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Mikey Welsh Paintings
February 17, 2005 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Bassist turned painter Mikey Welsh - of the post-grunge rock band Weezer - is a self taught painter who likes to spread the paint with abandon. He cites Robert Rauschenberg and Jackson Pollock as his inspirations and - while not in their league - one can see that influence. According to Outsider Art. info; "In front of [his] art, its hard to keep physically or mentally still."
posted by Rashomon (44 comments total)

 
Having had a look at this, I hearby apologize to all the crappy art majors I knew in university who I thought would never get anywhere in the art world with their meagre artistic talents. Obviously, anything's possible.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:04 PM on February 17, 2005


Why is it that people who are successful in one artform think that automatically they can crossover into another and they'll be just as good?

This stuff is almost as bad as Henry Rollins' poetry.
posted by papakwanz at 1:06 PM on February 17, 2005


Whoops, that should have been "always think that" not "think that automatically". And "cross over" not "crossover."
posted by papakwanz at 1:08 PM on February 17, 2005


OMG this is terrible, awful stuff.
posted by xmutex at 1:08 PM on February 17, 2005


And Welsh wasn't even the best Weezer bassist.
posted by clunkyrobot at 1:09 PM on February 17, 2005


I applaud him for attempting to channel creative energy into a new medium, but I can't help but feel it's insanely pretentious to talk about his "influences" when I've seen better pieces of "art" hanging on refrigerator doors and grade school walls. The Card Cheat's example link pretty much says it all. Yuck.
posted by ibidem at 1:12 PM on February 17, 2005


My definition of art is that if it is something that I believe that I can do (right or wrong), then it can't possibly be art.

Right or wrong, I feel I could lob gobs of paint at a canvas.
posted by flarbuse at 1:13 PM on February 17, 2005


Not really into it either, but honestly — way better than his god awful music.
posted by interrupt at 1:16 PM on February 17, 2005


Ha. "In front of [his] art, its hard to keep physically or mentally still." I agree; it would make me want to physically and mentally move elsewhere.
posted by Swampjazz! at 1:18 PM on February 17, 2005


...of the post-grunge rock band Weezer

I've always thought of Weezer as a hard rock band. Or not.
posted by gwint at 1:24 PM on February 17, 2005


Man, you guys are missing the big picture!!! You're thinkin' SMALL! See, if we could get the guy from Weezer to paint the ashtrays made by the guy from Foreigner, we could make a GOLDMINE! Woo hoo!!!!!
posted by miss lynnster at 1:28 PM on February 17, 2005


Self-taught, huh? Never would have guessed.
posted by mkultra at 1:29 PM on February 17, 2005


his paintings read as if he sliced open a metaphorical vein and poured blood and soul onto the canvas.

That's from the Boston Globe article. The reviews are pretty funny.

I like Weezer, so I kept wanting to find at least one painting I liked. But man...

For the purposes of this post, I forced myself to go through and find one I liked. This is probably his best. I don't hate it. Not as much as the others, anyway. What's your favorite?
posted by painquale at 1:48 PM on February 17, 2005


My definition of art is that if it is something that I believe that I can do (right or wrong), then it can't possibly be art.

nothing against you, but i think that's the worst definition ever of what is and isn't art. possibly anyone could have done what say, andy warhol did, or lichtenstein, or ansel adams. that's not the point. art is, among many other things, an expression of the world through someone else's eyes and brain. i mean, you can judge it on whether or not it achieves what it set out to do, or whether it resonates with you emotionally, but whether or not you could do it is beside the point. in fact, i'd like it if you did throw gobs of paint at a canvas. the world needs more art.
posted by acid freaking on the kitty at 1:51 PM on February 17, 2005


nothing against you, but i think that's the worst definition ever of what is and isn't art.

To be all anal (my specialty), that wasn't a definition of what is and isn't art, it was a definition of what isn't art.

I actually found it rather nice and succinct, in that it is probably a definition of what isn't art used by most people, and it's nice to hear someone say it as-is (and not to presume "THIS IS WHAT IS ART", but to phrase it in the context that "A condition I have to determine if something isn't art is qwre qwer qwre")

the world needs more art.

I love me some art, but the world has plenty. It has art coming out its ears.
posted by Bugbread at 2:03 PM on February 17, 2005


All art is good. Its just that some art is gooder. This art is good, not gooder, IMHO.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:12 PM on February 17, 2005


All art is good.

