In my review session, the judge from the Sasol Signatures Competition complimented this work for its inventive style. Painting in multiple transparent layers is a style of oil painting I learnt by studying cache’s of renaissance art and find it a suitably good technique for digital art too because you can create visual depth beyond the principles of perspective.
The work was sadly disqualified on pricing, mostly because I didn’t want to sell the pictures, only to show them off. But that led to me being shouted down by the judge with a philosophical diatribe about art for the love of it. He insisted that artist’s should price their work using only the cost of materials. I don’t know what world he lives in but Banksy, Damien Hirst or Picasso for matter doesn’t sell for millions of pounds because that’s the cost of production.
What struck me was how the judge sounded like the limp vicar pontificating chastity to the virile. For all the ‘visioneering’ artist’s are supposed to do, the establishment still keeps killing creativity with their rules. Painters like Vermeer and Manet fought them with pictures like ‘Girl with the pearl earring’ or ‘The bathers’. Pink Floyd and Rap Music fought them on another front. All the same, creativity’s function to usher in the new will always be opposed by the old ‘there’s a chain of command’ schtick because they’re two sides of the same coin. And that’s the fallacy of tradition, that even self-expression has to go through the dignified appraisal of people like that judge who considers himself the only Brahmin qualified to decide what is beautiful.
Whether he knew it or not, he was poisoning the minds of the young and impressionable artists at the session with a business model that would cripple them for life. If the Sasol Arts competition is South Africa’s best foot forward in the arts then maybe it’s time for an arts “Umkhonto Sizwe”!
And that’s really the theme of these pictures. They’re titled “Rainbow Nation Mirror” and “Greed is the new sex” to epitomize the current wave of corruption South Africa is plagued by.