Inspired Artist: Nick Cave

Art is so much more than what hangs on the wall in galleries or in your home. Art is an experience for all the senses. It should be felt with all your senses. For me, art is beauty, and life, and a representation of all that is right and wrong in the world.

Defining art has always been somewhat controversial.  According to the Standford Dictionary of Philosophy, “Contemporary definitions are of two main sorts. One distinctively modern, conventionalist, sort of definition focuses on art’s institutional features, emphasizing the way art changes over time, modern works that appear to break radically with all traditional art, and the relational properties of artworks that depend on works’ relations to art history, art genres, etc. The less conventionalist sort of contemporary definition makes use of a broader, more traditional concept of aesthetic properties that includes more than art-relational ones, and focuses on art’s pan-cultural and trans-historical characteristics.”

One current artist that is considered controversial is Nick Cave. Cave’s Soundsuits are wearable mixed-media sculptures that incorporate every material imaginable to make sounds unique to each garment.  In a recent New York Times Article, Cave recalls what he was thinking when he made his first Soundsuit out of fallen twigs gathered from Chicago’s Grant Park.

“It was a very hard year for me because of everything that came out of the Rodney King beating,” he said. “I started thinking about myself more and more as a black man — as someone who was discarded, devalued, viewed as less than.”

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One day, sitting on a bench in Grant Park in Chicago, he saw twigs on the ground in a new light: they looked forsaken too. He gathered them by the armful and cut them into three-inch sticks. He drilled holes through the sticks, so he could wire them to an undergarment of his own creation, completely covering the fabric.

As soon as the twig sculpture was finished, he said, he realized that he could wear it as a second skin: “I put it on and jumped around and was just amazed. It made this fabulous rustling sound. And because it was so heavy, I had to stand very erect, and that alone brought the idea of dance back into my head.”