Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Excellence In Visual Arts Awards (Revisited)


A friend said recently that the literary and music scenes in Newfoundland and Labrador are light-years ahead of the province's visual artists when it comes to self-promotion, visibility and credibility.

I'm inclined to agree.

I'm inclined to go further, actually.

Fucking STAND UP and SKETCH COMEDY are taken more seriously in this province than the visual arts.

If you're reading this, you must have at least some amount of interest in the visual culture produced in Newfoundland and Labrador. So, I implore you to go to the VANL site to which I've linked above, and NOMINATE artists in the categories available. We have no one but ourselves to blame for the lack of exposure and opportunities in this province for visual artists. No one is going to make our careers for us. These awards are a great chance for us to pat ourselves on the back for our hard work and to garner some attention for ourselves. So please, do it.



Blogger Frank Holden said...

I like your site. I agree that low comedy, gets more attention than visual arts. In fact, it gets more attn than any arts. In fact,it calls itself, and is called " the arts," here in Nfld.
So, what's that say ? If low comedy always has a natural place in every society/culture,(and it does, at the bottom) then what's missing in the culture/society that wants so little of the other equally natural levels from the bottom up ? Is that culture/society repressed or oppressed, pre-democratic, undereducated, primitive, decadent, asleep or what ?
Let's try a little quiz: Which Nflder are you ? Are you,
A) the good-old-time-Downhomer-West of the Overpass Nflder, and all you wants is your bingo and your moose and your stamps,(or your check) ? Are you,
B)the "if you were any good you wouldn't be here" Nflder in such a drinking, smoking, working class rage that you'd sooner move to Alberta than even admit your parents and ancestors suffered TB and poverty, or died in someone else's war for no good reason ? Or perhaps you are,
C) The upwardly mobile, better educated Nflder, with the oversized house, the new car, and a good indoor job wearing Sunday clothes every day and bawling at youngsters 9am to 3pm, or shuffling papers that decide how little your neighbours will get to live on since they're too lazy to get a job or leave Nfld ? Perhaps you are,
D) The wealthy Nflder with half a dozen crab licenses, or the Toyoto dealship, or buddies or relatives on the inside, giving you big contracts, or plum appointments, or easy political ridings, who everyone envies and admires, or is supposed to envy and admire because power and wealth are the only measures of human worth your society/culture has ever known or believed in, and decades of central heating, indoor plumbing, hospitals, schools and higher education haven't laid a glove on it ? Or, of course, are you,
E)any or all of the above ?
I may have left out some Nflders, but I've covered the majority. They love self-degrading low comedy,(Hatching, Matching and Dispatching, as a current example)they don't read a book they don't have to read, they know little and care less about the rest of the world, and MOST CRUCIALLY, they appear to be unconcerned about the present and future health of either their human community or their ecology.
If you sir, or anyone else disagrees, let's have some debate on it. Debate and dissent are a measure of the health of, the hope, the equality within a community. We should welcome all we can get of it.
A society/culture such as ours, without debate, without art, without community is " a big galoot " alright,(to re-phrase Andy Jones and the CBC); it's a big galoot of a zombie lurching onward, until it drops....Frank Holden

5:27 p.m.  
Blogger craigfrancis said...

uh... none of the above. i just think most art made in NL sucks and also i'm loaded and it's five in the fucking morning and i just had to listen to like five million people in St. John's tell me , like, what a work of GENIUS the fur pact show was blah blah blah.
thanks for yer comments Frank.

5:01 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By's why don't you move to New York and get it over with. You both are just too cultured for the rest of us. Maybe the big city can be a bit more inspiring for ya.

2:45 a.m.  
Blogger craigfrancis said...

Ah yes, the classic Newfoundland "You think you're better than me" defense is finally trotted out. I've been waiting for it. So if somebody doesn't tow the party line and go on and on about how wonderfully talented and supportive we all are here in NL and regurgitate the latest cultural tourism claptrap then maybe that person should just leave the province and stop rocking the boat, right? Sorry dude, but I'm not going anywhere, and your off-the-cuff Love It Or Leave It comments aren't going to stop me from continuing to call things as I see them.

However, that being said, I appreciate you taking the time to comment and to disagree, and please always feel welcome to do so. Thanks.

10:12 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't know craig.. i think if you keep it up you may have a future as a critic with a major art rag. you have a true talent as shit disturber. good for you. it takes all sorts to make the world go around...

12:49 p.m.  
Blogger Frank Holden said...

