What Nicola taught me about art.

I am not sure if it because of my lack of artistic skills or because of the stereotyping of artists or perhaps it’s my own driven, activist temperament, but the last thing I would call myself is an artist.

About 30 years ago Christine and I went to the Louvre in Paris and saw the paintings that ignorant people such as myself ought to see, namely the Mona Lisa and a few others that aren’t particularly memorable. And so I could go on about my lack of artistic class and appreciation for the aesthetic beauty in our world.

My daughter Nicky, who I think is a true artist, began to shed some light on the subject that has really affected my ability to think about and enjoy art. I think Nicky started dancing lessons when she was about 4 or 5 years old. Throughout her school years she did ballet, contemporary dance and even had a go at tap for some time. After school she went on to do a BA Hons in Contemporary Dance, Choreography and English. And of course, her world of art opened up significantly. It went way beyond the world of dance and into a variety of expressions of art.

In one of our conversations she began to talk about what constitutes good art or bad art. As we discussed this I remember her speaking about art in terms of what pleases a person. Something could be called bad art by one person, but then somebody else may like it and so to that person, it is good art. Her insights and comments go way deeper than this, but a tiny fire was lit inside of me.

I am not a painter, a dancer, a musician or anywhere near the kind of person that would be considered “arty”. But I decided to investigate some aspects of “art” for myself. While attending a conference to Chicago last year, my wife and I went to Chicago Museum of Modern Art. This would have been the last place in the world that I would normally have visited, but. I did what Nicky said, look at the art and reflect on how it may you feel. I was amazed. Some of it really impacted me and affected me in one way or another, while other pieces for me was simply rubbish.

But since then, I have started to express my own form of art. I grew up in a home where my father was a keen amateur photographer. He won a few small competitions and as a child, I would help him to develop and print our own black and white pictures in one of our bathrooms that we would convert into a temporary dark room.

And so, I invested in an entry level DSLR Camera, and decided to “make art”! Not only capture pictures of family and holidays, but also to attempt to take pictures that would make me “feel something”. And so this is where the “Photography” section of this web site originated. These photographs mean something to me and so I decided to share them with you.

They may not be good or great, but I like them and according to Nicky, that’s what counts!

Since I have started expressing myself through “art” I have almost become overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the photography industry. And, being a competitive person, I wanted to be “better” than others, and of course realized what I would be up against. Attempting to compete or even compare would rob me of the very reason why I have become an “artist”. I truly want to enjoy the pictures I take and be wowed by the pictures that others take.

I hope you discover your “art”. I hope that you share your “art”. If others don’t think much of it – that’s ok, it really is about observing, expressing and feeling. It’s cool when others enjoy your efforts, but it’s enough when you have felt alive through something you have done.

Let me stop now – soon I will cut off my ear to express my undying love for Christine, my wife of nearly 34 years.  Now that’s art!

Check out Nicky’s blog

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