As an artist I want to produce pictures that are meaningful to me and to anyone else that wants to look at them. Wherever your work is displayed (physically or virtually) someone will see it but if you are a professional artist you need to sell it. You need the viewer to be able to visualise that picture in their own home or office and to want it to be there – communicating all the feelings and messages they derive from it to their friends, family, visitors etc. So you want them to buy it. With this in mind, I am thinking more and more about trying to achieve a reconciliation between the personal and the commercial so that my art will find its place in other people’s spaces. This is an example:
When I first studied art at school I remember being taken on art history trips to see triptychs in-situ in churches (which is largely where you found them then) and how amazed I was by the effect of the threefold division of the image. Even if the width between the three pictures was minimal, the result was still mesmerising – three separate pictures yet one whole picture too. They seemed to make a very bold, powerful statement. Nowadays you see this done on a mass scale in print reproductions where it’s easy to buy a fairly cheap tryptych to adorn your wall. In some cases a single image has been literally cut twice and then presented as one picture or as three separate pictures where the purchaser can decide for themselves how they want to arrange them.
Mine is presented as a single picture and whilst it was derived from one original source each of the three images in the triptych has been treated as a singular subject. They are unified yet individual. The colour and tone values are similar but there are subtle differences in texture, shapes and patterns. The picture is meaningful to me because I have passion and fear of the sea in equal measures. I’ve often stood in the water at waist height, full of bravado, hoping to dive headlong in to the blue, and then when the waves have gathered and advanced to this point, where they rear up above me, I have run back to shore. This picture, captures that moment when I make the decision to immerse myself in the deep unknown or bolt for safety in the shallows.
I decided to realise my ideas about this moment as a tryptych for two reasons: the first was because of their spiritual/religious connotations. I always feel connected to the sea on a spiritual level and I wanted to use this style of art to convey the deep significance (as it seems to me) of this point, where safety and danger meet each other – where the shore gives way to the ocean. The second reason was commercial. I simply wanted to produce something that I thought would look bold and startling on a wall in someone’s home or office, for example. I tried to reconcile the personal with the commercial. Only time will tell if I’ve succeeded.
I am happy to report that I’ve also found a way of diving into the deep that doesn’t require me to crash and burn under the force of the pounding waves.
This photograph is courtesy of my dive buddy, Louis Kicha.