On the Proper Use of Art Materials / by Chris Hall

“Art – my slats!  Guts!  Guts!  Life!  Life!  I can paint with a shoe-string dipped in pitch and lard.” George Luks.

In art is good to use the right tools for your project, and to use the best quality material possible, but this isn't a hard rule, and we shouldn't let some notion of the proper use of materials prevent experimentation.  Art products can become so specialized in their application and use that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with the latest innovation.  At times it is good to remember that the cave artists of long ago managed just fine with spit and clay pigment.  Some artists can be quite dictatorial and will insist on specific art brands when there are many other viable options.  I favor a more democratic approach to using materials.  If today you can not afford the cadmium red, go for the cadmium red hue.  If today you can not afford the Rives BFK, go for the Stonehenge.  So long as it doesn't cause your project to physically fall apart, I am fine.  What matters is that you are making art today, and not waiting until tomorrow.  Art needn't be made of fancy materials for it to be successful.  Nine times out of ten, the artist makes it or breaks it, not the art materials.  A real artist, after all, can transform a pile of trash into a masterpiece.  Art can be an physical and material inquiry just as much as an philosophical, psychological, or spiritual inquiry.  So remain open minded in your use of materials and experiment a little.  Go ahead and search, and discover something new.  Who knows, you might just produce something really fucked up and interesting!