Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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10/03/2005: "How seriously should we take our work / ourselves?"

Rah Crawford is this artist I read about in Anna Conti's art journal the other day. He basically said that if no one rescued his paintings by buying them, he was going to destroy them. This reminds me of same kind of extortion as on that horrible Save Toby site where a guy threatens to kill, cook, and eat his adorable pet bunny if people don't donate enough money to him.

Only 1 out of four of the paintings initially sold, so Rah (does Rah really mean "someone overly posh" in the UK?) *had* to do a little performance art of destroying the pieces.

I'm not sure why but the whole thing just rubs me the wrong way. I did a google search for the name Rah Crawford and found his personal website which has an artist journal. The most recent entry is from Sept. 24th, the day after the "event". It reads so made me think to myself, holy crap, is that how I sound when I write in here? If so, my apologies. Seriously!

I mean, I have had pieces accidentally destroyed (at times by my own hand) but I'd never sell tickets or hire an opera singer first: "the angelic voiced Mezzo Soprano, sang an overwhelming operatic piece that validated the evening before the gods themselves".

He was able to destroy the first two but then "Hauntingly, I can recall the last painting "Mr. and Mrs. Bear" would not cut. The hand saw screamed out endlessly and I wanted it to stop....
Their faces were washed with fear, sadness and tension. We were ALL in pain, there was one living consciousness that could be felt throughout the gallery. Many cried out "Let it live!"


"It doesn't want to be destroyed!"


Replies: 10 Comments

on Tuesday, October 4th,">Jackie said

If Rah wants to destroy his own artwork, that's his perrogative. But if it were the work of another artist - that would be vandalism. Who knows what warped ideas lurk in the minds of others - or why they have a need to carry out a public destruction of something they created themselves. I noticed in the long list of many other artists who have done the same, that many of them suffered from mental illness.

But the Save Toby thing is sick to me. Where's PETA when you need them? Even if the guy is making a sick joke, it is impossible for me to find any humor in it. I wouldn't do him the service of mentioning his website on my blog!

Of course - many people took Jonathan Swift seriously when he wrote his essay on how to solve starvation in Ireland...

on Tuesday, October 4th, Elise said

I agree about the save toby thing, I almost didn't link to isn't true btw, which doesn't make it any less sick in my opinion.

And, I understand wanting to destroy your own work (believe me, I understand) I just think the way he did it was over the top...but hey, to each their own right?

As for the Jonathan Swift essay, I can't believe anyone could have taken *that* seriously...but I wonder about that all the time, when a director uses irony to state their anti-violence message, there will always be those who don't get it, and to them it appears to be a glorification.

on Tuesday, October 4th, Howard said

The save Toby thing reminds of a so called artist here in Vancouver a few years ago who wanted to crush a pet rat with a rock as part of a performance piece in front of the public library. I remember seeing a bit on the news that evening of an angry mob chasing him down the street. I can't remember what happened to the rat, but I think it escaped death.

on Tuesday, October 4th, Elise said

That's one angry mob I could get behind.

on Wednesday, October 5th, mick said

With so many really good artists around - perhaps a public burning is one way of getting bags of free publicity (and lots of fun into the bargain). Lets face it without the Internet I would never have got to see your great work - and who knows maybe one day I will be able to afford a small commission - just so long as you havent been discovered for doing something truly ridiculous in the name of Art LOL !!!.

on Wednesday, October 5th, Elise said

Don't worry Mick, there is little chance I'll be "discovered" anytime soon, although, maybe I should hold a contest, have everyone try and think of the biggest gimmick to get media, I could cut off an extraneous body part or burry myself in a shallow grave filled with mustard.

Why can't art just be about the work?

on Friday, October 7th, Rah Crawford said

The "Welcome to Earth" art experiences is divided into 4 exhibitions. Act 1 "Human" defined the species. Act 2 "Deus ex Machina" deals with the mortality of human beings. Several paintings were created with a birth date and a destruction date to mirror human mortality. Act 3 "Loovorfook" deals with physical relationships. Act 4 "Abracadabra" is a secret.

"Why can't art just be about the work?" because very few people have the EYES to see.

on Saturday, October 8th, Elise said

I meant no disrespect. I just don't understand but that's what makes the world such an interesting place...and hey, if it hadn't been for the "stunt" I never would have seen your work, which I do have the eyes to see...and think is very interesting. I'll be sure to stay tuned for future acts (and promise not to be so judgemental)...

on Wednesday, October 26th, lex said

i love you dog :crazy: :) :O :( ;) :P :D :angry: :blush: :confused: :cry: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :crazy: :cry: :doze: :plain: :rolleyes: :satisfied: :hehe: :doze: :blush: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:

on Wednesday, October 26th, Elise said

Uh, back atcha (this would happen to be Lex Luthor?)