This is a probable sign that you haven't seen enough art.
posted by Bugbread at 2:18 PM on February 17, 2005


I hate to think that this stuff is taking away gallery space from people that might actually need the money.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:20 PM on February 17, 2005


Ha ha ha! R. Mutt comments in a thread about art. I'm off to find myself a thread about artificial fabrics.

True, Mikey's paintings are probably not quite as important as he likes to think, but I've seen much worse. Much worse that was taken much more seriously. And thank god he's seen sense to stop playing bass. Weezer are/were hopeless. And smug. And if there's one thing this world needs less of, it's smug, 'wacky' novelty bands like Weezer.

An annoying thought though is that I really doubt he'd be getting this much praise and respect from galleries if he wasn't already famous. It's the same with Paul McCartney's paintings, which aren't very good, but are being fawned over because of who he is, not what he can do with a canvas.
posted by nylon at 2:40 PM on February 17, 2005


Ummmm....if I may, nothing about this discussion or the site surprises me. If you just page through an Art in America or an Art News, you would see that galleries all over the world boast crap like this and label it subconscious and original.

Mikey is just one example of many who have latched onto the Modern Art flock of electric sheep. At the moment, he may be our punching bag, however, one has to admit this sloppy child-hand talent is everywhere!
posted by koeselitz at 2:47 PM on February 17, 2005


Thing is, art schools have always had lots of musicians in them. But from what I remember they often missed studio class because they had been out all night.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:50 PM on February 17, 2005


If you just page through an Art in America or an Art News, you would see that galleries all over the world boast crap like this and label it subconscious and original.

That's why I always chuckle when someone says there's no such thing as "bad art". There are giant towering mountains of it.
posted by Bugbread at 3:00 PM on February 17, 2005


giant towering mountains ... of "bad art" ... now thats an image i would like to see painted....

VIVA "bad" art!
posted by R. Mutt at 3:07 PM on February 17, 2005


May I suggest the National Independent Artist's Expo or as I may say Extravaganza, held at the Amish Showcase in Denver. It exists as one large mountain of "bad art", just take a picture. However....I give it dignity considering every owner of Motel 6 or budget Inn.
posted by koeselitz at 3:27 PM on February 17, 2005


Not in Pollocks league?? Jackson Pollock - the quintessential one hit wonder of the art world? Yes, it's tough to creatively squirt paint onto a canvas and if he had done at least that much, I'd have some respect for him as a painter. Had he not been so crazy, he would have had no redeeming qualities at all.
posted by j.p. Hung at 3:37 PM on February 17, 2005


I am waiting for the headline:

Lead singer Steve Perry turned interior designer
posted by koeselitz at 3:53 PM on February 17, 2005


The thing is, j.p., I like looking at Pollock's paintings. And no-one, not even you, can tell me I don't. Well, you can, but you'd be wrong.

So, using my highly developed theory of mind, I deduce that other people like looking at Mikey Welsh's paintings. And, as much as we think we know the definitive absolute truth, we have no right to tell them they're wrong to like them. Talent, originality and creativity sometimes have little bearing on aesthetic appeal, whether we like that fact or not.

Pollock was creative, and I like his paintings.
Welsh is not particularly creative, and I don't appreciate his work, but some people do, and that's fine by me.
posted by nylon at 4:06 PM on February 17, 2005


"Weezer are/were hopeless. And smug. And if there's one thing this world needs less of, it's smug, 'wacky' novelty bands like Weezer."

Tham's fightin' words, bub. "Say it Ain't So" is one of the finest examples of late 20th century blues I can think of.
posted by black8 at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2005


Well stated Nylon. I think what is helpful is to not assume that there is a quantifiable "good" or "bad" here. Even in the career, professional art world there are different markets and valued positions. There is the NY/LA-International contemporary market, the Santa Fe/Texas/Southwestern market, the classical western figurative market, the Outsider art market, numerous Asian art markets .... and yes, the Holiday Inn painting show market. Each of these of course could be broken down in to subsets.

Each of these groups value different things and conditions as "good" or less "good". While it is not totally subjective, it is at least conditional. When I said that I think all art is "good" ... I mean that its conditionality suggests that a flat out negative judgement of it is not helpful. The rejected art of one's time is often reevaluated, not always, but often enough to be open minded.

