I made my very first full-framed art purchase last week. It was a humbling experience. It was an “adult moment” for me, feeling old enough to afford art. I grew up in a household where art was embraced in all sorts of form. My mother took me to art museums every weekend, mainly to accompany her to curate our collection. Every other week day was applauding at concert halls or singing along with musical characters. Whether we were in Seoul, Boston, Jakarta, San Francisco or Tokyo it was a family trademark to set foot into the realm of artists, expressions, and imaginations.
Growing up, whatever art I created instantly received a standing ovation, followed by (embarrassing but) framing and mounting them on our walls. There was no such thing as bad art. My mom plastered my bedroom walls with empty foot-long sheets to encourage my spontaneity in drawing or painting. And so, my desire to achieve creativity in all that I do had been formed, and my dream to one day own a gallery has yet to come true.
Anyway, a few months ago a small print art gallery opened behind our home. In Korea, it’s difficult to find affordable art. All costs aside, it’s also a challenge to find good, appreciative art. So when the new gallery opened, I was ecstatic. Their main print collection showcased Damien Hirst. Probably the most valued artist in the West today. He’s known for his diamond skull titled For the Love of God… apparently encrusted with 1000+ carat diamonds. I would never display skull art, but if you observe for awhile, you’ll notice how Hirst beautifies death, a concept that carries perfunctory sadness, darkness, and negativity. The skull is smiling. Death is something that nobody wants, yet diamonds is something everybody wants. So a diamond skull; to want or not to want?
His lesser known collection (although now apparently is spreading across the globe like wild fire) is his Spot Paintings. Originally trying to capture the hallucination from drug usage, every dot is differently colored and symmetrically aligned. The print I purchased is named after a drug but I’ve interpreted the art away from this. It’s so simple, so organized, and captures the right amount of colors. From afar, the lighter colored dots are not as visible, so there’s this white space that changes from very viewing angle for my imaginations to complete the artwork.
I never thought I’d find aesthetic value in a painting that many may claim “I could have made this”. But I think this goes back to how my mother cultivated my imaginations so that there would never be “bad” art to judge. All in all, Damien Hirst and my mom has no relations as the entry title may suggest. But both have brought art into my life. Plus, I’d like to think my mom would love my choice of purchase too. Art, in my opinion, doesn’t stop on the canvas. Art may begin with an artist, but it ends with us. I hope everybody finds the kind of art that completes, well, life in some sense.
Hirst with one of his paintings, 2012.
dee’s recommendation: 5/5!