Three Short Diatribes:

  Originality Craftsmanship Vision

It has been a triumph of modern art to exempt the artist from the credentials of disciplined craftsmanship. Although the king makers of the art world no longer insist, as they did a few short decades ago, that important contemporary art must be abstract, there still remains the tenet that a coarse, crude and haphazard use of the paintbrush is the surest sign of artistic genius. The quality created by spending a lot of time and focused skillful attention on an artwork severely limits the Bruce Ricker Artworknumber of artworks that one artist can produce. But in order to have an almost unlimited supply of art to sell from a single artist, art dealers devised a clever strategy. They threw out craftsmanship as a requirement for fine art. Since, up to this time, painting as an art (or craft, if you like) was known to exhibit the highest level of craftsmanship, (higher than furniture making or stone carving or glass blowing for example) they simply relied on the reputation of fine art as high in craftsmanship, and the public, always reassured by this reputation, assumed that even the simplest painting was conceived through weeks or months of a virtual agony of creative struggle and self denial. The clincher was applied if ever an art lover wondered aloud how this one artist could create so many artworks: the explanation was that the artist was very “prolific.” By being “prolific,” an artist can produce literally thousands of paintings without ever being held to a standard of craftsmanship that even a plumber would naturally aspire to.

At we are swimming against the tide. We consider a time consuming craftsmanship to be essential to our mission of making available to the public art that gives long term satisfaction and pleasure. Even if the case were made that craftsmanship was no longer an artistic value, we would have to reply that it is a spiritual value and important for that reason.