In the thick of it all

Final assessment for QUT Creative Industries Study Tour

“Do whatever you do intensely. The artist is the man who leaves the crowd and goes pioneering. With him there is an idea which is his life,” (The Archan School, 1900). This ideal, this notion that to become a successful artist in whatever form that may take, takes that form when artists decide to disobey societal norms and create work that pushes boundaries, work that inspires. As an aspiring artist but more particularly as an aspiring Journalists nothing inspires me more than an artist who has lived via this ideology of difference and created something truly wonderful. Motivation to push the boundaries which seem so tightly in tact in this day and age are hard to come across but one city that seems to consistently push the boundaries is New York City (NYC). From the indescribable architecture that makes the streets abound, (Ellard, 2015), the performance art that is hid in every nook and cranny of the city to the astonishing collections of contemporary art that exist in the galleries and museums, New York is nothing short of creative. My travels through the city, through the eyes of a future Journalist prompted me to consider two main things, including: the role of an art Journalist and how I can push these societal norms within my own writing and the importance of creative city-scapes such as New York’s and how this affects the health of the citizens who live there. My travels to New York have given me ideas of how I can position myself within the creative landscape and understand the positives and negatives this may have on other artists in a similar position to me.

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As I entered or passed by all of the historic architecture and art throughout my time in New York City the one question I always seemed to be considering is how it would have been portrayed within the media and what that meant for the artist’s work. According to the Pacific Journalism Review (2008) Art Journalism plays a key role in the growth of the art world and its economy. So as I travelled around through these pieces of history and simultaneously researched the reviews on their openings etc. it didn’t surprise me that I found lots of contradicting views from sources that I found prominent and others that I had never heard of. So who has the final say and what ultimately decides the cultural and economic value of a piece of art? For me, as I viewed some of these art works, I found myself feeling quite underwhelmed until I had the opportunity to read about the piece or receive an explanation. Contemporary art, in particular has the potential to be seen numerous ways. An art critic or gallery worker will strictly have creative concerns while a Journalist assigned to the story may look no further than what it appears to be and share this opinion with the world, (Pacific Journalism Review, 2008). When reflecting on this realisation, I feel as though my future profession is of absolute significance to the creative culture and the publics understanding of art and architecture as it exists within the creative framework of a city.

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An example of an art work that can quite easily be overlooked is a painting displayed within the Whitney created by ‘Ballas’, an artist from the Ashcan school. This painting depicts a boxing match through the eyes of what actually happened there that night. This sense of “reality” seemed completely out of place when looking at the artworks of that time. The Ashcan school’s art set out to re-create the lives of the working class of NYC, releasing them from the need to consistently be seen as ‘beautiful’. The new approach to seeing the city included unheard of things such as prostitutes on the street. The story of the Ashcan school and their success in rejecting skillful drawing for personal vision really resonated me as they encompass what it means to be a good artist, a good story teller and ultimately a good journalist, (The Archan School, 1900).

Many people discuss the creative city-scape that is NYC and it is constantly depicted within pop-culture but not often does anybody actually discuss what this creative culture is. When you look beyond the bright lights and the buskers you start to see what a completely electrifying creative city actually exists. Colin Ellard (2015) an Environmental Psychologist from the University of Waterloo feels that urban design is a matter of public health and I completely agree. When you walk around the city you find yourself constantly looking up at the majestic skyline, or stumbling across a piece of genius architecture that makes your creative heart sing. An example of a piece of landscape architecture that I really connected with was Paley Park. This stunning little escape is situated within the centre of midtown yet it offers the tranquility that I feel as though I’d only find on an Australian beach. Elizabeth Currid (2007) suggests that creatives such as the likes of Andy Warhol wanted to come to NYC because its “creative scene has always been the cultural center of artistic and cultural production”. NYC today has been gentrified by these pieces of architecture that have begun making themselves home here. This gentrification has allowed from areas that would usually be considered ‘unsafe or ‘dirty’ to successfully converge into a place more upper-class, (Palen, 1984). As you walk around the city you can feel these areas change and the areas still yet to follow

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As a creative, travelling to this liberating city sent the creative blood flowing straight through my veins. It had me questioning and reflecting on societal realities everywhere I went as well as allowing me to truly understand what it means to live and breath such a creative city. With the creativity of the city living and breathing within the street-scapes, the architecture and other overlooked areas I consistently felt immersed in creativity the entire time I was there. I believe this trip has allowed me to look more deeply into things that aren’t always what they seem. It has challenged me to defy the status quo post graduation and create work that allows people to see the world for what it really is.

References

Currid, Elizabeth, 2007. “The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art and Music Drive New York City”. Accessed: 9 December, 2015. https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=WXkjT69Q2XwC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=finding+inspiration+in+New+York&ots=oc33ZRjzfK&sig=Kv-KScAHuFutW4RZwKnKQRf_RN8#v=onepage&q=finding%20inspiration%20in%20New%20York&f=false.

Ellard, Colin, 2015. “Streets with no game”. Accessed 9 December, 2015. https://aeon.co/essays/why-boring-streets-make-pedestrians-stressed-and-unhappy.

Pacific Journalism Review, 2008. “The Public Right to Know”, 14 (2), pp. 141 – 161.

Palen, John & London, Bruce, 1984. “Gentrification, Displacement and Neighbourhood Revitalisation”. Accessed 9 December, 2015. https://books.google.ca/books?hl=en&lr=&id=erdM7YpQZogC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=gentrification+of+new+york&ots=O4DLqN4_C9&sig=mUR3nfWG7wfBA3WISanEbXxvFt8#v=onepage&q=gentrification%20of%20new%20york&f=false

The Art Story Foundation, 2015. “The Archan School”. Accessed:  9 December, 2012. http://www.m.theartstory.org/movement-ashcan-school.htm.

 


 

 

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