Art as a Career

While at primary school I realised art was important because humans are a type of ape and as you know Gibbons and chimpanzees are very accomplished artists, so it is appropriate that we should follow in their footsteps, as they’ve been around a lot longer than us.

As a child I drew a lot, mainly battleships, cowboys and Roman torture chambers. My teacher always said if you can draw a battleship steaming through the North Sea you could draw anything. But as we all know a running horse is the most difficult subject to portray accurately. I also did rude pictures, like cows with enormous udders, which I was always very careful to hide from my mother.

I grew up in New Zealand and as I wasn’t much good at sport or fighting being artistic gave me a means of gaining respect from my peers. At high school I did art and borrowed art books from the library and copied pictures from them, which helped me get the hang of painting. After coming to Australia I went to art school, started exhibiting at Watters Gallery and also started playing in bands which led to making posters and record covers. This led to work for Mambo.

I thoroughly recommend art as a challenging and inspirational activity to pursue in your life, but if you were keen on immediate financial security I would think twice about it because it can be a difficult area to make a living in. It can be wise to get a day job as an engineer, quantum physicist or army officer particularly if you intend to be a fine artist rather than a coarse artist.

Art Theory

When a monkey is born it will proceed to effortlessly produce art of high quality. Humans, themselves a type of foul-mouthed ape, have been inspired by this to produce art of their own, although it is of dubious quality when compared to that of the ape world. Our art is over complicated by our dysfunctional civilization with all its hideous violence, smug triumphalism and cheesy sentimentality.

Many professional artists are too dazzled by the pompous high seriousness and tedious theory of the art world to produce good work. Because the production of art is one of the more ridiculous activities practiced by humans, along with sex and dancing, it is best left to those misfits and outsiders who are less constrained by the rigors of normality. The best art is produced by children, mad people, prisoners, simpletons and rural peasants.

Art is good. It makes you happy. Art is a frightened, wet animal howling at the moon. It is ranting, futile gestures, gobs of paint and plaster hurled at wall and floor. Art is worth a lot of money. Art is a legitimate escape from the tedium of the factory or the supermarket. It helps people to avoid the real world. Art is a reflection of the glory of the visible world and a garbled commentary on the internal and invisible worlds. Art is a picture no artist could paint. It is a pretty cottage, glowing in the twilight. Art is a length of severed intestine glistening on the asphalt after a brutal traffic accident.

Art is a constant struggle to overcome the technical difficulties of accurately rendering a galloping stallion or the smoke from a chimney or a women’s face (without buggering up the eyes). To do good art you have to think like a monkey, drink like a horse and dress like a clown.


© 2022 Reg Mombassa