january FEATURED artist
ART IS A CONVERSATION
By Dustan Knight
I was just thinking that part of the very nature of art is a dialogue between the maker and the world around them. If you are an art lover like me you probably have a huge mental file of artwork and art facts that you draw on to make intelligent comparisons and gain insight - 'OHH that looks like a Jackson Pollock- look at the macho way he bullies the paint'.
As a working artist - my art conversation is a bit more extreme.
Do you remember when your mom would hurry you across the street away from the crazy lady talking to herself on the street corner - and how your older sister would roll her eyes when you started laughing over some private joke? - Talking to yourself was not encouraged - it was weird. Now its perfectly normal to see folks walking along- alone- having animated conversations with someone somewhere not there..and its hard to even see the microphones and air buds they are speaking into!
I love it because now I can chat away - to myself- and only feel a tiny bit odd.. In the studio I have very long winded conversations with myself. Often its a pep talk - when faced with a fresh canvas and a half remembered image from a late night thought - and a silent rivalry with someone very famous - Joan Michell or Elaine De Kooning for example - my emotions can run a little high- I need to encourage my creative self to take a chance - “give it a go” - “just take the biggest brush!” Sometimes its an argument - they go something like “ well you had to go and make that mark exactly like that other one - I thought we had discussed that - two circles anywhere near each other are going to make eyes..” “ good thing you caught that before you put it on facebook…” Sometimes its the ‘know it all ‘ critic - “ ahem I see you are channelling Walt Kuhn again - and not very well - do you remember the edges? the hot - cold temps”? And if you put another barn in I will scream”
Now that so many folks seems to be enjoying these solo chats my conversational personalities have escaped the studio and follow me and my telephone EVERYWHERE! Its great - I can just exclaim out loud - “this looks sensational” and no one bats an eye!
My solo conversation ‘voices' all know each other and often get into spirited arguments on their own - “ You can’t handle a canvas that big..I can- I remember seeing the Stella show last year at the Whitney with the big…It was before that three years ago.. yes - ooh and it was the black and white one in the center space on the third floor - was Caroline there did she take a photo - no we saw it in Art New England - you should call Linda from Art Scope - anyway I think the 48 x 60 “ is big enough - will it fit in the car?”
I know my inner dialogue sparks ideas and is so wide ranging the parameters of my artwork expand.
I usually end the conversation feeling better - maybe braver - maybe relieved.
Perhaps I should start signing my paintings- Knight and Co.