Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Your Drawers Need To Be Ironed

A quote I like by Banksy goes like this: "All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?" It appears many artists today have the misdirected notion that the ability to draw accurately is obsolete. They convince themselves that, since their art is not representational, they need not practice the art of drawing. They reassure themselves by looking at recent art auction prices of contemporary art, like Jeff Koons’s Tulips which sold for $30 million, or Gerhard Richter’s abstracts regularly selling around a similar price. It is easy for artists to be convinced by the spotlighted outliers of the art market, driven by wealthy businessmen who treat art as commodities (or as “poker chips”). Add that academics continue to declare that intellect, concept, and cognitive value are most important in a work of art, artists today quickly disregard the importance of being able to draw accurately. (The phrase "draw accurately" does not necessarily mean in a photorealistic style.) I believe all art must carry a certain high level of craftsmanship, and the ability to draw accurately is the backbone of the craft.

It is easy to forget that artists like Picasso and Richter have produced work which demonstrates their ability to draw exactly what they want.

So, I practice drawing regularly, either in the form of doodles or quick sketches. It’s like going to the gym. Certain skills need to be ironed out periodically. The following is an example of a sketch, about 18 inches tall, of a friend who agreed to sit for me for thirty minutes. A time pressured sketch of a live person is usually a challenge, as it requires a quick grasping of shapes and efficiency of strokes with the pencil...


By they way, one of the greatest masters of efficiency of strokes with the paint brush, Diego Velazquez, has a painting at the special exhibition on Caravaggio currently at LACMA: 


Along with Georges de La Tour:


Thank you for reading about the paintings, sculptures, drawings, works in progress, reviews, Doodle of the Day, and other art by Los Angeles artist Lucas Aardvark Novak. To see older blog posts and other doodles, click HERE :)