Have you ever noticed, I mean really taken notice of a Facebook post and had it stick in your mind for weeks? This happened to me recently. It was a silly meme posted by a biker friend that asked this question. "If you had to wear a warning label, what would it be?"
I spend a TON of time driving between clients, 5-600 miles in an average week, and as I am not a fan of noise, I spend most of those driving hours just quietly thinking. Consequently, I have an inordinate amount of time to ponder (notice) "stuff". Many of my art ideas come about while driving and noticing "stuff".
Weeks after having seen that silly warning label meme, I was still considering what my warning label might be, and that led me to ponder what exactly a warning label is. Is it a notice to back away, or just a sign that tells what the situation is in this current location? or both? Would one of my paintings be appropriate as my warning notice? They certainly show the contents and potential consequences of interaction with me, a personally created notification of what I have noticed as it were. Does my art need a warning label of its own? Does it or anyone need a label of any kind at all? Do our labels (our notices) truly make our lives worse, or better? Do they create challenges or alleviate them? In the course of these ponderings I of course wandered through the territory of Grayson Perry's quote and noticed a lot of "stuff". The negative nature of the labels that are being so actively used to create an "us" vs "them" scenario in our country; the dislike I have for labels, and how that difficulty has just increased the longer I work with elders; the difficulty I have labeling even some of my own artwork because I see it as so many different things; the challenge I experience trying to label anything about myself including my warning.
And then there is this: Warning labels really tell people, not the whole truth, but just what we want others to notice. And that information is provided edited through our own prejudices and presented with all our preconceptions embedded handily within our label.
At the end of all this pondering, I did finally narrow my warning label down to two wordy possibilities and one painted one. But the topic; labels? that is still as wide open as the initial quote for this writing.. Artist's notice stuff, that is it. Then we chew through it and regurgitate a vision that may or may not aide your experience. Our vision not necessarily offering you any further clarification or understanding, but instead existing solely to satisfy our need to create from the well of feelings we hold that was created by the stuff we noticed.
Maybe that then is the label. But not one individually appropriate label, one instead for all Artists.
Be Warned: I am an Artist. I notice stuff.
or more simply Artist