Last week, a friend and I decided to take up a challenge by the artist Nathaniel Russell, proposed on the Youtube channel “The Art Assignment”.
We made a handful of fake flyers advertising made up clubs, requesting help for imaginary scenarios and displaying some ridiculous ideas. We hung them up around our school and sat back to see the reactions of people.
Some people thought they were hilarious, others thought they were pointless.
This was all just as we had expected.
What we did not foresee was that some people felt so passionately against them. They claimed that the flyers were the most ridiculous thing they’d seen. They spoke against them throughout the day, they called us childish.
I guess it makes sense.
When I tried to explain that the flyers were based on artwork and were trying to be art, we were told we were pretentious.
I found all of this very interesting, because what was a harmless bit of experimental fun for us, caused a serious reaction out of some people.
I guess this happens often, when people don’t enjoy a piece of contemporary art, they claim that it isn’t art. Nobody claims that a Rembrandt painting isn’t art simply because they don’t like looking at it, but people criticise contemporary artists all the time just because their art is not as straightforward as people would like.
I’m not claiming that my friend Poppy and I are contemporary artists who have been misunderstood. We simply copied an idea and tried to engage with it, but the response we received helped us understand the concept that art isn’t just what the spectator makes it to be.
Art is in the intention, art is in the thoughts provoked by a piece.
Art shouldn’t just be about the physical object that has been created.
If it has incited some thought in you, then your thoughts are also art.
Let’s break down the boxes that we have built up to categorise things.
Let’s relax a little and stop jumping up to disagree with the things we don’t understand.
It’s ok to be confused, let’s not get hostile when presented with the unfamiliar.
And if you find my leaf anywhere, please let me know.