I was on the bus home and I saw the sign 'Pop Up Art' just past the Pop Up Mall which sits at the bottom of Bethnal Green Rd. There are actually two pop up art shops down there, changing their contents with remarkable swiftness just as they might their location. I suppose and I wonder has it all become too easy? Of course I was wondering this further just as I put my own finishing touches (and touches I promise of the lightest consideration) to my latest art piece; a model of a Honda Gold Wing next to an 8oz brass weight sat on a hand painted picture of a girls face peering through a door which I bought off E-Bay, once I got home.
It's clear that the younger generation's idea of creativity rests largely on the ability to play ping pong at all times- as evidenced all the way up Redchurch St and no doubt across all other contemporary metropolitan artistic milieu- rather than wrestle with the traditional demons that dog the territory of artistic production. I say this just as it appears the bar staff of The Star at Bethnal Green are almost universally and happily interested in puppetry, mime, masks and other crap they download continuously on their phones, rather than being cantankerous bastards. These new artistic folk smile to a disconcerting degree, and I blame it all on their connectivity. This connectivity, their very sociality, where ping pong is more a metaphor than a contest, means any ghastly feeling from the depths of the artistic abyss is just put down to 'Sophie having a bad day', not the fact that she's struggling with colossus, or trying to paint a knee.
Since time in memorial artists have been portrayed as the difficult and unkempt who hate the world. Vasari's Lives of Artists is full of misery. Modern artists were so clearly in penury so often as to hardly afford the next round, as most wonderfully exemplified in the character of Gulley Jimson in the terrific Horses Mouth (Joyce Cary) a book recommended to me so much in my youth that I was fundamentally embarrassed when I found it's brilliance only at age forty eight, far too late.
My friend Scott is of course the last aficionado, trampish, furious, and giggled at by Bonnie the barmaid.
He draws, he paints, he finds it agony, he finds even walking to his studio a dread, and then occasionally, manically, grabs the ecstasy and celebrates and then he's barred again.