I remember my art teacher asking us pupils this question over and over again: ‘What do you think an artwork should look like? Show me the answer in your work!’ At the time I had no answer to his question at all. I had not yet developed my own idea of what I found to be vital in my visual works. Nor the skills to depict this. I was still finding out if I even had the talent to become anything artistic at all!
Now that I am more experienced as an artist, I think I have developed my personal opinions on what I think an artist should be able to do and what I think makes a good artwork. These opinions are open to change though. I like to be challenged. But having an ideal can help you develop your own style and make your work stand out from that of others. It is interesting to think about what the essence of an artwork is, its core, its being, its heart.
Funny enough, I have recently noticed that I tend to look for the essence in objects too! Some people ask me whether I collect things. I don’t, but what I do like, is to buy things that to me represent the core of what I think that object should look like! For instance….. the teapot of all teapots… That particular teapot that in its simple way stands for all the other teapots in the world. With the perfect shape and colour! No frivolities, just made with the basics that an Über-teapot needs. Now, of course, this is only MY opinion, but I cannot speak for others anyway.
The same goes for my collectors item – teddy bear from Steiff, that I think couldn’t be a more classically designed teddy bear! All the other stuffed bears could be derived from this one, the king of Teddy’s. This to me is the Teddy behind all Teddy’s. Perhaps the fact helps, that Margarete Steiff was the woman who in 1902 made the first teddy bear in the world. So in this case I have gone to the root of the teddy bear and what I am claiming, might actually be true!
Now, this principle goes for all the basic things I use and love: my handbag, my perfect Dutch oven, my dolls house, my shoes, my woollen jumper and so on….. Sometimes certain brands help me to find them. I mean, it’s easier to look for the king of woollen jumpers in Scotland or Ireland than in the Netherlands. And, when looking for the best Dutch oven ever, I’d best turn to an old brand like Le Creuset, France, Quality helps me to enjoy my favourite things even more. I know that when I spend a substantial amount of money on a Le Creuset, that I will be able to enjoy it for many years. Some brands have hundreds of years of experience in finding the best ways to manufacture their products….
I wonder if I am the only one who looks for this essence in his/her favourite objects? In art, in music, people? Please leave a comment below!
Eva Mout, Ursus Art
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