Discover more from Raz’s Substack
This isnt abt aliens lol
Things are expensive.
No surprise, but this also means rent is expensive. Which is also no surprise. But it leads to the fact that land is expensive. and on that expensive land, is the space we use to live our lives. And it’s where artists create their art.
Blood is spilled over land; people are evicted from their homes, unhoused people are pushed from their tents, indigenous people have been forcefully relocated, and more. This space is used to finance those who are already rich. usually. sometimes its people wanting to live in a city, where food, social scenes, cultures, and work resources are more abundant. sometimes its to create a park or source of nature. even though people lived there before. But why bring this up?
I’ve been looking into public art more. Art meant to be displayed to the world. From mount rushmore, to graffiti. I thought it could act as a rebellion against using space to profit off of. But now I feel like the profits aren’t the true motive. I believe land and space ownership is a form of control. Allowing people in and out. Creating an environment that is friendly to some or harmful to another. And having more control of your finances as well, by choosing how to use this place to profit (from renting services to running a business space). I want to create large works of art, but would they be built to stop homeless people from setting up a tent there? I’ve seen enough bikeshare racks where there used to be unhoused people. Do I want a creation, thats meant to inspire life into people, take the place of someones home? (no).
This isn’t just about public art though, but more about sculptures. When choosing my mediums of relief carvings and stopmotions, managing space was my biggest fear. A huge part of my woodworks was that I could sculpt and comfortably manage the space for my art (i j have stacks of them everywhere lmao). Many of my sculptor friends lost their medium to a lack of spatial accessibility. Its a sad reality that looks at me more and more when im making my pieces. Its a great reason to get into art fairs and start selling tho but its a terrifying endeavor when ur just starting. and its just an extra stressor when creating. Creation is quite literally limited by the space available to us. A sculptors canvas is the space around them, and to an extent, the spaces that can hold a sculpture.
In all of these instances, I feel that the usage of space is an important issue in the sculpting process. Does this piece justify taking its place in the world as public art? Should a piece even be justified to exist? Does the context of the land around a sculpture change its meaning? Can an artwork meant to heal the soul justify taking up vital living space in a crowded area? How does the control of space affect us daily?
alas, questions with answers different to each of us. I still do want to figure out how to do public sculptures though, even if this is me turning a blind eye to some of these questions. I feel like in a world where we can see anything in our phone and in digital spaces kind of make us unimpressed with the physical world. If everything is glorified online, how interesting is a tree in the real world (infinitely interesting:) )? There’s still beauty in the world, and by having nature, flora, and fauna in mind while sculpting, i think theres a lot of opportunities to bring humanity back into the physical world.
Yes i have critical thoughts on the modes of art too, not just delirium,
ps lemme answer these questions rq (my opinions r my own//nfa/dyor):
Does this piece justify taking its place in the world as public art?
It can - I’ve seen a lot of public sculptures that don’t rly take the public in mind and just seem to be brand placements (which in some places is super cool) or the insertion of a character simply to insert it. We also live in a world of social media and promoting achievements. A physical context of a sculpture is just as important as the sculpture itself, but social media can crop that out entirely. I think that as long as sculptures: doesn’t damage the local ecosystem of the animals/flora/people, provides a emotional benefit/clarity/question to the people local to it, and can uplift/support/reinforce the local community around it (physically, socially, and mentally), then I think it is justified in taking its place in the world.
Should a public art piece even be justified to exist?
In smaller scales no, as it can simply be a way to hold social gatherings or be a landmark in the environment. If it is larger, then yes I think it should. First off, they’re usually paid for by organizations and public funds which require a proposal, so legally and financially they do need justification. Second, larger pieces can affect the environment. Not many people want to feel existential dread and anguish on their way to work (even tho many do :(. ) Understanding the needs of the public should be prioritized over an artist’s creative ideations
Does the context of the land around a sculpture change its meaning?
Absolutely! In a painting or 2d piece, the context can be changed based on the artworks around it , but is usually contained in the frame holding it. A sculpture typically does not have a frame. It may have a bit of tape around it, but we have to mentally blank out the surroundings of the piece. A sculpture of a bird displayed inside vs outside gives a very different feeling. A sculpture of a person displayed in a field will give very different energies to a sculpture of a person displayed in a city.
Can an artwork meant to heal the soul justify taking up vital living space in a crowded area?
Honestly, na. Theres many other factors in a public piece then just having its meaning be heartfelt. A powerful feeling should not prioritize immediate health and living circumstances. Of course I would love to display art to everyone, but if it replaces and damages the people living in the area, then that art should not be placed there.
How does the control of space affect us daily?
I think everything is getting bigger nowadays. phones and cars more specifically, but also personal space. Especially after covid, I feel that everyone is a bit more conscious of the space around them. Its so much easier to feel cramped. I think we even see it in fatphobia, where people become uncomfortable sitting near someone of a heavier weight. I also think we see it in body dysmorphia; where the skinnier a person is, then the less space they take, giving others more control of their environment. I see this more with people with controlling significant others. This is more of a personal observation too so I may be entirely wrong, but I do think that personal control/autonomy and our bodies are very strongly linked.
damn this is a solid list. if anyone wants to follow up on this or wants to answer them urself, feel free to respond to this email, dm me, or leave a comment below!
pss. I got into a lil coffee shop show on the 1st if anyone lives near dc come thru! more info below
psss. I am def gonna have to pay for parking after this newsletter it took a good ass minute
Theres been a huge wildfire that devastated parts of Maui, Hawaii. Pls look into it, and above is a spreadsheet with people asking for direct aid, and has a list of gofundmes and other forms of mutual aid fundings. The catastrophe is being downplayed by american news networks, and it is tough to find whats really going on, but go through this and try and donate even a few dollars to the people there.
all good things come to an end, like this email
all good things also have websites, like razdoesart.com
all good things also have subscription buttons, like this email (x2)