Elitists, Hobbyists, and the Space Between

Since opening shop in Swansea High Street we’ve been displaying an assortment of oddities in the window by other artists. For me, R & Ez Art’s purpose is threefold: to share knowledge about art, to showcase other people’s creations without exploitation, and to showcase our own creations.

From the research I’ve done, it seems ordinary people’s perceptions of Art are shaped by a two polar opposites. At one end lie the larger galleries and famous artists who dominate the national media and seem to thrive on the illusion that Art is an elitist commodity; placing it beyond the reach, and understanding, of the majority of the public. Meanwhile the opposite end is dominated by hobbyists and the notion that Art is created as an occupational health pastime. Whilst both these stances are valid, there is a whole world of art and artists existing in the space between who are fighting to get their voices heard and to get a fair deal. The window at R & Ez Art is a representation of our efforts to try to address the true nature of Art and how it needs to communicate to the world.

The position of the shop on Swansea High Street is key to making people aware of this middle ground in which the majority of the art world actually exists. We’re on a busy thoroughfare between the train station and the main shopping area and all sorts of people pass by and pop in. We’re keen to engage in conversation with anyone and everyone, from the high-class business exec to the guy asking for change in the neighbour’s doorway.

We want to show people the skills we have are not elitist but neither should they be looked down upon. The craftmanship of some disciplines takes many years to perfect and the art created, and showing now in the window, is a result of laborious and painstaking processes. Meanwhile other pieces in the window are quicker to make, and easier to understand and conceptualize.

We’re not selling anything here. The rightful owners of the window goods can take their pieces away at any time. But then neither are we charging artists for this opportunity to display in the window. Visitors can see it all for free as they pass and everyone benefits as a result. For us it is important that the dialogue is open and ongoing between artists, the people, and anyone who feels they fall into the space between.

We’re open again tomorrow and Friday 9-5pm. R & Ez Art, 228 High St, Swansea.

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