Why is painting important?
I hope that painting, and art in general, still has a spiritually healing, uplifting, encouraging role for all people. I totally, and completely reject the elitist attitudes, dumb theories, and self absorbed ideas of modern and contemporary art. I agree with De Kooning that; “artists don’t tend to have very good ideas.” I like some of the work a bit, some a great deal, (particularly Dekooning, Pollock, Johns, Rauschenburg, & Diebenkorn) despite the incredibly concieted numbskull’s who wrote about them. But for me, a few years ago, I needed a complete change. Why is another story, for another place.
Why keep painting?
Sometimes in a tempting dream, paintings become transparent hypercube containers, crystal boxes that echo the resonant inward texture of rare still moments. The gigantic human hyper-nest anthills are pleasantly far away. Looking longer, the techno-shroud of comfort evaporates in a suspended bit of time. And then, then you are truly alone, alone before the simple clear majesty of creation. The beaten paths of our working lives only incidental marks, suspended alone in the silent knowledge of our own insignificance. The melancholy itch to rebel whispers your secret desire to descend into madness as the will to resist wanes. Only then the gift of living lifts us up and our tread is light once more.
Hurry. Move on. Wake up. Walk a little faster. Turn up the volume. Make a call. Drive on. Buy something. Do something. Say anything… breathe deep, ah-h-h, there you are… your back. Silly fool, it’s just another little painting safe to ignore. You think too much. Look too hard. This is just a dream.
Besides… it’s what I do.
Why am I painting landscapes and figurative paintings?
After decades of working as a carpenter, and now as a part time trash man, part time art instructor I know we as artists have failed everyday people like my friends & myself. Once, art was for me a potential means of rising above, and possibly out of my bluecollar backround. Now it is a means to repay the debt I owe to all those who taught me so much more outside the class room.
High art is too often a suckling pig at the teat of an elitist, moneyed, and self absorbed few. Leaving almost all of the remaining billions to swing low. There are well known, even famous artists now who reach out to ordinary people, and writers who think about and write about them. In the end they are reaching down from their high perch to help the less fortunate. Their hands remain smooth & clean. Mine have been rough & often dirty for a long, long time. It is a perspective that has been earned. Dues that are paid in sweat, cut fingers, broken bones, harsh humor, sore muscles, hard laughter and true physical labor side by side, day upon day with good friends.
My Goal as an Artist:
Being middle aged it’s amazing to think about how much has changed, and how little is truly different. My goal as an artist is the same as it was when I was twenty, to be the third great artist from the State of Missouri. T.H. Benton, and G. C. Bingham being the first two. Well OK I set a fairly high mark even an arrogant one, to measure myself by, it is just a goal so don’t get too excited, I’m closer now than I was… I do know this: I’ll never know for certain if I have achieved that goal outwardly, but I’ll know for myself inwardly how far I’ve come.
Floyd Anthony Alsbach