XORROX | james watson | art / design / photography
Everyone is a critic of art. And in the dialogue of what constitutes art there is much debate. I preferred not to label myself as an artist for a very long time, mostly because I never felt that I would develop my skills in a way to constitute me as an artist. My encounter with dadaism has given me a broader perspective of what art is, and accept that my approach to life is that of an artist, though arguably not a very good one. This does not discourage me from participating in it, always learning and trying new things, sometimes with interesting outcomes, while other times maybe not so much. The point is, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the pursuit of expression, hoping to perceive something unique in a moment and share it so that it might move, inspire, or spark a thought in another individual.
the image below is of a house in a back alley in Washington DC. Many stables where residents kept their carriages have been converted to homes; these homes are more likely originally built as homes in the very late 1800’s or early 1900’s. The split house, the electrical wires, the location of the homes tucked among driveways in the back alley of homes on the main streets and the traffic of cars right up to the front door – how different the experience of living can be for different people. What experience is yours? And it is something we take for granted, yet how we live is so unique to each of us, and so greatly under our own influence as well as the environment around us. We take it for granted, the greatest art being that which is the expression of our own lives.
Though I have several places I now call hometowns since I travel so much, Washington DC offers a unique opportunity to observe the culture of America. I frequently visit monuments, like the Jefferson Monument in the image below, and observe the many people that travel across the country or from other regions around the world to be in the presence of this city. As a local, I tend to view the experience of the city differently, but get to watch people seeing the museums, monuments, Smithsonian Castle, and government buildings for the first time. One of the luxuries of Washington DC is that most museums and memorials are free to enter, allowing those who live close by to stroll through often, even if for a few moments. Sometimes I make my way across the center of the city, making sure I go through a building that may be a museum rather than go around it, and to walk through the center of memorials rather than avoid the crowds.
Another wonderful thing about Washington DC is that it is very alive in the warmer months. People are active, either individually exercising or playing organized sports in groups. Kickball and ultimate frisbee are popular on the National Mall in the evenings during the week, or anytime on the weekends. The picture below was taken as I stopped the guy who was cruising on his bike to ask if he knew any tricks. He replied “no.” So I instructed him to ride slowly while standing up, and right in front of the statue to put his foot behind the front tire. I told him what to expect, that the back of the bike would flip forward, and to be ready to catch the fall – something I knew he could do easily if he was going at a reasonable speed. The outcome was the picture below.
Design is something I have always felt a pull towards, but it is not something I have had much time to pursue. Since very early years I was designing – a flying car when I was eight, athletic shoes that don’t require shoe laces in my early teens, clothes and backpacks in my later teens, and contemporary floor plans and furniture in my twenties. The tools I used for designing started as colored markers, then pencils, pens, computer aided design (CAD) tools, and finally 3D rendering software (Maya). Design has always been a passion, and one that I will remain active in participating in as a hobbyist, and hope to start developing into the production of some of these ideas.
Creative expressions – art, design, photography – are generally performed as XORROX