tête-à-tête in the atelier

As a teacher of art I support my students to realise their aspirations, a simple enough notion.

Well, it ought be simple, but the students feel rattled as they unwrap the complex layers of the contemporary art industry.

We watch the art scene as it spasms convolutedly for all sorts of reasons.

In the art industry there are morality urgers and money bagmen for decors in commercial galleries, political swingers and left-of-centre academic obfuscators who spin to obscure the actual motivations of the creative types they support.

It appears to be about peddling of influence and making money, and, more importantly, it’s essentially about the drama to wrest control over taste and the flow of largesse for succor of favorites.

In the world of art today your independence and self-determination is anathema to those in centrally controlled mainstream paradigms.

Nebulous commentary by art critics who mangle the language to sound lofty doesn’t help the situation either.

Art should be straightforward and understandable, but often it confronts and is incomprehensibly obtuse. Read a few recent artists’ statements about their motivation and you’ll get my drift.

Why is that so?

One answer is that art requires provenance to be valued and loved. There are persons whom story tell art provenance interestingly for payment. Such stories are more entertaining when they attach a monetary value on the art in focus.

There’s little point trying to understand the gravitas of any one artwork without first inquiring after its value. It’s especially enjoyable to know how expensive art is in these days of centralized avarice.

Entire conversations are conducted upon value, the estimation of value, opinion regarding value and sales to establish marketplace values and new projections of anticipated value. Sometimes it’s the only conversation.

An artwork that is appreciated for its intrinsic enjoyment outside of its acquired worth hardly gets a rap. Enthusiasm is fueled by the prices obtained. Hardly anything else counts.

Yet in the teaching atelier the process to make art is discussed. Attempts at understanding technique are on a session-by-session basis.

To enjoy art and the making of art requires a brain adjustment to see the various ways of beholding art, to appreciate those issues that arise when you do learn to look anew.

A successful art view modification means that the asking price of art should be left outside the studio doors. Commercialization and creating do not mix.

Making art without placing a market value on it suddenly brings clarity to the discussions in the atelier.

For example, to talk about constructive adventures during Modernism is easier. You can talk about the discriminatory scathing Postmodernists of today too.

Currently in our Postmodernism era the Modernists get a bad wrap, yet students appreciate the art from the Modern epoch.

Living and working in the Tamar Valley they create art that brings out the feelings they enjoy within, rather then be told by someone from outside what they should appreciate.

The Tamar Valley with its river is especially suited for interpretation by Impressionism, a style of looking at light and how it plays out on objects found here.

Students ask for ways to get results and they choose Impressionism to achieve creative outcomes.

One particular extraordinary case concerns a young man finishing his fourth year at Art University. He came to see me to ask about my approach. He had been dissuaded at university where the professor lady said he was prostituting himself with his requests for solid foundation training which he felt he wasn’t getting. He was mortified and confused by her attitude.

I asked him if he was being paid to go to university or paying to go there. Then I asked him if the professor lady was paid to lecture him and was she paid to berate him, and if she received payment was she a prostitute?

You see it’s a Postmodernism construct to fabricate, to berate and to belittle those who aspire to better themselves and who show up others.

Postmodernists want to level playing fields and make an open push for the Marxist pedestrian of the average, to get you to question yourself and your world, to be less self-assured.

Postmodernism isn’t meant to be enjoyable; it’s meant to bring deleterious social comment, to denigrate and belittle in a paradigm where elitism and favoritism flourish for those who tow the line. Postmodernists manufacture issues for the average in society, to level everyone by accusation of political incorrectness. If you are white, protestant, heterosexual and intelligent you are a faulty personality and Postmodernists will attempt to marginalize you with volumes of diatribe.

Postmodernism shun dissenters to their views.

In contrast Modernism brought great minds and uplifting thoughts and wonderful art. Happening during times of great travail worldwide with new and powerful ideas like ethnic superiority and division the engine of Modernism chugged along in spite of all such wrenching conflict; indeed it was as if conflict fed the inspiration of generations.

To achieve peace of mind reject the Postmodernists, free up your inspiration and be in harmony with yourself. Enjoy art by opening your mind to grand views.

Seeking truths and solid art foundations means accomplishing creativity right here in the Tamar Valley.

To my students I say have a go because you will be a long time dead.

Now that is a transcendental state of being – a Post modernistic construct, er… deconstruct.

©Pieter Zaadstra – a tête-à-tête during the atelier session


Modernism is consistent and idealistic. It references classical sources for grand narratives with depth. You are on your own in this world so watch your back because you will be attacked and denigrated if you are good at art with clear writing skills. Modernism is marginalized today.

Postmodernism is all over the place and inconsistently relativistic. It sources popular references for multiple smaller narratives that are populist but random. This world belongs to the elite in our society who get to hand out cash from the public purse. A Postmodernism construct is to say what I just wrote the other way around. Neat trick isn’t it!

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