14.10.05

无印良品 No labels please!

"Art for art sake? art for business sake?....I say why not just art for goodness sake!"

This was the answer of a senior civil servant everytime he was asked for his views on the role of the arts given Singapore's commercial values and economically-driven development. Both J and I are rather fond of him - I like to think he is a daydreamer too.


4x4Episodes of Singapore art. Channelnews Asia will probably do re-runs of this series about 4 Singapore artists. (I found it a tad pretentious and trying...OK, Director, I know it's a show about ART already, you don't have to keep reminding me how I should find this difficult or strange.)

Somewhere, sometime in history, art became known as art. It must have started with those steam engines.... They gave birth to industrialisation. And industrialisation created, other than mass-produced consumables, labels such as the artist, the engineer, the designer (I think the craftsman got beaten back to the diseased dark ages). Now that the industrial age has kind of given way to the information and ideas age, we don't just have the artist, we have the creative class!

But the best work gets done, sometimes quietly, often together with or for people who will be happy to pay for what they see, read and, yes, use. Because it pleases them, soothes them, charms them, moves them, informs them, amuses them, disturbs them, challenges them, flatters them, serves them. As Tym obviously experienced today, viewing the artworks that students have prepared for their A-level examinations.

J has been asking me why not I quit my job (now that I am finally bondfree!) and be "an artist". Well, I don't qualify - no art degree or diploma lah, not even an "A-level" exam grade! - I like my monthly paycheck, and really, I don't want to bear that label. Making this is just an excuse, but I think it is more fun being free to do what you like without the burden of a label.

But here are folks happy to try on the artist tag for 30 days! For those of you who had followed the adventures of Chin Yew, the 30-day artist, he has made his personal 30-day challenge into an open one. Basically, anyone who might want to do the same thing can ride on the website and blog he has already started. For this month of October, Ming picks up where Chin Yew stopped.

Friend, perhaps you will be "the November artist"? It may be label you wear for 30 days, but I know your best work goes on beyond that.

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