Mary E. Martin
Sep 30, 2014 12:40AM

I approach visual art neither as a painter nor an art critic. My perspective is that of a novelist. What’s the connection? I “create” artists as characters for some of my books [The Remembrance Trilogy, The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde and Night Crossing].

To do that, I try to imagine what drives painters and other visual artists. What possesses them to make something out of nothing? What paths do they take to find their muses? What else they find along the way? That may be the most interesting question of all!

The Artsy.Net Site  is a wonderful place where you can find and discuss just about any kind of art.  Happily I was referred by them to a great article in The Huffington Post written by Matthew Israel entitled “Is Banksy Over?” Decidedly not according to Matthew Israel, art historian and director of the Art Genome Project.

 In the article, Matthew Israel makes many convincing arguments against the notion that “Banksy is over.” but this one really resonates with me.

Israel  says—“The one I like the best is that his work is  often thought-provoking and/or requires a substantial amount of technical skill (outside of just being able to paint). He consistently avoids the one-liner (one-dimensional interpretation) in his work in favor of more thought-provoking (even if funny) messages. People still debate the meaning of his “Girl With Balloon” and his seemingly direct works are even worth a second look. Take his “This is My New York Accent,”

For me, “Girl with a Balloon” probably needn’t mean anything other than she [whether real or imagined] simply exists. Perhaps she evokes a  sense of lost and distant childhood which we all carry within us. As to “My New York Accent”, it catches the eye and brings a smile.

This excellent article disputes the validity of the question whether Banksy is over.

Three thoughts come to mind.

That question implies that an artist’s popularity at any given time indicates the value of his artistry. We all know there are innumerable artists [novelists included] who are never recognized in their lifetimes.I read somewhere that you know it’s art if you are drawn back to it time and again and each time you come away with something new.Banksy is the trickster—the one who turns convention on its head—like a necessary force of nature to push and prod the messy creative process along.

And that’s where I become very interested. When writing The Trilogy of Remembrance [the novels about artists] my starring character, Alexander Wainwright, is Britain’s finest landscape painter. His nemesis is Rinaldo, a conceptual artist. No two men could be farther apart in their natures, temperament, world views or art.

If it were not for Banksy, art would be confined to gallery walls and there would not be such great street art.

And if there were no Rinaldo, the trickster, there would be no story to tell!

But look at the last image--the painting on the street! Could this be Rinaldo’s concept of graffiti or street art? Amazing combination of the traditional and the avant-garde!

You’ll find more about The Trilogy of Remembrance, Alexander and Rinaldo right here  Martin at Amazon


Mary E. Martin