An Essay By an Artist: Nero’s Violin

Judson Vereen at Poetic Outlaws: My encounters with critics are minimal, yet explosive. They will rip everything apart if they can. Right off the bat, they want what they want, and if they don’t get it, then it is you that has failed. Yes, one must rally against this. Must exercise and train that life-rhythm that obeys no communal sense of time, space, or even logic. This may be what we call insanity, but it is also the stuff of the dreamers. And that is what I mean about academia, critics, the overly philosophical—why I rally so hard against it. It’s the one thing I have—no real training. No diploma. No degree. If a man goes to business school, we then call him a business man. To law school, then a lawyer.

We must hold the artist to a higher standard, if “life” is to be their domain. Life begins where the classroom ends—unless one takes the classroom everywhere they go—too much school, it poisons the mind. And so goes the fate of the artists today—to forever be an art student. To make art as if it were a job; to put on exhibitions as if they were homework. God, it bores me to tears. It bores everyone to tears.

The art schools put the art out front, like a factory does its product, like a canned good. But the artist must know it is not about what one creates, but how one lives. The greatest production of the artist is their own life—to make no compromises, to make no concessions, to take no gruff, to refuse to be bullied into or out of this or that way of life. No work of art can compare to the courage of a far-flung artist, travelling through the void, making sparks of life here and there, setting fire to this or that, and ultimately, just being. Being without fear. Without reservation.

Yes, the artist has been corrupted-the artist is playing catch up in a game they need not play—just being, is the way. If one does not know what to do, then do nothing, I say. I love to work in a fury, but I also like doing nothing. I am never busy. I am always willing to walk away from my work for a stroll, a chat with a friend, a drink or two ‘til late.

Art: Judson Vereen

In this way, one can eradicate the need for hope, prayer, faith, preparedness—all things that lead to the future are doomed. The fate of the artist is also doomed, but better that they know it and just get on with living.

The artist has only one minute at a time, each minute could be explosive, but at the very least, those moments are the artist’s and the artist’s alone. Such is true for all mankind—which is why the classroom is unnecessary, and nobody is prevented from being an artist, except those who think it’s their job. Sounds like a sick joke, but it is true. I know how I sound, but I mean it. Art is not a serious thing. There is nothing that should be done more seriously than being silly as much as possible.

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Judson Vereen is a multidisciplinary artist and author born in 1986 in Atlanta, Georgia. His work in painting includes, but is not limited to, large scale abstractions, collage works, and assemblage. Drawing from the New York School and the abstract expressionists, Vereen creates brooding, emotional works that function as the artist’s living diary.

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