I am often asked, ‘What inspires you as an artist?’ – a question that has prompted me to assess my current body of work. A lot of my paintings have an emphasis on the concept of ‘work’, and I have spent some time analysing the reason behind this recently; to shed some light on this to help my audience further understand my work.

Where we have gone wrong. My thoughts.

When I look up to the stars through the skylights in my bedroom every night before bed (this is also when I generally get my creative ideas), I contemplate life and often wonder if we have misconstrued our role on earth. Deep, I know! This is perhaps the most important part of my work as an artist. I am not simply painting objects I hope people will enjoy/buy. I am, more importantly, building narratives and concepts that form the basis of my work.

Years of reflection has led me to believe that our purpose should ultimately be to exist where you are and experience things as they are here and now rather than in some romanticised past or future.

In my opinion we have little understanding of reality and its true contents. We have simply spent time and resources on the wrong things (on the most part).

The main thing modern society have got wrong is our approach to work.

As a member of society, you are involved by and large in a very strange business system which divides your day into work and play. Work is something that everybody does and you get paid to do it because nobody could care less about doing it.

In other words, it is so abominable and boring that you can get paid for doing it. And the object of doing this is to make money. And the object of making money, is to go home and enjoy the money that you’ve made. When you’ve got it, you see, you can buy pleasure.

Biologically, there is no such thing as a set requirement to do a set amount of work. We’re programmed to strive for things and to struggle for survival, which itself is one definition of work, but overall, the concept of sacrificing time for money is a cultural construct.

There’s a mental contrast between the things we enjoy and the things we do in order to maintain our ability to do the things we enjoy.

Generally speaking, work is the opposite of leisure. Not for all but for most.

Even if you enjoy your work we have an ingrained social narrative that you’re “working” when doing that thing causes you to see your tasks and your demands as things that are enforced on you rather than chosen. And we do it because we ‘need’ money. We do not, quite simply. I might also add that, without money, we stop destroying the world via the many ways in which we do e.g pumping plastic into our oceans.

Conclusion

There are flaws in the modern concept of work. It’s something that takes up more of our time than almost anything else in life, and yet, it’s also a major source of human misery. We contrast it with leisure, and as a result, we treat it like a thing that’s the opposite of leisure.

You play because it’s enjoyable, not because you’re chasing some imagined destination of success. Work without money offers an authentic destination of success. This mindset could turn work into play; and help counteract misery of all life on earth.

Although this probably sounds rather deep and profound, it’s important that I contextualise my visual work, and thus the message I am spreading.

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