And yes, the if person who bought that painting at the Holiday Inn is made happy by it ... who are we to judge?
posted by R. Mutt at 5:04 PM on February 17, 2005


Worth noting:
Welsh says his works are generally $2000 to $12,000. The face paintings on wood panels go for $350 each and other paintings and modest oilstick drawings, on ripped pieces of paper, [for] $25 or $30 each.

I personally wouldn't pay for any of these but I do kind of like the primitive look of this one.
posted by Rashomon at 5:07 PM on February 17, 2005


Rashomon, you picked the same one that I did up above. It's by far his best.
posted by painquale at 6:01 PM on February 17, 2005


BTW, years ago Cate McQuaid came to my art school grad seminar.... she admitted that she really wanted to write features, but was writing art reviews in the mean time. I guess that its nice that she has accepted her fate.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:52 PM on February 17, 2005


nylon,
I'm not saying it isn't art. It is. You find it appealing and that's good, I don't - and for two entirely different reasons I suspect. It's neither here nor there. The point I was trying to make was that from a 'painterly' perspective, his art is quite stayed and unimpressive. Frankly, I feel he gave up as a painter and an artist when he latched on to this chaotic style and made it his identity. It was cool at first. It was different. Then he did another one, and another, and more, and more.....
posted by j.p. Hung at 8:17 PM on February 17, 2005


That fish painting is really good. I went to art school. I would have kept more of my works if I'd done a few like that fish. Generally, the people who whine about modern art being "bad art" or not art at all are the same people who had no imagination as a child and just killed worms all day. Non-creative people. Boring. Nobody likes you.

Some of these pieces are priced entirely reasonable. I did nature illustrations that the market would allow to go for four hundred bucks. When I was eleven. Not all of the pieces here are fucking fantastic, but many of them are passable works of art.

God, I've spent my whole life trying to explain Cristo and modern art to people. I can't stand this "I could do that, it is stupid" bullshit. All these people who bitch about modern art being non-art can suck my cock and go put some shit in a gallery. Go on. Do an art show. Get some art in a gallery. Get some street cred. Be an artist. It is totally easy.

Cuntlings.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 8:39 PM on February 17, 2005


I can relate to what flarbuse is saying, because I use a similar definition for creative works. I'm no genius. I recognize genius as something that I wouldn't be able to conceive of had I not seen it first. That's why I consider Danzig a genius.

As for this art; some of it is okay (the image linked by others is striking), but it ain't genius. He's getting lucky using other people's methods. It seems like a scatter gun approach to art.

And there's no real reason to link this guy to weezer. He played bass for them for a while. He has nothing to do with their music.
posted by team lowkey at 11:26 PM on February 17, 2005


Generally, the people who whine about modern art being "bad art" or not art at all are the same people who had no imagination as a child and just killed worms all day. Non-creative people. Boring. Nobody likes you.

Most people who whine about modern art are either talented artists or creative laymen who are not in the practice of praising mediocracy. Most modern artists are people who have no talent but have decided that, by gum, they're going to be an artist no matter what, and latch on to a branch of art that praises them regardless of the actual quality of their work. Talentless hacks with a sense of entitlement. Nobody likes you.

All these people who bitch about modern art being non-art can suck my cock and go put some shit in a gallery. Go on. Do an art show. Get some art in a gallery. Get some street cred. Be an artist. It is totally easy.

All these people who say murder is bad can suck my cock and kill some people. Go ahead. Kill a family. Get arrested. It's a bad thing.

People are saying crappy modern art is crappy. Most people don't want to do crappy stuff. And most people are realistic enough to know that making crappy art is easy. Immersing yourself in the scene, ingratiating yourself with gallery owners, dating the right people, and the other behind-the-scenes stuff necessary to get a gallery show is hard.

Making modern art is easy. Getting it into a gallery is the hard part. And it isn't based on the merits of the art.

Cuntmaster.
posted by Bugbread at 2:34 AM on February 18, 2005


Here, here, bugbread!
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:11 AM on February 18, 2005


I did nature illustrations that the market would allow to go for four hundred bucks. When I was eleven.

