way I apply make-up, or how some clothing isn’t all that flattering to my figure.  What was I thinking?  Or, more accurately, What was I seeing?  Hamhocks for days… That’s what but fuck it, I still like leggings and finger paint.

 

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November 29,2015:

 

Last couple of days I’ve been messing around with charcoal.  Talk about process.  Shit just keeps getting weirder and weirder.  It’s not finished, it’s a work in progress… Not sure where I’m going with this but it’s been interesting.

 

SIN JONES

 

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Too offensive for the public… Dead Baby Dolls

IMG_2446This doll was deemed too offensive to the public. It was too lifelike, too morbid and too “real”. Nevermind that it’s a miniature doll, or that Vampire and Zombie infants were completely acceptable at a public Library event called “Monster Fest”.

Mothers that have lost infants in childbirth were offended and I was asked to remove it from my vending table. Once again the question is asked: “Is Art Satanic?”

My little art doll sure was a topic of provocation, do I stay or do I go? Why continue to support an event that has an unspoken criteria of acceptable items? A library is full of information arcane and yet, when that knowledge is portrayed through material objects, it’s too offensive to know. Go figure.

October is a strange month, it’s a time for hallmark holiday fare and a time to react to figments of one’s own imagination. It used to just be the 8th month on the Roman calendar (mensis-months) then by the late 16th century, menses was adopted to describe the crisis of Women during menstruation. Sounds legit.

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The baby doll itself is thought to be a ritual object. To little girls everywhere, it was a Mother’s way of teaching their daughters how to nurture to later become Mothers. If she mistreated her doll, it gave Mothers opportunity to correct the child’s behavior. While imagination is taken into account, I doubt the things imagined ever were, at least not in any real meaningful way. The battery of tortured dolls found in every household or garbage bin should demonstrate that dolls are objects to project upon.

I’ve never played with dolls in a traditional sense, they’ve always just represented intent. When I was given my first baby-doll, even then I knew it wasn’t really for me to have a doll to play with. It was a replica of that idea and like any poor emanation it tends to deteriorate over time. I received a doll just like the girl next door, not because I wanted it but because “I” was to be just like the neighbor’s child. Watched-over to determine if that intent would thereby be projected upon me.

I observed the girl next door for cues and wondered why I didn’t actually believe this was a “real” baby like she seemed to. Why, I asked myself, did pretending to put a doll to bed, change its diaper or rock it back and forth feel stupid and acting. Who was the act for?

If you’re caught not playing with your dolls like you should, you’re faced with demands and projected guilt: “Why aren’t you playing with that doll I bought you? You know, I spent a lot of money on it, it’s a collector’s item!”

What’s a little girl to do? Meet expectations, play-act to satisfy the demand, or collect ritual objects?

For me it was the latter, which is why I don’t know that I qualify as a doll-collector.

When I see a discarded doll at a yard sale or thrift that catches my eye, I feel impelled to alter it. They don’t all end up like this, mostly they end up collected but changed in some manner, whether literally or metaphorically.

I do like dolls, some even make me giggle, like that little fat fucker that sits atop a kitchen shelf. The epitome of too much “Mangia!”

IMG_2444Perhaps even the mass produced doll is art, it does provoke me to project my ideas upon it (maybe even some paint). Art, some say, is magic and that every manifestation of it is a ritual object. If it can manage to alter your perception then it qualifies as authentic.

I’ve decided to keep this one and continue to contemplate whether it’s an art doll or just causality having been provoked by it.

SIN JONES

None of Your Concern

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Art is to console those who are broken by life.” Vincent Van Gogh

It never has been for me.  I don’t need to be consoled for enduring Life.  I create when I feel inspired to express myself in various mediums.  I enjoy the process more than what I produce.  I’ve never understood why people follow what they call ‘Art Legends’, these are just people.  People that expressed something in such a way that it birthed a form.  Ok fine.  These forms then go on to be made part of what we now call ‘Art History’, which is kind of weird when you think about it.  From the very beginning, man has expressed the things he experiences with all the senses.  Whether that’s Prehistoric Cave Art or the work of Van Gogh.  Why do people become fans of the Artist then go on to call them Legendary?  Your average person couldn’t spot a Van Gogh painting beyond Starry Night or The Scream but may be so familiar with his ‘Ear Story‘ that’s what makes the ‘Art’ legendary.  Not to say that the object itself isn’t fascinating on its own Merits but how much the Art is worth is often driven by the Legend.  Case in point, Van Gogh’s painting sky-rocketed in value after a tribute to his death.  Was it his legend or his Art that drove the market price?   Back in the 19th century he had his fans, collectors and even critics.  Why? Perhaps an attraction to an odd sort of man painting in a fashion that stood out from the rest of nameless, faceless painters.  The Royal Tribute he received wasn’t even until the 20th century, it could be argued that people become so enamoured by those that stand out, they are so often missed and have to come to terms with no future productions and/or personal relations with them.

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my ‘Art’ whatever people think that is.  I sometimes take Commissions for props and post  the final results that people have become so accustomed to seeing these things, when they don’t, it’s like I’ve stopped making ‘Art’.  It leads me to believe that some people perceive my ‘Art’ as these things I make.  They wouldn’t consider my spoken word or photography pieces to be part of that ideal.  Weird right?  It is to me at least.  Maybe you agree, maybe you have your own ideas about what Art is.  Added to this is the projection of what people believe I should be doing with or for my ‘Art’.  That old mantra “It’s Every Starving Artist’s Dream to Become Legendary!” puts you square with it.  It’s never been my dream, people don’t really ask me that anyway?  Rarely if ever do I hear:  “Sin Jones, what is your Dream?”

