You? An Artist?
Yes, because you made something, or took something, and called it art.
Ever heard of readymades? It’s the act of taking an object already manufactured by someone else, like a vacuum-cleaner, a urinal, even a picture, and putting it on display—modified, untouched, whatever. Marcel Duchamp was the culprit for such a ridiculous expression. Readymades were since defined as “an ordinary object elevated to the dignity of a work of art by the mere choice of an artist.” He was challenging the ideas of art, and the shapes it encompasses. Whether you believe it’s really art, it got people talking, which is what elevates an artist.
Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, with "R. Mutt 1917" inscribed.
His work, one of the most known readymades anywhere, Fountain was essentially a urinal shifted 90 degrees from its original position, making it look like a fountain. Duchamp sent it to an exhibition, where only if you’re able to pay the entrance fee were allowed to show anything. He was denied for a couple of reasons. One, it was considered vulgar; and two, it was plagiarism. Suffice it to say, they no longer kept that policy.
This story shouldn’t deter you from expressing yourself because things have changed. Duchamp’s Fountain was named the most influential artwork of the 20th century back in 2004. And is considered by many as one of the masterminds who ushered art into the modern era. All he did was take an object, move it a few inches, and leave it out ambiguously.
Since, artists have been on board with taking stuff from others and slapping their name on it. Jasper Johns put famous household objects on display like the Savarin coffee cup. Robert Rauschenberg took popular images, pasted them on canvas, and covered them with paint.
Painted Bronze by Jasper Johns; Retroactive I by Robert Rauschenberg
But that was back in the 60’s. What is happening today? Jeff Koons stacked vacuum-cleaners on top of each other at a retrospective last year in New York City. And Robert Longo showed off his reproductions of famous paintings from Jackson Pollack, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Willem de Kooning, and a few others, but in charcoal, rendering them black & white.
New Shelton Wet/Dry Doubledecker by Jeff Koons
After Frankenthaler (Mountains and Sea, 1952) by Robert Longo
So keep an open mind, and don’t belittle yourself. The industry understands that art is everywhere and anything, as long as someone puts it out there for criticism. Only one thing left to do, become known. And in the world of social media, it’s not too difficult.
– Dmitry Pomirchy (AKA Damon Stone), Hamilton-Selway Fine Art