I seriously wonder what the heck so many of these self-proclaimed artists are thinking when they create. I mean, I'm as open-minded as any when it comes to people's views on expressing themselves, despite what vehicle (and I mean vehicle as a form or style) they choose to channel their thoughts through. In fact, I even like a lot of it-especially the creative ideologies of some far-out thinkers. I, too, am aware of the fact that they are not creating to please. Still, the line has to be drawn somewhere. At some point this stuff is nothing but over-hyped crap.
I'm sorry, but splattering paint on a blank canvas from across the room is not art. Nor is standing atop a building and dropping paint on a canvas. Another form that comes to mind was a piece at the college I attended, Cal State Long Beach. It was a 30-foot pole, roughly 3 inches round, folded in half and mounted on a concrete pyramid. With both ends pointed, the figure looks like nothing more than an elongated oval made of tubes, yet it was considered modern art-so much so, the college paid to make it a part of the identity of "The Beach" by placing it in a courtyard.
How about this, before Yoko Ono became the kryptonite of the Beatles, she was, in fact, an avant-garde artist. One of her crown jewels is dubbed "The Ceiling Painting." In this piece of art, Ono set a white ladder in the middle of a room. Upon reaching the ladder, viewers climbed it. Above the ladder hung a magnifying glass that when looked through allowed one to view the word, "Yes," written in tiny letters on a framed piece of paper fixed to the ceiling. Now how is that art? How is any of that art? My neighbor's 3-year-old kid exhumed more creative energy when he doodled a symbol (that apparently was suppose to signify my name) on the back of a puzzle piece and handed it to me, saying it was mine to keep. When Patrick Swayze ripped that dude's throat out in roadhouse-that was even more artistic! At least he was creative in his combat tactics. If there are no restrictions to enter the realm of modern art, then I propose that my garage art, and everyone's garage art, are true forms of art that should be taken seriously.
What it all boils down to is that I like to build and make things-especially making something for pure fun with no pressure, standards, or deadlines. Until now, I never really looked at this stuff as art, but rather as a hobby. Usually what I decide to make is a direct result of what I have lying around my garage. Oftentimes it really boils down to what I need to get rid of from my garage. I'm not big on throwing things away that have potential. My latest form of artistic expression comes in the form of an entertainment center for my house that revolves around the old tailgate from my '71 Chevy. The tailgate is just a tad bit abused to be used in the automotive realm anymore, but its dents and patina give it just the right amount of Americana character for artistic furniture. The gate sits on a bare steel constructed frame. Within the frame are two shelves constructed from 3.4-inch square tubing and expanded metal. The plan is for all of my audio and video equipment to sit on the shelves-so the top of the tailgate can double as a mantle for random objects. Instead of leaving the front side of the piece open to show off the AV getup, I've made a webbed door out of 1.4-inch steel rod to hide everything. Adding some flare to the web is the fact that I have brazed it together with brass. Nothing extreme, but, nonetheless: art.
I bring this up because a lot of guys and gals around the country partake in the same type of hobby as I do and I think we have the masses needed to start a "Garage Art" movement. In a society that seems to celebrate mediocrity, in terms of art, this new form of expression is bound to hit hard. If nothing else, it's interesting and exciting to look at. Ok ... I'll get off my soapbox now. -Dakota Wentz