Ideas Worth Wearing
We're led to believe that there's a hierarchy in art. You know, fine art - that's the best; mass-produced art - that's no better than advertising; and digital art – well, anyone can do that, right?
Maybe there is a hierarchy, but there are plenty of 'originals' that are distinctively average; there are instances of 'fine art' that are bereft of ideas; and Andy Warhol overcame the notion that mass-produced products and art wouldn't appeal to art collectors. As far as digital art goes; it's part of our inescapable future. The rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), with sales now into tens of $millions, shows that there's value. Of course they're not short of inflated hype, but then that's not something that the art industry has shied away from in the past.
Look, what I want to do above all is to create art that makes you think about the wider world and where it's going. I'm not wedded to digital - I'd love to use aerosol spray cans, stencils and mixed media more. I'm not yet into NFTs. One day perhaps, when the froth and vapour has evaporated.
What I do believe in, is the idea that the medium - with which an
artist works - speaks to them. It's the role of an artist to respond in
kind. I also believe that art, as well as upcycled objects, have a ‘natural home’.
In my case, the 'natural home' for a lot of my designs is to be worn, to be carried, or to be hung in the home, but not necessarily printed on paper behind reflective frames. This is why I have partnered with Redbubble
to create a shop with hundreds of products appropriate to my
designs. Perfect as gifts, especially for those who have limited space for non-practical things, like art...
At the heart of my 'Merch' range, is the ironic definition T-shirt. If much of my art is about showing you one thing while meaning the
opposite, so that you might reflect on why all is not as it seems, then lets get a definition out there on what irony is; and then of course, subvert it.
A natural way of doing this is to define not irony, but to imagine
the dictionary definition of 'ironic T-shirt', and then bring in dramatic irony to subvert. This means starting with Ancient Greece, as all things 'Western'
must, where protagonists in Greek plays often didn't know that they were in a tragedy, comedy, or farce... So one ironic T-shirt definitions reads:
The use of words to convey a meaning on wearable cotton
material, that is the opposite of its literal meaning, often not grasped by the wearer.
You can work it out for yourself, but I love the idea that the
wearer does not know that the ironic T-shirt that they have gone out and bought and are now wearing, is ironic. That's ironic.
I know, it’s a bit meta, right? But this concept is central to observational comedy, and to life itself. Are we not sheep that flock? If a sheep does not flock, is it a sheep at all? And who is the shepherd in this…field?
There is a 'I am not a sheep' T-shirt of course too... You can choose from a large selection of ironic designs in my Redbubble shop, and not only T-shirts, but baseball caps, clocks, duvet covers, coasters, phone
cases, shower curtains, I know I've really have gone all out... but then wearable art is awesome, and this stuff is unique. You can have the advantage of being knowingly ironic.
Art That Makes You Think - Never Unknowingly Ironic.
My Redbubble store
The 'natural home' for many of my designs can be found in my Redbubble store. Search for 'Ben Cowan Art Redbubble' or click this link. Here you will find an array of sustainably produced T-shirts in all shapes, sizes and colours, .
Other accessories to wear include baseball caps, aprons, scarves, bags and dresses.
For the art home, there are clocks, prints, canvases, coasters, mugs, flasks, even duvets and blankets...
Finally, for your knowingly ironic tech gear, there are mouse and desk mats, phone and
tablet cases, for all models.
Come and see this great choice of fantastic quality ironic products to gift somone or yourself. You will be supporting an independent artist. Offers on the Redbubble site are frequently available...