“What's Art?” by Miwa Nomura
Before thinking of the what-is-art-question, I examined it from a point of view of art history. Moreover, I looked back myself as an artist. Then it led to the conclusion that art is like an involuntary muscle. The muscle is put in heart and internal organs. That is, we can’t control them consciously. For me, art is the thing which doesn’t go my way easily.
Once, art had a certain role. It had a magical aim, like a pyramid and it was believed that art could protect people against natural threats. Art also had a way of expressing religious paintings. Albrecht Durer, a German painter painted scenes from the bible as if he had actually seen them. Alternatively, like Velazquez, a Spanish painter, artists helped to display the power of authority by drawing a portrait. In 18th century, many paintings were drawn to be recognized in academies and salons. ’The Swing’ by Jean- Honore Fragonard, and ’Miss Jane Bowles’ by Sir Joshua Reynolds are representative paintings in the era.
Western art has a lot of constraints and rules. Additionally, artists had to accommodate clients’ requests. Many of them were religious demand, like a bible story, a legend of a saint or a Greek myth. However, after the French Revolution, a new trend was set off, that artists could draw whatever they want. After the Industrial Revolution, the change of the tradition had progressed even more. In 19th century, art finally got to be the way of self-expressing in real meaning for the first in art history. Rembrandt, a Dutch painter, was a forwardlooking painter and had already pursued his own style in the 16th century. He drew ’The Night Watch’ in 1642. First the civic militia guards asked to draw a portrait of 18 of them standing equally, but only 3 people were drawn with whole body. Some were appeared only drawn eyes in the picture. Although he received some complaints, he never listened and didn’t redraw it. I wonder why he had kept drawing in his way in spite of losing his position and the settled life.
Henry Darger, an American artist, made his artworks for no one other than for himself. He lost his parents at the age of 3 and 15. He was brought up in a care house but escaped there at age 16. He started to work as a hospital custodian. He had made more than 15,000 page long story and about 300 illustrations for over 60 years. Among them, there was a 2 meters long picture. His artworks had never be known in his life until Nathan Lerner, an artist and Darger’s landlord found them. Lerner, who was asked to incinerate Darger’s property. He knew the value of Darger’s art, and sold about 100 illustrations to gallery owners and hobbyists. And he donated rest of them to MOMA. Now Darger is one of the famous artists. Here I also wonder why Darger had kept making artworks even he wasn’t going to show or publish.
As for me, I started drawing when I was 2 or 3 years old. I think I just followed my sister’s drawing. But it was fun to fill white paper with my pictures. When I finished, I was happy to see my picture. Because it seemed to be a proof of my life. I felt I was certainly living at the moment.
However, I studied fashion design in the university for thinking about my future. In my school days, I spent without drawing. I felt uneasy because it was my first time not to draw any pictures. Meanwhile I thought I would be broken if I didn’t draw. Gradually I got to yearn to be a professional artist. With some bumps and detours, I started to take photographs in 2013. At that time I studied how to make artworks by pouring oil paint onto the campus and using the form made as a result of it. I was interested in flowing things and studied books of fluid mechanics. Then I found an English photographer, Susan Derges.
She slips a huge developing paper in between glass boards and sinks it down into the river at night. Then she takes a photograph with a flare of flashlight for a second. She made a great success for making fantastic photographs. Her technique is really unique and surprising. Meanwhile I became to admire her artworks. I didn’t know anything about photographs but I began to think that I wanted to make inspiring artworks with photographs. I want to be a professional artist but I wonder if I could sell them. I had been having a conflicted feeling like this for a long time. I intended to quit painting many times but I couldn’t. Like Henry Darger, there is a painter who had kept doing art just for himself. I am just an ordinary challenger for art, but I can’t help stop making artworks. I will try to express my art with photographs. Making something means a lot to me. It never goes as I want, like an involuntary muscle, but my desire never stops.
Murakami Takashi, a Japanese artist says in his book; I think of myself as a clown or a performing monkey with a monkey trainer. I keep chatting ’yack-yack’, putting hands on the ground and spinning around. People in the world know me as an artist, I never stop acting like a clown, and I want to make people happy. Because this is my job. It was surprising to know that a successful person like him says so.
"Landscape(Tree)ll" by Jeff Koons, an American artist, is accepted its value worldwide though I wonder how many people would really understand Koons' artworks without knowing his background. Nowadays there are full of dense artworks, which can be called "art for art".
Jason deCaires Taylor, on the other hand, did a great job. He took a cast of people's body and made artworks with them. He put them down into the sea. The material that he used for his artworks takes a long time to decay under the sea.
They are exhibited in an aquarium in the bottom of sea. As corals attach them, those works help to revival coral reefs that were damaged by a hurricane.
Thanks to Jason deCaires Taylor, finally I found a goal. Moreover talking with members of SAMURAI FOTO and Mr. Yoshida, my ideas took shape at last.
It is very important to know what is demanded among the art market and need to express properly. That is a key to success. Additionally I want to make art works for all people who are even unrelated to art.