Why?  Well because people don’t really care about that.  I’ve been providing content on the Internet for the better part of 25 years and I guess I’ve built a fanbase that has come to expect certain things from me.  I guess they think I do it for them?  I can’t be sure but I can certainly cast my speculations.   I do all of this for ME.  When will it all end?  I can’t say but I’m sure in the not too distant future all of this stuff will be gone from your sight and I’ll be long forgotten.  Did Vincent Van Gogh set his sights on becoming a Legend?  I can speculate based on this single quote that perhaps he found consolation in the Art he produced.  Or, could it be that he too just enjoyed the process.  What goes on in your head when you are creating things can be all over the map but the map is not the territory.  I no more dwell on the map than I do the destination.  Why should I?  Certainly not to meet the expectations of fans of my Work.  What is my Work anyway?  Do you know?  Do you care?  These are rhetorical questions that need no answer; so don’t bother.  Don’t be so bothered by my lack of entertaining content.  I’m just another Person.

I don’t know that I stand out from the Mass, I do know that these are not my concerns.

Sin Jones

The Merits of Artificiality

“I find greater companionship in inert figures, animals and speechless artifacts, for I can enjoy their presence and there is no psychic drain. In fact, by their very stimulation in accordance with my tailored ideals, they provide me with not only entertainment, but food for thought.” – Anton LaVey

Creative people create not just with their hands but the landscapes of our minds.  What is art after all but taking ordinary things and making them extraordinary?  Art alters your perception of the mundane and involves a specific talent.  An ability to rearrange matter to present something slightly new.  Art is a technology.  It’s a process as much as it is an end product.  My views about Art are often in flux with most artists.  Am I an Artist?  If it requires that I fit into a die-cast mold fabricated by the Art Industry, then NO, I have never been that. 

Consider for a moment how one’s perception may be altered by simply adding an identifier:  Satanist.

Have I somehow been transformed into a new creature?

Have I become something that I wasn’t already?

How can such a technology alter perception so profoundly?

As human beings we form relationships, not just with other people but with technology.   Artificiality stands on its own merits.   For example, when I read these words written by Anton LaVey, my relationship is with these symbols strung together to mediate an understanding.  It doesn’t much matter to me if I am able to forge an interpersonal relationship with the author.    What matters to me, is my ability to muse with the technology.   The same is true for relationships forged with forms and the emotionality it invokes.  If an identity-pin can provoke another to make specific correlations, alter their perception, and take actions because of them then surely it’s a technology.   At the very least, it’s applied practical knowledge; a talent.

Typically, when people think of Artificial Companions, they tend to envision androids, or any other suitable substitute for a human being.    Anything can be your companion.  Anton LaVey articulated a practice I was already using yet I didn’t quite have the words to describe it in my youth.  So, you can imagine my surprise when picking up a copy of The Devil’s Notebook and finding the subject explored so matter-of-factly, that I was like YES, exactly that!  What LaVey eloquently stated was in essence, our ability to be self-aware, and deliberately seek out pleasures through discovery and of our own devising.

“Artificiality is a natural and often superior development of intelligent life. Artificiality is more than completely honest; it forestalls disappointment at a thing not being what they appear to be. If you know something is phony from the outset, your imagination can make it as real as needs be. But it does require imagination. Believe it or not, everybody has imagination to some degree. Granted, it doesn’t take much imagination to be fooled, either by yourself or someone else. But imagination is taken into the realm of creativity when you infuse the unreal with a reality which will be satisfying.”

– Anton LaVey

I often sit in awe of people who can not forge a relationship with self first and appear to be co-dependent on other human beings for companionship.  I have always forge relationships with various mediums whether it be the written word, paint, music, dance and the like makes no difference and  I spend a great deal of time in solitude in relation to the amount of time I spend socializing with others.  It’s not for a lack of ability, it’s a lack of interest.  I don’t need it but I do have needs.  Sex for example would become rather bland if I didn’t explore and experience it with another living, breathing… Person.

What I don’t need is long-term attachments to other people.  I use the term ‘Disposable People’  so frequently that it may require a bit of an explanation to clarify what I mean by that.  People, in general, are disposable to me, in that there are so many to encounter, experience and use for what ever needs you have I see no need to get so deeply invested in particular people.  If I feel like socializing, I can collect a few people for that purpose and scrap the lot without batting an eye-lash.  They can be complete strangers and it serve my purposes.  I’ve never had trouble interacting with people and I’d consider myself a modern woman who just takes advantage of all the goods and services available to me.  From a Sociological stand-point, the shift from ‘traditional’ to ‘artificial’ is merely approach.

Traditionally, if you want to meet someone new people tend to go to social events, bars, or wait to be introduced by a mutual friend (just a few examples).

Artificially, I’m more inclined to cruise a site such as Craigslist.

I think that the more we advance in a technological age, the more the scales shift and ‘traditional’ becomes more ambiguous.   Intimacy is merely the level by which you become familiar.  I have an intimate relationship with my surroundings, thus I spend a great deal of time constructing and de-constructing complete environments to fulfill my desires.   My life is never boring, or bears a hole that requires filling.    I also don’t shoulder the responsibility of wants and desires of other people.  I don’t feel obligated to satisfy them.

“Androids can be created, programmed and utilized exactly according to the master’s whims. They require no energy-consuming interaction in order to salve a non-existent ego. Yet even the semblance of an ego can be built into an android via actions and words — but always according to the Maker’s requirements. They can be shelved when they grow tiresome, brought back out when needed, modified in appearance, and destroyed without moral conscience. They are ideal companions.” – Anton LaVey

Much like disposable people.    Do robots know they are robots?

 

 

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