When I was four months old, I was pooping in my diaper, which, today, could be placed in a plexiglass case and would be sold for thousands of dollars. I would call it: "The Transient Nature Of Love - Carrots VIII."
posted by tpl1212 at 8:43 AM on February 18, 2005


I have to say that this stuff is awful. I just completed an art degree and in the process saw a lot of people who mistook a drive and a passion for art as talent... but this is way more awful than anything I saw being created in the studios at my school. And that's going pretty far.

I think that this business about there being no "good" or "bad" art is BS. While I admittedly do not have a definition of "good" or "bad" art to put out there, I do believe that "great" art is great for a reason and that there is art that is indeed "bad."

Something that I've been thinking about in terms of art lately is what it means to truly hate a piece of art : if you hate it, it has evoked a reaction in you. A piece of art that evokes a reaction must be somewhat successful as it reached you and grabbed you and forced you to think about it, even if you hated it.

This... I can't even hate it. It's that bad. I suppose you could consider that my own personal defintion of "bad" art - art that is so godawful you can't even bring yourself to hate it.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:05 AM on February 18, 2005


There are two qualities that are generally visible in art. There is technical skill, and there is creativity. A work of great technical mastery can show almost no creativity and many people will be amazed at the display of skill. A work displaying immense creativity with little technical skill will often elicit remarks along the lines of, "I could do that."

For people who struggle to be creative and expressive, displays of creativity are much more difficult. Technical drawing and painting skills can be taught to nearly anyone who has the willingness to learn. Creativity is elusive, which is often why people who actively seek the creative process find themselves drawn to work that does not seem immediately "good" to many people.

The most powerful and revered artists have both technical skill and creativity, balancing the two in their work to the greatest effect. At the same time, the greatest visual artists will be able to find the strength and beauty of anything visual–whether it is produced by nature, a child or a fellow artist; whether it is produced accidentally or purposefully.
posted by spaghetti at 11:37 AM on February 18, 2005


Man, I'm late to this thread.

First, let me say that a lot of the things that people have been saying so far are thoroughly ridiculous (with the noted exception of spaghetti's comment above, as well as some others). "But I could've done that!" and other off-hand dismissals of the entirety of modern art don't get any less obnoxious through repetition.

That said, I don't like these paintings.

And thank god he's seen sense to stop playing bass. Weezer are/were hopeless. And smug. And if there's one thing this world needs less of, it's smug, 'wacky' novelty bands like Weezer.

That was the most out of line though. First of all, Mikey Welsh has only a passing relationship with weezer. He played bass in the band for a couple of their most unimportant years, and basically was an automaton - Rivers has always written everything, including the bass lines. Many would argue that pretty much the same thing applies to Matt Sharp.

Second, you must be thinking of another band. Rivers Cuomo is an extremely talented singer, songwriter, and guitar player, who, unfortunately, put out one totally shitty and one painfully bland and mediocre album. However, the blue album and pinkerton are two of the best power-pop albums of the 90s. They have a new album coming out soon, and with any luck, it'll be a return to form. If not, then it is probably over for weezer in many ways.

However, they were never a "smug, wacky, novelty band." I suppose if one's only familiarity with them is through two or three of their music videos (watching with the sound off, perhaps), one might say such a thing, but then one would do well to learn to reserve comments on topics about which one is ignorant.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:48 AM on February 18, 2005


The most powerful and revered artists have both technical skill and creativity, balancing the two in their work to the greatest effect.

I think this is one of the cruxes of the discussion (er, if there's more than one, can I still call it a "crux"?). Many people who don't like much abstract art don't think that creativity and technical skill are on a line, where one can go too far one direction or too far in the other. They're separate, and you can show great technical skill and great creativity. There is no need to "balance" them, any more than there is a need to balance the redness of an object with the weight of an object.

"But I could've done that!" and other off-hand dismissals of the entirety of modern art don't get any less obnoxious through repetition.

Nor do the counterarguments.

Personally (despite what my statements here indicate), I'm in a bit of an extreme situation when it comes to art, in that society's varying interpretations of the term are so different and subjective that I don't really know what the term means, and don't find it very useful. When you factor in performance art, found objects, reappropriation, etc., you basically end out with "art is whatever a someone labels 'art'". It could be a mass produced urinal, not even made by the artist.

