Manifesto#24 – 27th April 2020
(Because the other 22 were either too long-winded, or pretentious or incomprehensible and things move on.)
For new artists and new art works.
Rule #1 – Don’t get lost in too much talk about what is ‘ART’. Just make something you think is art and pay attention to what happens when you do. You don’t need to explain. Because…
Rule # 2 – What you make as art can speak for itself.
Rule # 3 – If you have to talk about your art, do it like you do maths and show your workings. But like maths, share your workings with people who understand. Other artists understand.
Rule # 4 – If you do show your art or share your workings and people don’t like it or understand it, you now know for a fact that it is art.
Rule # 5 – If you don’t think you can be an artist, or that you can’t make art, go to a show of something called ‘Contemporary Art’ and you will realise that if they can sell stuff like that as ‘Art’ then you can definitely be an artist. (but don’t get your hopes up of selling anything unless you have been to art school, or know the right people in the ‘Art World’ or if you have a day job.) So make art anyway.
Rule # 6 – If you are remotely unsure about making art, or are anxious about what you friends and family will say, say you are ‘Doing some research.’ This will throw them off the scent.
Rule # 7 – Doing Art as Research could involve gaining knowledge of any or all of the following. Physics, chemistry, biology, maths, geometry, engineering, woodwork, painting, paint, pencils, drawing, music, writing, wood, stone, plastic, fabric etc etc etc. Finding out about these things is easy because we have The Internet.
Rule # 8 – Doing Art as Research will also involve you gaining knowledge of yourself, and the thing you are making art about. All you need to do to gain this knowledge is to simply pay attention to what is going on when you make art, and to look closely at what you make as art, when you make art. It is likely that what you find through your research will not be what you were expecting to find. This is normal.
Rule # 9 – Every different kind of material and process you use to make your art will tell you some different thing. Use lots of different materials to research the same thing. Or use the same material to research different things. You will find you like some materials more than others. This is good.
Rule # 10 – As materials go, the outdoors is great art making material. Useful outdoor materials are things like mud, rock, leaves, water and wood but also things like space, the sky, the sea, wind and rain, solitude, companionship, simplicity, complexity, feeling really alive, nearly dying and really dying.
Rule # 11 – Remember the outdoors starts outside your front door. You are outdoors, alone in your garden, or in a queue to get onto the summit of Everest. You do not need a goretex jacket, a gps navigator, a wing suit, a GoPro and a YouTube channel to go outdoors. Experiencing the outdoors as art is just one of the things you can do outdoors. If you have a goretex jacket, a gps navigator, a wing suit, a GoPro and a YouTube channel, you can still experience the outdoors as art, and it will still give you new and challenging experiences.
Rule # 12 – Do not be afraid that you will not know what to do to start with. (See Rule#1) Most artists start by stealing somebody else’s ideas. There are lots of artists out there who do art as research and use the outdoors as art. Just find who they are and start by copying their ideas, because making art is not where you take things from, but where you take things to. (From Jean Luc Godard, film director.)
Rule # 13 – Art making is a journey of uncertain outcome. It is a journey of exploration and discovery. It is an adventure. Go alone or with companions. Put a line of paint on a canvas or take a step outside your front door. But most of all. Just do it.