Kids, pencil on paper, 2015
There is a problem and it is about skin. It is about those features that are called racial. The ones that divide us in some ways very artificially and mostly naturally make a visual difference we pay attention to. We make our judgment via eyesight and learn how we should look and what looking like something means. We notice our differences in appearance immediately, but why we do not take difference for granted as a gift but a threat. It is the one thing we pay attention to, we understand to be born with difference is what we are, but to accept difference as worthy in reality is challenging. Children do not discriminate in the ways adults do. They learn to discriminate and bully and create value systems.
Skin has been an interest of mine ever since I started studying art. It is the one thing that is very hard to depict and picture regardless of skin color. My sculpting teacher was determinate to teach portraiture and it was the one most important thing after posture how skin appeals (appears on a work of art) and comes to life in sculpting, and hair, the other matter. It is interesting when you use clay, stone, plaster, wood or whatever material to make it look alive and interesting to the eye. Is it a question of symmetry and asymmetry, harmony and disharmony how we see or what we want to see, because disharmony and chaos for eyes is what we reject, but is constant before us. To blend in is safe (Zebras prove this), but do I want to blend in as an artist? Is that what artist should do?
On the matter of race, I trust science, which has not been able to find evidence of its existence, so I speak of peoples and ethnicities. I also keep race and religion separate and all religions must be critiqued. Religious feelings aren’t something to protect. In art there also is confusion about race and that white people don’t face racism. I find it disturbing and not understanding where race theories come from and have been all about, which black and white against each other tell and black victimhood as a constant narrative: slavery is all humankind concerning issue still today. Skin color is signifying difference, but race theories do stretch much further. Your black skin doesn’t justify racism against white people and I don’t have to think anything of skin, on basis of skin and current discussions have made me notice skin color and actively think of different groups of people via their supposed victim status. Stereotypes of ethnicities do live on despite the color of skin and they have a strong racist undertone. For an artist color is a very basic tool, what colors mean and do in the world other than sell things.
What comes to stalking and bullying, won’t be changing my opinions. White working class background probably has impacted my worldview. I don’t despise work, poverty nor judge by appearance, looking from grassroot up is eye-opening and the class aspect in art is strong. Biases against working class in art do play a role which doesn’t make the art world look good. Just saying..