That's why I don't say things like "modern art isn't art". That assumes that "art" is a good thing, and that crap cannot therefore be art. Art isn't a good thing, any more than wood is a good thing or lines are good things. There's some good art, lots of mediocre art, and mountains of bad art. That's the way it is with everything, everywhere.

And art is subject to the same kinds of forces that everything else is subjected to. The cream doesn't rise to the top, the well-marketed rises to the top. If art is old and well-liked, it's probably not bad, because it's passed out of fashionableness but is still valued. However, it's pretty much guaranteed to be overvalued, due to its fame. The Mona Lisa isn't any better than much of Da Vinci's other works, and Da Vinci isn't that many heads and shoulders against forgotten contemporaries. He plied his sponsors well, and had good sponsors.

However, if the art is at all recent, the likelihood of it being inflated in value (not monetary, but respect) is high. It's a matter of fashion. It's the same reason you can't use top 40 radio to determine what music of the 20th or 21st century will still be listened to in the 22nd century. Lots of pap by people who have managed to catch the attention of the important folks in the art world. Lots of politics being looked at instead of results. Bassists from famous bands being paid excessively for their paintings just because they're from famous bands.

So, no, not all modern art is crap. Some is good. More is blah. Most is crap. But it's all "art", whether you like it or not, just like all bachelors are unmarried, whether you find them eligible or odious.

Me? I like the Saatchi museum, so that just shows how much I may or may not dislike modern art. Hirst's black panel of flies and tar was pretty damn cool, among other super non-representational stuff.
posted by Bugbread at 12:45 PM on February 18, 2005


"But I could've done that!" and other off-hand dismissals of the entirety of modern art don't get any less obnoxious through repetition.

Nor do the counterarguments.


Counterarguments? What is there to counter? Most of the time people seem to be saying "I don't understand x, or I just don't like it, or both, so none of it could have any merit." I'm just saying those kind of dismissals are silly and reflect poorly on the person making them.

However, it's pretty much guaranteed to be overvalued, due to its fame ... However, if the art is at all recent, the likelihood of it being inflated in value (not monetary, but respect) is high.

That depends who you're asking. Among the general public, probably, but I don't really care what John Doe has to say about it; no disrespect to him, but if he's a casual music listener and can't articulately express and defend his opinion of a work, as many cannot, I feel that his opinion carries little critical weight. And so I wouldn't venture to say anything definitive these paintings because I honestly don't know that much about painting. I've never studied it. So I can say it doesn't appeal to me, and I could describe why if I wanted to, but I won't dismiss it as "awful" or say that it's bad.

I wouldn't, and didn't intend to, disagree with the rest of what you said.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:36 PM on February 18, 2005


Counterarguments? What is there to counter?

Er, from what I gather through this thread and other art threads, the argument that "Anyone could do that, therefore it's not art." If you don't find there to be anything to counter, are you therefore agreeing with that statement?

Most of the time people seem to be saying "I don't understand x, or I just don't like it, or both, so none of it could have any merit."

Actually, most people seem to be saying "That requires little to no technical skill."

I'm just saying those kind of dismissals are silly and reflect poorly on the person making them.

I don't see why saying something is skilless is silly, or reflects poorly on the person saying them.

I think part of it is the instinct many people have to counter with "don't criticize unless you can do better". I find this patently silly, though. If Mitsubishi makes cars that catch on fire, I'll criticize Mitsubishi, even though I can't make a better car. Rephrased, I can't make a good car, so I don't, while a maker of lemons can't make a car, but does anyway. They may be better than me, but that doesn't make them good, nor does it invalidate my opinion about them.

By the same coin, why isn't the same argument used for praise? "Don't praise it unless you've tried it and done worse" Many people have never tried painting as adults, but nobody gets antsy when they praise a painter.

By the way, I realize those may not be your arguments. I'm just talking about the frequently used arguments used in favor of modern artists and against dissenting viewers, and your phrase "And so I wouldn't venture to say anything definitive these paintings because I honestly don't know that much about painting. I've never studied it. So I can say it doesn't appeal to me, and I could describe why if I wanted to, but I won't dismiss it as "awful" or say that it's bad."

Also, I think that art has the same problems of extreme liberal arts academia: the idea that you can only appreciate something if you've studied it in depth. I find that somewhat wankery.
posted by Bugbread at 1:01 AM on February 20, 2005


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