Gut is a weird concept. It’s a biological location, but it’s also an abstract word for something nobody knows how to describe, we just know that it’s important. We are supposed to follow our guts. Listen to our guts. I get annoyed when people use phrases like “I love your guts out” or “I’m going to run my guts rotten” because nobody would ever say “I love your pancreas out” or “I’m going to run my mental and emotional meridian rotten.”
It just doesn’t work like that.
When I was in art school there was a more-than-slightly obnoxious Scottish drawing instructor who liked to torment his students into “drawing from the gut” which usually meant looking at your finished work while getting yelled from behind one ear, in the path projectile spittle, eventually leading to a saliva drenched canvas. One time he made everyone in class draw trees while holding conte crayons between our teeth. I hated him. But I will say, as much as I hated him, and he wasn’t a very good teacher, I feel indebted him because he gouged a nugget of something into my brain that has never left. In his spittles streamed Scottish brogue he yelled at nobody in particular; “Pretty speaks to your mind, art speaks to your gut.”
That rule applies to just about everything I suppose; music, writing, dramatic performances…even boring stuff like business, or complicated stuff like relationships. The world is filled with plenty of fantastic, beautiful, interesting, pretty things, but very few of them itch your gut, and when it’s art.
Sometimes people ask me the difference between art and craft, and I suppose that standard applies too. Just because you make something with your hands doesn’t make it art, but when you make it from your heart, from your guts, that’s when it’s art. There are artists who make crafts, and crafters who make art. I usually don’t feel much need to compartmentalize the two, but the other day I was flipping through pinterest and I saw an image of one of Anne Ten Donkelaar’s flower collages and the caption read “This would make a great craft project” and I nearly leaped out of my bathrobe and through the screen to say THAT IS NOT CRAFT THAT IS ART.
Pretty speaks to your mind, art speaks to your gut.
So. Ten minutes of cyber stalking later, I come to scour her website and am totally blown away by these delicate works of art. I believe they are mostly photos of flowers that are then cut and glued pieces onto real pieces of dried twigs and grasses, then mounted on pins and frames. You can see the shadows…
Is that not incredible?
This soooooo speaks to my gut.
I’m tempted to try and DIY something similar on my own, but I don’t want to. I want to remember the impact and the feeling I have just looking at these works as they are, over the internet, on my laptop, speaking to my gut. That’s art.
Go see more incredible art over at Anne Ten Donkelaar’s website. Because even if you aren’t into to flower collages, she has a number in the middle of her name and that is really badass. I’m pretty sure that’s just a Dutch name thing, but I’m not above switching my name to Aunt Seven Peaches.
It could happen.