Chris Sutcliff

Artist Man I am

Archive for March, 2009

2nd Mar 2009

Why bother?

Interesting times. I would have quit watching the news ages ago if it hadn’t become such a strangely hypnotic mantra coloured by yet another Big Business Fat Cat going bust and resigning in shame, yet another member of the British Parliament abusing their expenses, yet another terrorist attack in spite of the wars we fund and then fight and then die in to curtail them. It’s a hypnotic mantra on panic. It seems that the media has been successful in at least one of its apparent agendas – to prepare the State for a hysterical reaction, to the point that we are now actively re-shaping our lives around these dramas instead of just vicariously watching them. Uncertainty is sinking in. More and more these days my friends and relatives talk about the global recession or the North Korean nuclear programme or some other doomsday construct. I find it steadily harder to remember what we used to talk about but I’m sure it was more comforting than that. If you can no longer switch off the TV to stem the tide of information, and the information in question is taxing the smile off your face, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little bit, well, impotent right now. We are all screaming into a hurricane, after all.

It was a few years ago when somebody first suggested to me that I put my art on a website. The problem with that brilliant idea is that I am technologically challenged in a way that I’m sure one day an expert will prove to be a disease. So at the suggestion of running a website I probably nodded approvingly, did that thing with my eyebrow that makes me look serious and then went straight to work hiding in a hole and pretending it wasn’t happening. I do that a lot. It may seem stupendously bad timing that just as I finally launch my site, I do so in a nerve-shredded world of collapsing financial markets, war, famine and a multitude of other venomous beasties. Who in their right mind right now is going to care about one little nobody standing on a chair and waving his arms just because he paints a bit? Now that I’ve written that, I don’t either.

Okay, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know when I say that Art probably won’t save the world. Unless you actually think it will, in which case good luck. Also I’m not Picasso, so my art probably won’t get seen by World Leaders or Bruce Willis and provoke them into saving the world for me. But being a ‘nobody’ does not mean you’re ineffective and not being big isn’t an incentive to stay small; in fact it can be a great strength. Whenever I show a new drawing to a friend, I hope first of all to get any kind of reaction, even better if they like it; I do have an ego to feed the same as you do. I also hope to temporarily lift them out of this world of implied futility, if only for a few seconds, to a state of being that has no cash value and that no agency can control, while they decide if they love it or hate it or if they get it or whatever. It’s a tiny offering with a big payback – precious few interesting seconds for someone so the end of the world can stop affecting them. Where they have space to react to a benevolent stimulus and enjoy a nice, free human response like wonder or imagination or pointing in my face and laughing. I’m not denying there’s some escapism here but this isn’t a mere distraction; it’s a reminder that not everything important has to terrify you. So I reckon it’s alright to do more drawings and show more people – a bit like taking on the world but just the tiny chunk that I am able to affect and without really getting off the settee. I’m one of four and a half billion little ‘nobodies’ all doing this little valid thing that will restore more seconds of humanity to a world that experts insist will explode at any moment.

Something like that anyway. I’m tired of screaming into the Hurricane and I’m pretty sure you are too. People repeatedly assure me that this site is a safe place. So you’re welcome here whenever you want.

by Chris
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