Hi there anonymouse, You sound somewhere between my A) and B) categories above.. Maybe Craig is just doing the spade work for a " good job " when one opens up. But if there are as many Nflders like you as I think there are, who are allergic to anything but stroking and flattery and take as personal insult, as if criticism wasn't a necessary coummunal activity, who always have the lowest possible take on other people's motives, then being just a conscientious critic will never get Craig that job in Nfld. There'll be too many anonymice like you out there voting for your friends.I got a great joke for you:
What did the Nflder say when he saw Jesus walking on the water in Galilee? He said, " Looka dat now, afraid to get into the boat, luh !"
And I'll leave you with a question anonymouse: Why would you bother to do anything, if you didn't want to know the worth and the effect of it ?
...Frank Holden

3:40 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymouse here. It is not a love it or leave it comment or a fear of criticism. I am only wondering why you decide to stay a part of a community (artistic or geographic) that you don't like because it is being itself. Are you trying to be the big fish in a little pond or just afraid of being the little fish lost in a big one? (A fish metaphor..you got to love that one. What kind of Newfoundlander does that make me?) Knock sketch comedy and everything else artistic in Newfoundland if you want, but it is not comming off as critisim just whining.

A nflder joke really? This aint worth the debate.

2:55 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it takes all kinds? shit disturber? Good for you? What kind of condescending bullshit compliment is that? If you can't say it like it is without worrying about offending a small portion of the art community, nothing changes. Like it or not, we are connected to the rest of the world. We don't exist in a bubble of a pond, we just keep the mentality. That's great. I'll just start painting flowers and everyone will like me and we can say how awesome we are and all make love.

4:08 a.m.  
Blogger craigfrancis said...

So let's get this straight: First you accuse me of thinking I'm "too cultured" for everyone else in NL. Now I'm just whining or trying to be the big fish in a small pond.


I encourage you to read what I've written on this blog and attempt to engage with the actual TEXT as opposed to resorting to these lame accusations of snobbery and careerism. You'll find that most of what I've said is positive. If you don't like something I've written, that's fine, we can have a conversation about it and you might change my mind (See my apology to Bruce Johnson), but doubting my motives becasue you don't agree with me is more than a little childish. Thanks.

10:54 a.m.  
Blogger craigfrancis said...

Oh. And I predict that the next claim will be that I'm just jealous of the people I've written a critical review of.

11:05 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wasn't being condescending in the least. i really and honestly meant good for you. i wasn't joking when i said I can see you working for a major art rag. I meant shit disturber in the best sense of the word... no joke. somebody has to be now and then... it a healthy thing for society and culture. how many highly regarded art critics would that description fit? no sarcasm intended. it's not in my nature I assure you.

But you can't expect to be critical and not ruffle a few feathers... use brutally honest language, and people will likely respond in kind. if you are prepared to honest about your feelings/opinions then you should let other people's words roll like water off a ducks back.

btw. as a general rule blogging or commenting while you are drunk is perhaps best avoided.. and that goes for anyone.

2:27 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank, I'm not any of those Newfoundlanders. I pretty sure you left out quite a few people. But I am the kind with a sense of humour...

some art forms are just more accessible. it's as simple as that.

2:33 p.m.  
Blogger craigfrancis said...

uh... herein lies the problem with so many people signing in as anonymous and not choosing "other" from the "choose an identity" options below.

the anonymous comments from 4:08 in the morning are not from me.

i took what you said about me being a shit disturber and the rest as compliments. i just took issue with your saying i wanted to be the big fish in a small pond. what i want is rigour and criticality in addressing the visual arts in NL.

6:01 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are things that sleeply there that nothings happened in a week wake up Sin johns for christ sake.

9:51 p.m.  
Anonymous anon. said...

well there we go again.. because I was the sd anonymous comment and glad you got it in the spirit it was intended... but the other comment wasn't mine. i was only anonymous because ladies try not to use language like that even though i thought it. this could get confusing...

why am i reminded of a bad three's company episode?

(^; jp.

9:04 a.m.  
Anonymous fitsall said...

The whole fucing lot of you should grow up and get a real job, ya all got too much time on your hands.

1:33 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi craig,
your blog seems to be doing well. it is definately entertaining to read all the comments and you are a good judge of things in my opinion. Wondering if you planned on checking out the latest at the RCA gallery. I'm curious to know what you think.

1:41 a.m.  
Blogger craigfrancis said...

to fitsall: dad? is that you? have you been drinking again? what does "fucing" mean?

to danny: i'll be checking it out this weekend and will write something up shortly.

2:03 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'll just start painting flowers and everyone will like me"...

Maybe, but only if you do really, really, really good flower paintings.

"Misfits helping misfits to be free."

12:39 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

after all that
frank you are negative about newfoundlanders. no joy, no talent, no nuthin. i think you are a combo of all your catagories.
anonymous commenting on anonymous that's funny
craig told me to give'em hell but it's sapped outta me
spunk is what its about
oh yeah and knowledge of contemporary art forms right? :)

10:33 p.m.  

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