Communication Testing

I work with people with severe learning disabilities, who don't always use verbal communication, one gentlemen does not speak, I've had dreams where he has spoken to me, and it's felt so real, but no-one has ever heard him speak. So when having a conversation with him, very little of it is done verbally, and a lot is done with signs and body language. I know when he is stressed, I know when he is anxious, and he knows when he needs to go to the dentist and he can tell me. Considering I work a 37-40 hour week it's not terribly surprising that sometimes I can't find the words to say what I want, because the words do not seem effective enough, in my personal life I pick up on peoples feelings, their body language, where their centre is (without sounding too hippy-ish) the second they walk into a room. Sometimes it makes me feel sick to the stomach when I feel that person walking into the pub bruising for a fight. I won't go to certain places because the feeling that permeates everything is just, out for blood. A meat market that I don't want to play in.

John Berger wrote a book called Ways Of Seeing, which features image essays. Some people struggle to understand the essays compiled of only images, but to me they speak so much more. When we create art, a painting, a sculpture, an installation, it's all a communication, and in contemporary art this is a communication of an idea, with so many layers. This communication goes beyond words, into something so much deeper. Did you know every time you use contrasting colours someone out there is linking you to Howard Hodgkin? (Not that I think they're right).

When creating conceptual art these are the things that float in the back of my mind, the layers my work has, connotations of material, colour, shape, how the work is hung, we make these connections, subconsciously more than anything. Those who use fabric craft, wool, at some point someone will look at that work and think 'home'. There are so many different ways to deconstruct conceptual and contemporary art.

Even when Tracey Emin features monoprints in exhibitions, someone always pops up with 'Egon Schiele'.

I don't mean to exclude any other art forms, such as illustration or graphic design, but although I can say that I like something immensely, I don't know the history of illustration (apart from the fact that Goya really did manage to illustrate war amazingly in his Disasters of War series). I can just about align what I know to photography, as fine art and photography started dancing together.
Cornelia Parker once said "Art is a waste product of mans desire to understand the world", and so many artists create art about the world, and they communicate something, and this has been communicated so many times in so many different ways. This communication has a history and we learn from that history.
The Gentleman I work with who doesn't use verbal language, he paints pictures of houses, again and again, using contrasting colours. He's communicating something, he deliberately uses colour, shape, material to say what he wants to say, it's just a matter of trying to work out what. He is an artist, as much as I am, but his is primal, it is without the art school I had drilled into me, as the art world would call him, he is an outsider artist.

Yet, he is my inspiration, because he is so sure of his message, he knows what he's trying to say, and it's my blindness that can't see it. And I think, that's what this is all about, there are so many ways to communicate something, but you (I) need to know what you (I) want to communicate first.

Testing, testing, can you hear me?