This weekend my cousin and I are visiting my grandfather to get some filming in for the DVD portion of my Kickstarter project. Our hope was simply to sit down and chat with him about his art with a camera running in the background, but Jim, an experienced interviewer himself, seems to be a bit nervous to be in front of the camera now.
Whether he is unaccustomed to having people question him about his art or whether he just isn’t used to be being the focus of an interview, last week Jim asked for some guidelines or prep questions for the filming. I assured him that he should not be worried, but, just to ease his mind, I also provided him with a couple of questions to ponder. A few days later, having apparently pondered aplenty and come up with some of his own questions, my grandfather sent us this soliloquy in an email with the subject line “Quacks from a Duck.”
What is art?
Where do you get your ideas?
What “ideas”? If you find any “ideas” they exist because they come out of nowhere. More to the point, they come also out of the material. Art is itself.
Why is your stuff so crazy?
Blame the artist as well as the stuff he works with.
What do you mean when you say “Art is all around us.”
Simply that nothing exists near or remote that doesn’t have potential for art.
Are you a “junkist”?
No, I don’t think of anything that exists as “junk.” Instead I see, admire and at times act on the potential that is there because whatever I feel needs doing with any materials enjoys that potential just by existing.
Do you find that material plays a part in what results from your work?
I am convinced that anything that does me the honor or letting me work with it is a real and definite part of what eventuates, especially as it goes foreward (or in some critics’ opinions, backwards).
Do I care what people think of my stuff?
I don’t give a damn what they think if they’re just bitching. If they have any kind of constructive comment, I’m of course all ears. If they like any particular piece, I’m equally pleased but I don’t need it to keep plunging on into the unknown.
Is all art “the unknown” or the result of an artist’s plunging ahead (or backward)?
I haven’t a clue. I don’t consider myself an artist. I just love doing this stuff. Dot too liked to see it emerge. That meant a lot to me, more than I can say, and it still does. But on brief reflection I think, yes, that must be what real artist do and are motivated to do. God bless them all and keep them creating — even those whose stuff I would put out at the curb because it’s just pretense.
Bit of snobbism there?
Not really. There’s only so much room before the cleaning ladies have had it.