| I happen to agree with you, But do understand that "Beauty is
| in the eye of the Beholder"
I agree, and thank heaven that it is. I'm glad there are people who
appreciate what I create, and I'm glad that there are people who create
things I can appreciate.
| A lot of what is called great art today was not in its day, it
| has to stand the test of time to realy be called art.
In a certain sense I agree with this, but I can't fully. I suppose it
matters whether one's personal definition of art requires a critical mass of
appreciation substantial enough to ensure survival. True, in art collection
circles one generally holds on to an obscure piece in the hope it will
eventually become widely appreciated. But for my purposes, as both a
producer and consumer of art, there is a much more personal aspect to art.
To qualify as art for me, something merely has to have an aesthetic
component. Something has to appeal to the senses in a way that provokes an
emotional response. Now there are certainly many things -- a Gaugin, for
example -- that have nothing but an aesthetic intention. And there are
things at the other end of the spectrum, such as architecture, in which we
typically allow the functional aspect to dominate.
I'm in a "small clock" phase right now. The project plans for those are
easy: Get a hunk of interesting wood, render it into an interesting shape,
create an interesting and complimentary finish, gouge out an
appropriately-sized hole with a Forstner, and tap in the pre-manufactured
clock insert. The function of the clock is provided almost exclusively by
the assembly provided by someone else; all I've done is arrange for that to
be held at an appropriate height and angle.
Now there's an ulterior motive to that phase. As I posted some weeks ago,
I'm trying to get finishing experience using techniques I've not previously
tried. This lets me do that for a minimum of expense and effort, with the
off chance that someone might actually be interested in the final product.
My most eye-grabbing effort to date is simply what happened when I attacked
a chunk of highly figured maple with a band saw, without even attempting to
think of a design first. It looks like something from Dr. Seuss, and
honestly it's not something I'd be proud to put on my own mantle, but a
couple of people have complimented me on it.
Let's see, I had a point here. Where was it?
Oh, yes. Art can certainly be appreciated in its own time, as art. The
reason I want to emphasize this is because I don't particularly like the
implications of defining art in terms of widespread popular appeal. If you
follow that, you get art that is unoffensive, bland, and ultimately
unappealing. I believe -- and maybe it's just me -- that the only art that
truly has the ability to soar is art that also has the ability to really
make you retch.
I grew up in a family of architects. A couple of years ago I was performing
a musical work in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles and so had
the opportunity to see the celebrated Frank Gehry design for Disney's
theater going up across the street. Architects are polarized about Gehry.
They either really like him or really hate him. His stuff is bold -- it
you either like it or hate it. I think most artists would rather
hear that their stuff is unappealing than to hear that it's "interesting".
Where was that point again?
I'm looking at Krenov's stuff now. Some of it I like. Some of it I really
hate. And if I saw him to his face, I'd tell him what I like and what I
don't like. I'm sure there are people who love ever splinter that has come
out of his shop, just as sure as I am that there are people who don't care
about anything he's built. That's exactly as it should be.
You can build "safe" furniture or objets d'art according to an aesthetic
which ensures popularity -- either in the here and now or according to a
hundred-year-old tradition -- and you can be reasonably sure that your work
will be well received. And if there is a business aspect to what you do,
that may be very important. But *if*
you're going to pursue woodworking as
an art, then what you create has to be what you feel passionate about. Even
if only one other person in the universe appreciates you for it.