I think it’s fairly safe to say that I have a fairly shaky relationship with the art world. I am very uncomfortable with the word “artist” I’m not even sure what it means, I mean, I know I am one, but I couldn’t really tell you why. There are some things you just know, like who you love, or who you hate. Just what it art? Well according to Google it is “the expression or application of creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power” So how does conceptual art fit into that? Who defines what’s beautiful? What has emotional power? It’s all subjective, a baby being born, a goal being scored, Hitler’s Nuremberg rallies, a pair of new trainers fresh out of the box. They are all beautiful or emotionally charged to someone. Everything in art is subjective, this becomes more apparent when you look at the submission form for a contemporary art exhibition. There are spaces to describe your potential installation and time limits for the length of your sound. It was at this point I started to feel a little out of my depth and my attention drifted towards a bit of internet window shopping. It was at this point I spotted a rather fetching new hat in Maharishi’s January sale and it happened to cost the exact same amount of money as the show’s submission fee. Hmmm….! So cogs started a whirring… a rejection letter… or a new hat… I’d pretty much already made my mind up but I thought I’d get a bit of advice from my chums on Facebook. At first I was pleasantly surprised, there was lots of support, lots of “give it a go”. Truth be told, I was slightly disappointed, I really wanted that hat. So I’m pondering about what to submit, I wanted to enter the maximum five to get my money’s worth. When up pops this comment on Facebook. “Oh so now you’re interested in people. The rest of the time you’re telling us what a load of idiots we are lol” Now I have to admit I was really hurt by this, I’m not the strongest person at the best of times, and things really do get to me. Particularly when they are so untrue. Now I won’t lie, I do fire off the occasional broadside at people. That said, you have to do something pretty bad to get a slating from me, being a tory minister, a mass murdering New Labour Prime Minister or an atos employee will usually do the trick. But think everyone’s an idiot? W.T.F??? Now I wouldn’t have minded so much if it was attached to one of my many rants about the government, but this one was attached to the end of a really positive thread. So I’m scratching my head trying to work out what all this was about. I managed to piss a few people off a while back with my views on camping (don’t like it!) Was it to do with that? It turns out not but more of that later. There was a “lol” at the end but does that change the intention? Let’s see “I hope you die of something horrible! lol!” is that funny? Not really. So as my world came crashing down around me (I suffer from clinical depression by the way) I took myself off of Facebook and took to my bed for a day. I suffered, my girlfriend suffered, my friends suffered and my family suffered. All because one spiteful person wanted to take their frustration out on someone. Now one of the problems with mental illness is that you constantly question your reactions. Was that reasonable? Did I imagine that? Am I overreacting? You become filled with doubts until you don’t know your own mind any more. I sat and thought about my past interactions with this person, who I barely knew and who barely knew me. When was the last time she liked one of my posts? As far as I can remember never. Had she done anything like this before? Well, she had left a comment to the effect that I was only happy when I was moaning. I was moaning at that point, true. But always? Hardly! Now, I’m not going to blow my own trumpet but I think I do quite a bit of good in the world. I think her comments say more about what she takes notice of than anything about me as a person. So I was pretty sure this wasn’t me losing the plot. After losing a day I figured that I needed to do something with this, to reclaim the situation for myself. So I though, “Sod it! I’ll buy the hat, paint myself in it and submit it for the show” Turn the whole thing into a performance art piece. Result! So I did. I ordered the hat, got myself back on Facebook, blocked said person and got on with my day. Now it turns out that the person in question took umbrage at my blocking her and preceded to gloat about it on her fb page, something which gave me a deal of satisfaction as it proved that I wasn’t going mad and that she was indeed out to get me. Later, I found out why. Now apparently she took offence to a comment I made on New Year’s Eve wishing everyone good luck with their hangovers the following day. Apparently she felt that I was taking a sideswipe at everyone involved with a local New Year’s Eve bash that she helped organise. Eh? How did she work that out? Does she assume herself and one New Year’s Eve bash so important that I need to rail against her incandescent wonders? Hardly! It’s a big old world out there and I know an awful lot of people far outside the seaside town where I live and which I love. Truth be told, I don’t really care what anyone does on NYE or any other night of the year. I am dyspraxic, dyslexic and I suffer from anxiety and clinical depression. When anyone wants me to go to a party of any kind I have a stock answer. “Why not just stick a metal dustbin over my head and hit it repeatedly with a plank of wood? It would be cheaper and I wouldn’t need to get dressed up for it.” Harsh but true. So anyway, determined to claim my life back, I got the hat, painted myself in the hat and now I’m filling in the form as part of the submission process. I spent last night attempting to create an artist’s statement. What’s that all about? It is not enough to make art (whatever that is) but now I have to say why I do it. It seems to me like those Miss World speeches in the bad old days of the seventies when women who’s breast were trying to escape from a too small swimming costume would explain how they wanted to help sick children or animals in the developing world. I think I’m almost there now, my girlfriend described the result as the final nail in the coffin of my art career, so job done! Anyway, whether I get accepted or not, this is not the end of the story. If I get let through the door I will tell you what will happen next. If not, I have something else up my sleeve. But whatever happens, the whole thing is a thing, Carl Andre couldn’t have done better.
If you want to get some hate, get a hat. (or at least think about it)