This Life and Art blog is essentially about the encounters of an artist with art and the world in general. It is rare that I post about something unprompted by the eye and experiences of an artist qua artist. But this link may appear fairly tenuous some days, and completely invisible on others. My post the other day on the Royal Wedding, for example, began as a piece on something I had realised I simply couldn’t ignore for better or for worse, because of what it reflected about Britain today; and absorbing the paradoxes of contemporary society fuels much of my art-making.
Actually, when I read in the papers that some 2 billion viewers worldwide had taken time out (presumably without the benefit of a bank holiday) to vicariously participate in the event, I was stunned. The most surreal shot was of a group of Germans waving Union Jacks in Magdeburg. Touching as it was, I did wonder (a) where on earth you go to buy Union Jacks in Magdeburg and (b) why you would want to enthusiastically wave the flag of another country. Maybe I’m not the one to speculate, since patriotic displays of flag-waving are not something I do: I worry too much about the narrow line between jubilant patriotism and mindless nationalism.
One of my favourite art bloggers though is Jonathan Jones at The Guardian. Unlike me, Jonathan Jones is a seriously focussed art blogger and journalist who writes wonderfully and thoughtfully on a wide range of art topics. But what has truly impressed me recently is how he managed to keep on topic and relevant when surrounded by Royal Wedding fever. His solution was a range of royal-art articles on such topics as the best British Palaces to visit; the role of royalty v republicanism in encouraging great art; and whether Holbein engineered a Royal Wedding.
As they put it these days: Respect.