The Arts: A Genuine Perspective on Red Tape

As a matter of priority, please accept my apologies.  I am trying to formulate my thoughts about Art and restricted creativity (rather clumsily) in a public space.

In order to feel suitably exorcised of these vague subconscious ramblings, I must at least try to bring them (authentically) into the realm of conscious thought.

Please correct my assertions where necessary.

Where does the Artist sit within 2018?

Is the current expectation of the Artist, solely to produce work based upon societal expectations as to what is deemed “palatable” or “saleable” to the masses?

Even within the construction of my own website I started by choosing subjects matters of which I felt I possessed the most authority and aimed to compose what I thought would be valuable content around these subject matters.

But who am I to dictate or assume what is of value to others?

Do we always need to start something with intention, regulations and restrictions or can we just be?

When truly in a flow state, everything seems to come naturally, my creations flow onto the page and it is in no way forced.  It feels…easy?  Work created in this state usually produces better outcomes.  But if someone was to ask the exact meaning of the work, I couldn’t communicate it with any immediacy.

I would like to think the outcome would be aesthetically pleasing, but the underpinning thoughts remain as abstract as the outcome – still in the infant stages of conscious realisation.  The works in question did not originate from specific intentions, rather a simple decision to start.

Regulating Art Presentation

Take for example the case of gallery submissions strict rules are often affirmed; canvases must be this exact size, all work must be framed, absolutely NO prints. Whilst I understand the practical rationale behind some of these regulations, I can’t help but ponder, how do you accurately cage an idea or feeling?

Often it is arduous enough to manifest visual representations into the physical realm; creating something from nothing can be a demanding feat.

Should we then add further restrictions to this process?

What if a particular artwork doesn’t look great in a frame?

Or an artist has produced a digital piece?

Should artists reach gallery expectations or do we all need to think of more creative ways to display artwork authentically on a case by case basis?

A Conclusion of Sorts

I think this brings me to the possible point of these ramblings. Do the arts always need restrictions and set outcomes…the same visual can mean different things to different people.  Art to me represents freedom of expression and bringing forth meaning from chaos.  I don’t find red tape and outcome based thinking helps with this process.

I have posed more questions than answers within this piece.

I would really love to hear other perspectives on the topics discussed, please comment and share your views.


  1. Ellis Woolley

    May 22, 2018 at 8:33 am

    I love how you shared all of your thoughts surrounding artists and expectations, I’ve never thought about doing something like this before. I agree with everything you said too, I love to see artists who just don’t care and continue to express themselves no matter what 🙂 x x
    Ellis //

    1. Rachael Hope

      May 22, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      Yes deffo ! Sometimes you just have to let loose 🙂 thanks so much for commenting x

  2. Alan

    May 22, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    Art v Craft: I’ve always maintained that ‘art’ is thought – the mental act of seeing and formulating an idea. ‘Craft’ is the physical means of communicating that idea to other people. One is no good without the other. If you are painting for a known market it tends away from art (lack of original thought) and towards craft (formulaic products). You don’t move forward. I draw and paint what makes me want to pick up a pencil or brush. I don’t chase sales – probably why I don’t get many. 🙁 As for gallery regulations / stipulations, I’ve never known any to be unwarranted. Maybe I’ve been lucky. Every rule I’ve had to abide by have been for the good of the gallery and the artist.

    1. Rachael Hope

      May 23, 2018 at 5:40 am

      Yes I can definitely see your point and an interesting thought process. I think my issue is having to adjust an idea to account for the end game stipulations rather than just letting it flow/be. Personally I find that takes joy away from the process. Like I said I do appreciate the aspect of practicality. But there is so much fun to be had in starting with minimum constraints and then finding a way to display the work to best fit it as an individual piece…this adds an extra dimension of problem solving, uniqueness and creativity. I lean more towards surface design, because the product doesn’t dictate the art, the art dictates the product. Does this product suit my art is the question I ask, if not I change the product but the art stays. Personally I have always begrudged having to change a piece to fit gallery regulations (even the practical ones) this has become enough to stop me submitting at all. The no prints one got me recently; as far as I can see that excludes the digital artists out there?

      1. Alan

        May 24, 2018 at 7:43 pm

        I draw and paint what inspires me without any thought given to exhibiting. If I can find an outlet that my work fits then I’ll submit. If not, it’s not important. I’ve already had my enjoyment. Positive feedback in any form is welcome but it doesn’t affect my choice of subject or treatment. In short, I see who wants what I’ve already done rather than adapting to someone else’s parameters.

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