Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Just a thought on art…

Remember my pumpkin? The one I spent hours carving just a couple of weeks ago for Halloween? Well here he is this morning just before I scooped him up into a plastic bag and dropped him into the bin ready for the bin men to cart away. May he sleep in peace.

That’s the thing with vegetable art, it isn’t permanent. Not that I mind, I actually like the impermanence. That’s why I make my beach creatures. I spend hours making them only for them to be washed away by the next high tide. I don’t mind. You see, the fun is in the creating and not in the creation itself. Once it’s done, it’s done for me. I’m not saying that I don’t care if my work self destructs or disappears but maybe in many ways it’s better that it does.

I was once wandering around the Museum of Art in Philadelphia. They have a great collection of surrealist paintings, a Breugel, Van Goghs, all the Impressionists, Whistler, Warhol - everything really. I was standing looking at a Dali (‘agnostic symbol’- a strange, dark, painting of an elongated spoon) and the man standing next to me started telling his wife (probably his wife) that it was worth blah, blah, blah, million dollars. He then moved along to the next painting (an Ernst) and did the same, then the next (Tanguy. Yes, I was in the surrealist gallery – where else would I be?), then the next, and the next, and the next.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m not interested in the monetary value of a piece of art, but surely that isn’t the only way of judging its value - and who was that said ‘a man who knows the price of everything, knows the value of nothing’ – or at least words to that effect?

Maybe if all art was less permanent, more transient, made not to last and instead made to decompose, we might appreciate it for its real value rather than some dollar value that someone has somehow attached to it. I’m sure that Breugel didn’t paint ‘the fight between carnival and lent’ thinking that one day somebody would pay thirty million dollars for his picture.

Art is about more than money.

Just a thought, and probably not one that Andy Warhol or Damien Hirst would share.


  1. I have a painting of some trees. The shadows go the wrong way. It took me almost three years to figure that out. Five years on and I'm still looking to see what else I might have missed.
    (It was Wilde, by the way, but then again it almost always is)
    In honour of the slowing drying fairie in your snow globe I am planting periwinkle next to my herb garden

  2. Philip Morgan commented on Facebook:

    Very very true Andy, good post.

  3. Della Jayne Roberts commented on Facebook:

    We went to the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) Canberra last weekend. They have a Freud that they paid $7 million for ..... quite a depressing painting to look at ... a supposedly gay son and others on a bed (painted in the likeness of a Cezanne?) ... Like you said ... I know what I like and what I don't like and sometimes I can't see why people pay the exorbitant prices that they ask :O)

  4. Andy Lloyd commented on Facebook:

    More beach creatures please. Is that a new one or from the archives?

    Article from MoneyWeek-

  5. Philip Morgan commented on Facebook:

    I love your beach creatures - they need to go in their own Gallery Andy.

  6. Steve Bishop commented on Facebook:

    In the bin ?????
    Recycling mate !!!

  7. Joan Dixon commented on Facebook:

    Or better still, composting.

  8. Lissa Tam commented on Facebook:

    toast the pumpkin seeds!! x

  9. Normally I would compost. But it was raining. I did toast the pumpkin seeds and they were delicious. And I shall be making more beach creatures - I may even post an album on Facebook

  10. I had also intended to record my decayed Jack but Mrs Mac fed it to the chickens. His teeth had turned into a dry lipped gummy smile which gave him a little more menace. Ah well, try again next year.

  11. Good idea the chicken thing.

  12. Alan Spence e-mailed

    Hi Andrew, how could you do that. You created a beautiful monster yet you did not completely destroy it. You shirked your responsibilities as it's creator. Forget the notion that a half dead pumpkin in a smelly bin can be of an intrinsic artistic value. Worry instead of your own guilty artistic failings in this very sad affair.
    Think about what might have been under heaven if you had only treated it as a beautiful, joyess soul just waiting to enrich your life, after all you made it. And beauty should be in the hands of the creator,