...serenity in motion

Do it wrong, go ahead

Do it wrong; go ahead.

Did you know that Monet and Manet were doing “IT” wrong?  Were you aware that Mary Cassatt wasn’t supposed to do what she was doing? Don’t even get me started on Picasso or Warhol, you want what for a soup can picture?  You paid what for a banana that someone just came along and ate?

There are always going to be people who tell you what you are doing wrong.  Your business, your medium, your advertising, your life, kids, job, hobby, food, exercise…..  Opinions are like………… well, you know.  Everyone has one but, art isn’t like changing a lightbulb.  There are so many ways to approach it and different things to do.  Mainly, it is about what works for you.

I am constantly telling my students, “It is okay, you can’t do it wrong.  Nothing you do here will stop the world from spinning.  Nothing will be a life shattering mistake, this is art; there isn’t a wrong.”  I mean it, art is subjective and anyone who tells you, “your doing it wrong” doesn’t have the right idea.

I looked up wrong in the dictionary; well it wasn’t a dictionary, it was on-line.  It is a noun, adjective, verb, adverb, and it is used as that word.  Just “Wrong”, no ‘ly or ‘ing.  For such a simple word, it is very versatile.  I don’t think it is useful when you are talking about art.  There are things that don’t work like cobalt blue and flake white.  You cause a chemical reaction between the lead that makes flake white and the chemical in cobalt.  Oxidization occurs despite the oil in the paint and the blue turns green over time.  However; paint is no longer made with the true pigments so even that “wrong” is now moot.

When Anish Kapoor trademarked vanta black, Stuart Semple felt it was wrong to keep it from everyone.  Stuart created a black that was as dark and not as toxic.  He was pushed by the feeling of wrong “ness” and created a product that was cheaper, easier and safer to use.  He has also offered it to everyone except, Anish Kapoor.  I want to put that whole thing in a win column, not wrong column.

When someone tells you that something is wrong, ask them why.  It might be a boring conversation about social conventions or open a political conversation (how much time do you have) but in the end, consider doing it anyway.  (Unless it is murder or theft which are punishable crimes and hard on the world around you.)  They may say it is wrong because it wasn’t right for them.  It didn’t work out well for them.  You might be able to figure out a way that is right for you.  Artists throughout history and across the globe have been doing things that are wrong and it has been working out for them.

If it doesn’t work out for you, what did you learn?  No lesson is ever wasted. You may find a new way that works in the end.  Wouldn’t that be cool?