Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fingerpainting masterpieces

Once again, there is another case of some mother selling paintings done by her very young child and people paying sums of cash for them. This article, Toddler fools the art world into buying his tomato ketchup paintings, shows the child and his works.

Personally, I despise articles like these because right from the headline, the reader (who is most likely a casual art consumer at best) immediately takes it to be a full vilification of the art world. Apparently, art critics are just "too stupid" and "gullible" and can easily be fooled by mere "paint daubs."

Unfortunately, the majority of people feel intimidated by the modern art world. It sometimes makes no sense. Sometimes, it is too conceptual and leaves you feeling like you need some sort of decoder ring to understand it. When some article comes out about how a "toddler fool[ed] the art world" then we can all feel superior to this intimidating culture. We can laugh and pat ourselves on the back about how we would never buy canvas fingerpainted by someone who still shits his pants.

But here's the thing: I've looked at those pictures of this toddler's work. They're absolutely beautiful. The use of color and the raw energy in the marks captivate me. I don't care if the person who made it was 2 or 102, they still look amazing.

Picasso once said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." And it's true. This kid is painting his paintings with the whole of his being. He doesn't care what anyone thinks of them or even if they're good enough. He's delighting himself in the act of painting and that's it. It's the purest form of artmaking there is. He's expressing himself purely through the colors onto the canvas. Sure, it may not look like some Thomas Kinkade piece of crap (Kinkade being a talented hack for people who think that art should be snow covered cottages), but it is a pure piece of expression.

The people mocking the art critics now may feel superior, but in my estimation, they didn't get it then and they sure as hell don't get it now. They just lack the ability to see the brilliance in front of them.