Art, artsiness, and pretty things

This is art. We know this because it’s called art by people who know these things. In this case, it’s art that I love. It was made by Mats Caldeborg and is called Himmelsförsök och Hund (rough translation: A Try for Heaven and Dog).

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But it’s kind of rare that I love visual art that’s officially recognised as such. I have no patience for naivistic painters or splotches of colour. Others love it, great. I want to see what it’s supposed to be.

Like these pictures I got at a second hand shop yesterday. I actually hesitated before buying them, only because I was worried they were too vulgar. But so what? I liked them. They fit my hallway. Why is this even an issue?

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Because of prestige. Because liking figurative art, especially if you like it indiscriminately (as in, I’ll hang any old picture of a flower or a boat on the wall as long as it looks like a flower or a boat), is looked down on in some circles. And I get it, I really do. I want my movies to make me think, and I like music that surprises me. I’m not always in the mood for anything lightweight there. But when it comes to visual art, I just don’t want to have to work for it. I want it served on a silver platter. I want it to be pretty.

Because I really love pretty things. Kitschy, vulgar, glittery things that shimmer and sparkle and have lots of colours. I want it to be over the top and gaudy, otherwise what is there to look at?

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Sometimes I think I’m caught in some kind of time warp where I’m compelled to buy things I would have adored as a ten year old. It’s definitely the case with fabric, since I am in no way a seamstress, and yet I can’t help buying all these pretty swaths of cheap, spangled material that I never find a use for except to hang from the ceiling in my Indian room.

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It’s how I write too. Some people would probably call it purple prose. I call it verbal painting, music in words. What’s the point of text if it’s not beautiful? Over-burdened, yes perhaps. And there is also beauty in simplicity. But to translate a feeling into words, you either have to create a situation for your character that sparks the same reaction inside the reader, or you have to create the image for them by conjuring glitter and sparkle with the help of language.

It’s an age-old battle between the ornate and the minimalistic, and neither is an obvious winner. Sometimes you need the baroque, and other times a bare space.They’re different modes that speak of different things. So yes, I love the riot of colour in my home, but I also love artsy black and white photographs of musicians.

Which is all to say fuck all really. 🙂 Here’s a couple of artsy black and white photographs of a musician.

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Floored again

Yesterday I finally did something I’ve been wanting to do for about a year: laid a floor on the landing outside one of our front doors (long story, don’t ask). It’s been an eyesore – ugly plastic carpet with paint stains – but now I suddenly had the energy to do something about it.

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About a year ago, I started on this tiny space by painting the frankly revolting wall green, but I never got any further. The floor is only three metres square, but it’s still a proper project, you know? You still have to drag out all the STUFF and you have to THINK and DO THE THINGS and you’re working in ergonomically horrible positions and it takes time.

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But I’m a firm believer in waiting until your natural instinct – your body – tells you to go ahead instead of working against your energies. So this time, even though I should have been scraping the facade, my instinct guided me to lay floors instead. And because I obeyed that hunch, it went splendidly. 🙂

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And the SATISFACTION. So worth it.

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Moving Pictures…

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… and other stuff, but who can resist a Rush reference?

Anyway, there’s a small room with slanting ceiling on both sides that I’ve used as an office, but I’ve always felt that it was underused and difficult to organize. There are so many dead spaces and weird angles that if you put furniture in the corners, you either bang your head when you get up from sofas and whatnot, or it makes the room feel cramped.

It used to be ugly as well, but I fixed that the first year that we lived here. That wallpaper is some sort of speckled grey, and the floor used to be a yucky dull green. It’s painted a light grey now, but I’d like to put some laminate flooring in there sometime.

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For the longest time, it was decorated with nostalgic stuff like my childhood cuddly toys and mementoes from my trips to England, and I wrote my novels at that desk.

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I tried to make it both an office and a sort of tiny living room, so you could both work and read for pleasure, but it never functioned like I’d envisaged it. Neither of us ever sat there just for fun, so the space used for sitting was wasted.

And the other week, I read a blog post from my favourite blogger who was redecorating her studio, and it struck me: I could make this room a kind of studio as well. It’s a small room, so it wouldn’t be a studio in the traditional sense, but the light is really nice, it’s high up and the window is to the north, so it could really work. The challenge is to use the space creatively and efficiently, and that’s what I’m trying to do at the moment.

Another problem with the house has been that we don’t really have any designated area for artistic stuff – pictures, photos, colours etc, but turning this room into a studio would solve that problem. While it does seem a bit wasteful to dedicate a whole room to pictures, paints and brushes, when I started organizing it all I realized that we actually do need that much space for them. We’ve had all our paintings and artist’s materials in the attic, and I’ve lived with constant lowkey worry that they would be ruined by damp or cold. And also we never used all the things we have because who can be bothered to go into the attic just to fetch a piece of paper?

So, a change was in order.

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All that fine art paper that used to sit in boxes, unused, was ripe for sorting into piles according to colour, size and quality.

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This worthless desk (horrible for sitting at but picturesque because it’s made out of old sugar boxes) now hosts paints, ink and crayons.

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A shelf for the stuff that wouldn’t fit into the desk.

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I threw out the sofa I never sat in and left a single chair.

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All our pictures and paintings are now gathered in one place. Like these efforts from when I was ten, fifteen and eighteen.

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There’s even an easel, which has been kind of difficult to find a place for but which is now allowed to take up quite a lot of space.

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The standing desk doesn’t really fit in with the whole artistic vibe, so we’ll see how long it gets to stay. There’s not really any room for it anywhere else, and I still need a novel-writing nook. Pity not all work stuff is pretty. There’s only so much you can do with a computer screen…

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