Statement by Andy Ford
Art is not concerned merely with great artists, with genius or with prodigious skills. It is, fundamentally, the outward form of an inward search. To participate in this search, on whatever level and with whatever ability, is to be an artist. The equipment of the artist is not found in art shops only, but in his attitude of mind, in his vision and in his emotions. It is of supreme unimportance whether the artist is possessed of some dazzling vision, like Samuel Palmer in the valley of Shoreham, or whether he paints almost as a matter of amusement with whatever materails that happens to be at hand, like old Alfred Wallis of St.Ives - the important thing, the thing which links all artists together, is the search.
Works of art,s ometimes good and sometimes bad, are the outward evidence of this search. But the work of art is really of secondary importance - it is merely the crystallisation of an idea or emotion, and a correct understanding of art must take this fact into account. The true importance of art lies in its alchemical nature, in its strange power to refine the sensibilities, to heighten visual awareness. This evolution of the spirit is the true aim of art, and anyone who embarks on this spiritual odyssey bears the name of artist.
The practice of art is not directed towards producing artists who can paint or sculpt with real ability, nor towards producing more works to fill our homes and galleries: it is directed towards producing human beings with a sense of wonder at life and that precious ability to enquire into its outward manifestations.