I really like the work of Fresno artist, Uriel Tekunoff. Many of you may not know him, but Ihope that you soon will. He's a guy with a degree in mechanical engineering and a passion for painting (please read that last sentence one more time...makes him wicked smart and wicked cool). Here's a quote from his artist statement:I use pigments on a surface to express feelings or ideas that are on my mind. Every painting I've made comes from a particular life experience and occupies a small part of my heart. My paintings are the story of my life, articulated without language.
As I've learned more about Uriel, I have discovered a few lessons that can be applied to the current art vibe:
- When an artist shares their work, they are sharing a piece of their life.
- When an artist shares their work, they are sharing a piece of their heart.
- When an artist shares their work, they are sharing a piece of their identity.
Sure, there is a risk to putting one's self out there. Yes, they are open to criticism. However, there is a difference between criticism and being critical. This is where I bring it back to Uriel.
An engineer (especially a mechanical engineer) understands the importance of critical thinking or viewing a system with a critical eye. It means taking a closer look. Looking behind the surface. Looking at the role everything plays in impacting a particular system. This is different that providing criticism. Criticism looks to break things down and find fault. It is easy to criticize, because it is an emotional response. We can say we don't like something (criticize), but many have a difficult time critically explaining a point of view or describing the piece in the context of the larger system.
What if we looked at the mural on Neighborhood Thrift as part of a system? I think that is happening now, but I still think we must acknowledge that the mural also represents the artists' life, heart, and identity. That should not be attacked. That part of the system should not be ignored just as the community should not be ignored.
Uriel is doing an ambitious dual show at the next Art Hop (Nov 5th). He is showing at Brass Unicorn and at the DeRouchey Studio. Check out his work. Look at it critically. See how it fits in the larger system...your system.
In what ways is art currently part of your public or private system?