Art In Time of Overpopulation
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
I paint a picture in blue and yellow. No! It’s been done! How about something in green and orange? ‘Own technique!' It’s been done too! I know! I will do something that hasn’t yet been done! Maybe I should sculpt or make an installation! Oops! Too late! 1000 artists have already done something like it in the last month, 10,000 will do that in the near future. A million will think about it, but they will never do it because “it’s been done” ... Something I create today will be done in the future by a well-known and widely respected artist, but who will be accused of plagiarism retroactively? I will! So maybe I won't make anything? It’s hard to not make! It’s already been done (not done) in the seventies! So what to do? So what not to do? Search for answers? Wait for inspiration, or just show up in the studio every morning at seven o'clock, punch the card and make an impression of a busy artist? Perhaps something interesting will develop as a result of nagging pain and suffering? No one wants to suffer anymore. Pain can be quenched with therapy and medication. To survive, one must be smily, superficial, barely alive ... When I was a boy growing up in a small town, I was once inspired by a series of stamps in my neighbors' stamp collection. It was before the internet, ladies and gentlemen! The stamp was put into circulation in the early eighties in the Netherlands, on the occasion of Rembrandt's birth or death anniversary. To spend some time with Rembrandt, I had to knock on the neighbors’ door and ask “could I please take a look at the stamps again?” Today I opened my iPhone and searched for Turner, Friedrich, Corot, van Gogh. I looked at several Picassos. Small thumbnails flickered before my eyes. I was experiencing postage stamp sized art again! This time I conjured a true gold mine from underneath my fingertips! And yet Turner, Friedrich, Corot and van Gogh were slipping away somehow. Especially Picasso! It could be just the envy of a boring philistine, but I was always under the impression of excess when it came to Picasso. He simply made too much art, slept with too many women, ate and drank too much, lived too long ... Searching for pearls only makes sense if we are not buried under their weight. It is much harder to find the essence in excess. There is nothing to call my tired eye’s attention. I can see the vastness of the ocean but I can't focus my attention on individual drops. I can see the forest but I can't focus on a single tree. There is seven hundred channels on TV. Ads for miracle pills to cure EVERYTHING on all of them. I open Facebook. I like a million things but not a minute passes before I forget. What if I made something? Something small. Derivative even? Why not add one more body of work to the huge pile of already decomposing surplus of carcasses, of which there are so many that we would never see the Sun if we shot them all up into Earth's orbit! Toxins leaking from brushes rinsed in the sink end up in the streams and rivers, poisoning flora and sea creatures. No! I choose the sun! I choose tropical fish and coral reefs, butterflies, flowers and rainbows! Beauty existed long before our selfish desire to emerge in the local art world! It’s been said that true artists reflect the spirit of a current era sincerely and faithfully, that they undertake a dialogue with reality. Honesty and faithfulness tell me that it is time to stop creating, that it would be better to save all the reefs and fish and admire the eternal beauty that will soon die by our hands before our very eyes. Stop creating? I can’t stop. I paint a picture in blue and yellow.