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  • Writer's pictureStuart Sheldon

Tap That!

If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing.

African Proverb

My latest piece installed in Wynwood during Art Basel Miami Beach

The Class-5 hurricane called Art Basel just made land in Miami once again. Tap That!, above, is my latest addition to this whirled-wide party, a double entendre of cut scraps culled from the last 10 years of drawings, sketches and paintings.

Trash into treasure.

Speaking of which, artist Agustina Woodgate wows with her monumental sewn assemblage of previously-owned toy stuffed animal pelts. If you’re in Miami, don’t miss it. If not, find her online and enjoy her beautiful mind. Agustina and her gallerist and dear friend, Anthony Spinello, are two of the reasons Miami is justifiably all the rage in the world of art right now.

Photo by Seth Browarnik

Woodgate before her epic and heavenly assemblage titled, Milky Ways. Photo by Seth Browarnik

The title, Tap That!, commands you to do 2 ESSENTIAL THINGS to crank your quality-of-life dial to 11:

  1. Access your personal creative reservoir. I don’t care if you scrub toilets for a living, we all have our own song inside. SING IT … and forget about who may be listening.

  2. Well, you know…

Tap That!, acrylic and collage on canvas, 60"x60", 2013, Stuart Sheldon

Tap That!, acrylic and collage on unstretched canvas, 60″x60″, 2013, Stuart Sheldon, $3000

My post, I Don’t Know How To Look At Art, explored the common phenomena of people intimidated by the notion of consuming art. As if only MFAs and jet-set snobs in ascots can understand it. Remember that there is no danger in standing before a canvas and simply feeling whatever it makes you feel. You are the final arbiter of its subjective value, not the editors at Art in America.

That’s not to say all art is as proficient as Agustina’s.

Even at the world’s premier collection of contemporary work, I’m amazed at how much of it makes me feel my 5-yr-old could have done better.

Then again, a great deal of it does makes me feel very deeply: joyful, somber, disturbed, enthralled. I’m already excited by work I’ve discovered this week. For example, this simple piece below, made from scraps of wood and hardware by a young promising sculptor.

Battleship, found wood, hardware, popsicle sticks, 2013

Battleship, found wood, hardware, popsicle sticks, 2013

This quiet little assemblage is balanced, confident and clear in its representational goal.  It speaks to my love of found material and order from chaos.

OK, I admit it! The piece was done by my 5-yr-old.

But I still stand behind my assessment of its excellence. As I guy who didn’t start making paintings and sculpture till my mid-30s, I marvel at my boy’s innate artistic impulses (he did this piece entirely on his own; I did not help him in any way other than to glue the popsicle sticks where he told me to).

Kai lets his creative urges run free, for better or worse. He does not edit initially (the greatest skill of any creator). He simply expels and lets the juice pour, uncoached and unprodded. This approach defines art in its purest state – the unfettered convergence of enthusiasm, focus and passion. That convergence is where the magic happens, no matter the profession.

We all have this ability to create with enthusiasm, whether we have actual artistic skill or not.  

This guy is definitely an artist

So, wherever you are in the world, whatever you are doing. Do it with style. With attention to detail. Do it artfully.

And, sing a bit while you’re at it. At least hum.

Detail. See this piece during Basel and after at KI Studios in Wynwood 89 NE 27TH ST UNIT 114 Miami, FL (305) 576-1052

Detail. See this piece during Basel and after at KI Studios in Wynwood 89 NE 27TH ST UNIT 114 Miami, FL (305) 576-1052

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