Thursday, December 27, 2012

An Insightful and Somewhat Sad Stamp

I used to enjoy visiting the Paper Source store just west of the Lawson House YMCA where I lived for 19 years in Chicago. They had a wide selection of rubber art stamps, as did the Pearl art supply store right across the street on Chicago Avenue. I would periodically stop in that store and browse through the latest issue of RubberStampMadness magazine. I was interested, as a person who enjoyed creating line art drawings with ultrafine pens on Claybord, in seeing how people were making money by making and selling rubber art stamps. Some were quite nice, and used stippling, crosshatching and other line art techniques to simulate gray tones. Of course, they were fairly small, and the resolution which was possible with rubber stamps was fairly limited, but within those limitations, some nice pieces of art could be created for use by scrapbookers and so forth.

Just now, I visited the website for Rubber Stamp Plantation, a Hawaiian store carrying rubber art stamps. On this page, they had a rubber stamp saying, "Art is Anything You Can Get Away With". That is so true! And I can't help but think that it's very unfortunate.

There are no standards anymore in the world of art. Now, I'm all for freedom of expression, and I do not by any means advocate a repressive, Nazi-like society which tells artists how to use their talents. But a little bit of self-policing would not be such a bad thing, it seems to me. I could not believe the trash I saw during one art show they held out on Navy Pier in Chicago. (In all fairness, it was not ALL worthless, but some of it was downright childish, and not in a good way.) Just because there are no laws or legal penalties which would circumscribe what artists can and cannot do does not mean that art does not suffer, or that the society does not suffer, when artists impose no limits on themselves.

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