Monday, May 3, 2010

“My five year old could have done that!”

Art. It’s complicated. We all have our views on what is art and what’s not. And we all have our views about what’s good art and what’s not.

A lot of people don’t give art a chance, but here are some ways to give it a chance, to allow it to speak to us, some ways we can open our eyes and hearts and minds to all kinds of art.

Art can be simple, powerful, baffling, dumb, beautiful, complex, silly, funny, mystifying and serene. Just like the people around us.

And just like people – if we give art a chance we can gain a lot.

And just like people, we can’t help having an instant first impression – that’s ok. Don’t worry. That’s normal.

Go with that, and then use these three ways to give art a chance: Description, Analysis and Interpretation.

But first – here is one incredibly important handy hint that helps with understanding art ... Sneak up on it! – look at it sideways – surprise it from behind, if you can.

A surprised artwork will give up its secrets more easily than one that is approached head on with a swagger.


You’ve already snuck up on the art – it has shown you its face and you have had your first impression.

Take that first impression, give it a grin and pop it in your back pocket. Ask yourself some describing questions.

What do you see?

Has the artist used colour? What kind of colour? How many colours?

How has the medium been used? Roughly? Smoothly? Thoughtfully? Angrily?

Is the work textured? Hard? Soft? Does it make you want to touch it?

Are there lines? Shapes? Is it 2-dimensional? 3-dimensional?

Hold the answers to the description questions in the palm of your hand gently, lightly, as if you were holding a baby bird. Try not to drop them, you’ll need them later.

Next it’s time to do a bit of analysis. You’ll need to do a bit of fancy footwork while you’re asking these questions... step close to the art, shuffle away from it, nod your head knowingly, purse your lips.


Is your eye drawn to any particular area of the artwork?

Is there anything that stands out?

Is the composition balanced? Or unbalanced?

Does the work make you think of movement?

How does the artist show movement?

Is it flat or does it have a feeling of depth or space?

Where was the artist while the art was being made? Outside? In a studio? Stuck inside her head? Off his rocker?

You’ll be able to tell - the answers to these questions are more complex, they have demanded more of you, but they are certainly not the hardest questions you’ll have to ask this piece of art! That comes in the next section; interpretation....

But before you do that – stack the answers to your questions of analysis in a pyramid at your feet. They stand alone, and don’t need to feel your heartbeat.

So... Interpretation.

What kind of mood or feeling do you get from the painting?

If you could imagine yourself within the piece of art, how would you feel?

What sounds would you hear?

Why do you think the artist made this piece of art?

Does the title of the artwork give you any insight?

What part of the artwork do you think interested the artist most? Why?

Does the work have energy, wairua?

Does it resonate with you? Or repel you?

Is there a message in the art? Is it political?

Keep looking – stare even. Look through the art, meditate with it.

Take your time to come back to now. The answers to these questions are as light as feathers, and delicate – keep them out of the wind, keep them out of the rain.

Tuck them into your handbag, pick up the answers from the floor. Take the whole lot to the gallery cafe. Order a chai latte.

Lay your answers on the table – the descriptions, the analysis, the interpretation. Take your first impression out of your back pocket – put it on the table too.

With a studied pass of your hand, meld them together – contemplate, sip, mull.

That’s how you feel about this piece of art.

It’s become a friend. Perhaps...

Art. It’s complicated – but so are you, and in your complexity you have allowed this art to speak to you.

You have opened your eyes and heart and mind to art.

It’s unlikely your five year old could have done it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Just like Gender and Love from Plato's Symposium paying homage to Eros, the Greek god of love.

“According to the speech, long ago, humans were composed of two people stuck back-to-back, with two faces and eight limbs. Male-male humans came from the Sun, female-female humans from the Earth and male-female humans from the Moon. The gods, out of jealousy, split them in half. Now, throughout our lives, we are always trying to find our "other half", and sexual intercourse is the only means we have to put the two halves back together; this desire to be one person again is what we call "love". However, it is impossible to fully rejoin two people because it is our souls and not our bodies that most desire to be reunited”

This has a bit of a twang...

When the earth was still flat,
And the clouds made of fire,
And mountains stretched up to the sky,
Sometimes higher,
Folks roamed the earth
Like big rolling kegs.
They had two sets of arms.
They had two sets of legs.
They had two faces peering
Out of one giant head
So they could watch all around them
As they talked; while they read.
And they never knew nothing of love.
It was before the origin of love.

The origin of love

And there were three sexes then,
One that looked like two men
Glued up back to back,
Called the children of the sun.
And similar in shape and girth
Were the children of the earth.
They looked like two girls
Rolled up in one.
And the children of the moon
Looked like a fork shoved on a spoon.
They was part sun, part earth,
Part daughter, part son.

The origin of love.

Now the gods grew quite scared
Of our strength and defiance
And Thor said,
"I'm gonna kill them all
With my hammer,
Like I killed the giants."
But the Zeus said, "No,
You better let me
Use my lightning, like scissors,
Like I cut the legs off the whales
And dinosaurs into lizards."
Then he grabbed up some bolts
And he let out a laugh,
Said, "I'll split them right down the middle.
Gonna cut them right up in half."
And then storm clouds gathered above
Into great balls of fire

And then fire shot down
From the sky in bolts
Like shining blades
Of a knife.
And it ripped
Right through the flesh
Of the children of the sun
And the moon
And the earth.
And some Indian god
Sewed the wound up into a hole,
Pulled it round to our belly
To remind us of the price we pay.
And Osiris and the gods of the Nile
Gathered up a big storm
To blow a hurricane,
To scatter us away,
In a flood of wind and rain,
And a sea of tidal waves,
To wash us all away,
And if we don't behave
They'll cut us down again
And we'll be hopping around on one foot
And looking through one eye.

Last time I saw you
We had just split in two.
You was looking at me.
I was looking at you.
You had a way so familiar,
But I could not recognize,
Cause you had blood on your face;
I had blood in my eyes.
But I could swear by your expression
That the pain down in your soul
Was the same as the one down in mine.
That's the pain,
Cuts a straight line
Down through the heart,
We called it love.
So we wrapped our arms around each other,
Trying to shove ourselves back together.
We was making love,
Making love.
It was a cold dark evening,
Such a long time ago,
When by the mighty hand of Jove,
It was the sad story
How we became
Lonely two-legged creatures,
It's the story of
The origin of love.
That's the origin of love.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amanda Fucking Palmer on why she is not afraid to take your money!

Click the link below:

why i am not afraid to take your money by amanda fucking palmer

and a little bit of the lovely amanda as a treat for when you finish reading!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

kristmas knack!

And look! People's coffee! Live music! Arts and crafts!

Saturday 5th December
Berhampore School hall
Britomart Street (off Adelaide Road)

See you all there with your fat fat wallets - woop!