Mythologically the artist falls under the archetype of the trickster. Without their playful redirection and bending of cultural norms the joints that hold civilised society together start to become stiff. Tricksters are said to be 'hinge dwellers', they live at the point where two points join. In fact the word 'artist' shares it’s etymology with 'articulate', relating to an artisan carpenter who works with joints and hinges. This also corresponds to the articulation of new ideas through brand new forms and languages.
Like the ancient shaman of a tribal village the modern day artist must sit on the outer edges of society, observing and redigesting cultural normalities. One foot remains firmly planted in the civilised world: gallery shows, social media accounts, talking to collectors etc. But their other foot is planted very much outside of all this, in the wilds of another space entirely. Whether it be within the deepest recesses of the unconscious mind or amongst the strange objects of their reimagined realities, the artist is an explorer of uncharted territories.They are much needed translators of the wild languages that appear beyond our civilised perceptions.
Of course there are always those artists who stand too far out in those wilds, with the warm glow of the village far beyond their sight. Out there the obscure avant-garde artist may assume the figure of the shaman, but their abstruse aesthetics and ouroboric languages (I can play that game too ) merely act as masks to disguise the lack of skill that is needed to fulfil their role as an artist. Their work may stimulate the brain but invariably it fails to touch the heart.
Likewise there are artists who tread too safely in mainstream waters, never experiencing the chaos of the deep dark forest beyond the civil world. They're claws have been clipped. Instead they comfort themselves with the cliched parroting of Pop art banalities and superficially wading in the shallows of conceptual thinking. The art produced from this place is mere overblown decoration and never quite reaches the cathartic expression needed to really satiate the depths of a viewers soul.
Throughout my career I’ve made this in between space, between the civil and the wild, the area of my exploration. I've always tried to find that sweet spot, to straddle two opposing worlds. The conscious and unconscious, figurative and abstraction, creativity and business, conceptual and sensual. I'm sure I've failed many times and very much embodied the artistic characters I've outlined above at one time or another. But I've learned over the years, through exploring many aspects of this territory, that it's only by sitting with the paradox of both worlds, letting their inherent discord dance freely together, that I've found something of substance. It seems that the constant imbalance and lack of clarity in this liminal place is exactly where the beauty lies and where new ways of understanding the world can be created.