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Dec 16, 2010

Sharing Art with the Cat

Ts'ao-shu Dancer I, bronze, 19 in.
Art is the omnipresent human tendency to look beyond the immediate to an imagined possibility. That place always lies beyond the conventional and as such it is always surprising and often alarming. It is what we should expect of art. If we are alarmed and amazed at what we find in art then both we and it are doing it right! This tendency lies directly opposite the direction of our normal activity which is to smooth our lives so that we can achieve our ends without a lot of messing about. That's both admirable and necessary and is how the conventional is formed to begin with. Given that, creativity is the uniquely human gift to be unsatisfied with the conventional answers. And art is the process of then exploring where it is that the heart leads.

In capitalist culture, where only the marketable has value, people are to be used and everyone maximizes their own profit regardless of external expenses, art has too often become commodified as yet another tool for carrying out those aims. But we do a disservice to our humanity when we use art like a commodity in order to undergird our conventions, for instance in using art to make ourselves look better (i.e. buying a status painting). Think about this: there's a reason why we enjoy slightly painful things like hot coffee or spicy foods; our souls are intrigued by challenges that make our bodies recoil. Animals don't behave that way. Why is it that we can so enjoy a hot drink or a dangerous ride but we can never share it with the cat? I think it is pure and simply because they are not creative creatures. The ability to find a strange pleasure in pain or fear is in some way like the opposable thumb- it's not the human secret in itself, but part of the reason why proto-humans were able to take the creative spark and with it launch from nature into culture. This is why we should seek out the slightly painful in art. Because by this path lies carving humanity's way into the future.
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.