I’ve posted a new auction on eBay. A pretty little picture called “As Above, So Below.” The colors of the sky blend with the colors of the ground and are joined together with the tree. I’ve put a picture of it below, though the picture cannot due justice to the real thing.
Now, I just want to state for the record that my artwork is in no way abstract. I’m starting to wonder if the wonder world of eBay is truly destroying abstract art. It seems like every piece of artwork labeled with the word “abstract” is selling. It’s become a buzzword. Right now, there’s a piece of art labeled as abstract when it’s really minimalistic art. It’s a sky and a horizon — clearly these things. Another is a guitar. Hello, it’s a picture of a guitar. What’s abstract about that? If the painting resembles anything, including perfect shapes like squares or rectangles or circles, then it’s not abstract. The whole point of abstract art is that it’s incomprehensible. It’s a puzzle for the mind to work out because we always seek shapes (that’s why people automatically look for the “face” in objects), but there isn’t one because there are no shapes or consistencies. It’s the kind of art that you look at and think that your 3 year old could do and wonder why it’s selling for $10,000. Okay, obviously I’m not a fan of abstract art, but I dislike calling something abstract just so it will sell.
So, the question is what should I do? Since “abstract” is a keyword that people are searching for, then it’s worth putting in the title, but how can I as an artist push that further without feeling like I’m discounting my own artistic integrity?
I had been having issues over the classification of my art over this summer. I couldn’t call it a landscape because it really doesn’t even fit the classification or style of true landscape paintings. My work was more like a landscape with a tree in it. The colors are so bright it’s nearly unreal — I have seen some spectacular colors in the landscape, so I know they exist and I’ve just magnified them. For awhile I though surreal might fit the bill for a label, but after studying the optical illusions of several great surrealistic artists, I realized that it didn’t fit either. So what to call my work? How should it be classified?
I thought about modern. Yes, modern art. Not to be confused with pop art. Well, modern art didn’t fit it either. Yes, it’s contemporary and not just because it wasn’t painted 100 years ago. But the work didn’t have the feel of modern art. So I kept thinking.
Then one day at a fair, I had a lady enter my booth and start looking at my work. She looked up at me and said, “Ethreal trees. Isn’t that what they are?”
I stammered out an answer, something about not really having a classification, but that I liked the way she phrased it. Afterwards, I started calling them my ethreal trees and it’s felt comfortable. But here we get back to eBay and what to call them. I doubt very many people search for “ethreal.” Of course, if it were a search term, it would be my luck that I’d be doing something entirely different. Anyway, I decided on the phrase “Abstract Ethreal.” Is that saying nothing about nonexistance or what? Well, we’ll see how it turns out.