Tuesday, 18 July 2017

consistently me, regardless....

I was looking at 3 of my pictures hanging in a row on our parlour wall a few weeks ago. The one on the far right is from 1985 and one of the earliest of my artworks I’ve kept. The one in the middle is a petit point embroidery completed in 1996 (from a vintage printed canvas, not my original art) and the one on the left is a collaborative work done with my husband in 2012 (Rodney did the face, and the surrounding decorative work is a combination of painting, stenciling, applique and embroidery) I was struck at the consistency of the aesthetic linking them over 30 years+. Most people would observe the pictures to left and right have similarity but I also see it with the embroidery….

art on the wall in my parlour - doll on the mantelpiece to the right is from 1995, Petrouchka
"All the grey people", 1985, gouache on paper, by Pearl Red Moon

"Queen of Byzantia", 2012, mixed media. Rodney Swansborough and Pearl Red Moon.

Sometimes it’s interesting to reflect on ones journey as an artist and see the way a deeply unconscious, internalised aesthetic gives a lifetimes body of work visual consistency. Even people who know hardly anything about art, if they were presented with 10 pictures each by 10 artists, could probably pretty credibly group the collections of 10 together.

the large cushion is a wool tapestry worked by me. Inspired from an illustration in a Kaffee Fassett book and drawn directly onto 70x70cm canvas.

I’ve been wondering about this because I often feel compelled to engage in that thing described as “marketing” as I always need to sell more patterns or adornments from my internet shops. One of the principles marketing advice encourages is to create a consistent style aesthetic in which to present your product. Looking around at lots of internet stores apparently the contemporary “look” is PALE, PALE, PALE. Clothes in shades of white, beige, grey or pastels worn by models presented on whitewashed backgrounds. Not just clothes, but homewares, jewellery, etc….To me, it is all so bleached, limpid and clinical. As an artist I’m bemused and dismissive of all that but as a potential “marketer” I’m dismayed! This is totally antithetical to my innate inclination as an artist.

This Pearl Red Moon logo is all wrong to attract customers in 2017

The upshot is – I have no intention of compromising my internal aesthetic for the sake of marketing. I’ll continue to use brightly coloured and non-consistent images in my internet stores. In the end, I know all that “branding” consistency arises from contemporary fads that are continually evolving. One day, maybe in a few decades, it will roll around again to florid, colourful chaos and people will say “gee, you were ahead of the times”….when the truth is, I have always been like that and can never change!