During the planning of this short investigation I was reminded of an anecdote I heard about how Don Van Vliet’s art dealer told him that if he ever wanted to be taken seriously as a painter he would have to totally abandon his musical ‘career’, which he dually did. The idea that these two disciplines cannot co-exist, or certainly can’t where money, and where the respected establishments’ vested interests are concerned is a troubling reality. Now in my view one just has to look at the paintings of Van Vliet and it seems wholly understandable that they could come from the same unhinged mind which also created The Trout Mask Replica album (1969). Why these two artistic pursuits which inform one another in a balanced mode of creation, could not be given a platform which exhibits the cohabitation of them in artist’s psyche is a rather sad truth I feel.
The reason why I took the case of John Bryden was because; as I have said in part one:
“Being new to both creative fields, I feel is the only way that an individual might be able to successfully negotiate some of the poignant issues described in my previous categorization of this dilemma.”
I am not entirely sure what, if anything can be determined from my ‘popular music ‘v’ fine art visual’ dichotomy. In the last instance John clearly feels more comfortable or at least more inclined to practice as a somewhat unconventional singer songwriter whom may on occasion adapt his artistic training in order to increase the potential meaning of his music by giving it a physical dimension. This is all good and well, and I personally applaud him for his endeavours in these fields and I hope that he may integrate these two related practices together as often as he deems possible. However I am very much more intrigued by the notion of an artist fully unifying these disciplines (they of course must have a desire to do this and the ability needed for such an undertaking). Expanding and exploring the ideas and actions based around performance and the exhibiting of work, would open up some of these principles; ideally creating a sort of amalgamation, and in turn hopefully start to break down some of the long established scepticism that has always circled around this wistful idealism.
To conclude, I suspect that if this is ever to be achieved then an individual has to set out from the beginning of their creative endeavours as a more all encompassing ‘Artist’. By defining ones own practice and by making work that crosses the boundaries set-up, not by artists themselves but by those whom hold the power in these fields - i.e. the galleries, the art and music ‘businesses’ and the writers/broadcasters whom reaffirm financially driven assertions - then perhaps they may be accepted as such an ‘Artist’. If these traditions can be negotiated and then realigned by practitioners, through the productions of new and interesting work, then it may even herald a new dawn for the art and music worlds combined. By doing this the start of a long standing duality my well be achieved.