Friday, 16 August 2013

Why am I an artist?

Why am I an artist? I don't know if I really have a good answer to that. A better question, at least to begin with, might be 'Do I want to be an artist?' It is a straight and yet hard question. I am pretty sure, most of the time, that I do indeed want to be an artist, although I don't know that I am always capable of being one. Certainly it does not feel as if I have been one for some time now, with my artistic life lying somewhat dormant.

Being an artist is about the only thing I can really remember ever wanting to be (other than a spaceman, which did not last far past the end of Return of the Jedi). I've been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. However, there is a world of difference between having an aptitude for something and being able to do it as a career. Being an artist is not simply about being able to create the work, and goodness knows that is enough of a challenge in itself. Being an artist is to be a small business, requiring a whole host of business-related activity, all whirring away behind the smiling face of the artist, or the works created.

It's a hard road to travel and one that pretty much requires an almost sociopathic level of self-belief and drive enough to circumnavigate the solar system. I exagerate, of course, nevertheless the point holds, in that self-belief and drive and essential. Without them, paintings, when they get made, build up slowly in storage and the world has no idea that they are there. Viscous negative cycles commence.

Once again, I am writing in the third person, but I am fooling no one. Why am I an artist? It's a good question. I'm going to need to think about this some more.

Friday, 9 August 2013

The Boundary

A few weeks ago I relaunched my Etsy shop, to showcase my new linocut prints of vintage cars. I decided after much deliberation to change the name of the shop from the rather prosaic Stewart's Shop to The Boundary.

Usually when naming things, I prefer something straightforward and descriptive, hence my earlier shop name. However, having decided that I wanted to brand my shop in a way that made it distinct from my fine art, clearly something different had to happen.

I settled on The Boundary because, to begin with, it is simply where I live: on the old boundary between Leith and Edinburgh. (For a long time these were separate towns, however as Edinburgh grew to a prosperous city after the Second World War, it swallowed up many surrounding communities.) Of course my physical location is not particularly relevant to an online shop, yet The Boundary handily also described something of what I do. Given that I create what some might call fine art as well as craft art, it does rather seem that standing with feet in both camps I am on a boundary.

With two reasons, then, and the fact that I like how the words The Boundary look, I settled on the name. Next, I'll need to try to generate some attention for my spanking new shop. That, however, is entirely another story…

Friday, 2 August 2013

Never the same one twice

I've had something akin to a recurring dream for many, many years now. The dreams don't come all that often – sometimes years can go by without one – and they don't come in the same form each time, however there is a common element in each of them. They are the kind of dream that sticks, that stays present in my consciousness once I have awoken, a message from the subconscious.

© 2010 Craig Munro & Stewart Bremner
The dreams are of aeroplanes, although never the same one twice. They always crash and I, on the ground below watching them, try to avoid being hit. Sometimes it is just the one plane, sometimes the sky is full of them. They crash and explode, past the horizon, in the city, in a river or a school.

It finally occurred to again today, after having another of these dreams last night, that it might be time to consider these dreams as material for my paintings. It has been a while since I last painted and at this point I need something to rekindle my painting fire. I've no idea if these dreams are it – for I cannot imagine how I abstract art and plane crashes could ever be brought together – nevertheless it is something to consider and that is better than nothing!