In my artistic practice, I continuously find myself asking the same questions: What is art? Why make art? What does good art look like? What does bad art look like? Why is art even a thing? Why look at art? Why talk about art? Why write about art? Why do people care about art? But mainly: What is art?
Who can determine this? Who can put my mind to ease? Should anyone be able to decide on this? Or should someone with an education in the field of art, with a firm grasp of art history, and an understanding of the concepts in the contemporary art world have the answers? What about an art critic? What even is an art critic? And who is right or wrong in saying what is right or wrong? But in the end, what is art?
If I consider myself as an artist, am I art myself? When my parents made me, were they making art? Neither of my parents defines themselves as an artist, but if they made an artist, does that make them unknowingly artists too? Do we even have to identify as artists to be artists? What is an artist? What is art?
Does an artist even have to make art to be an artist? We have already nullified this in the history of art. An artist does not, in fact, have to make art to be considered an artist. Donald Judd didn’t make his boxes, nor did Jeff Koons make his balloon dogs. Andy Warhol had a whole factory of assistants working under him, mixing inks, pulling prints, and possibly even signing his name. Marcel Duchamp certainly did not make a urinal in 1917 for his work entitled, Fountain. But yet, we still study all these works till this day. Questioning the artist’s intentions, the concepts behind the works of art, and the overall aesthetic of the art. Do we have to study art to become an artist? If we can all agree that anything can be art, and artist don't have to physically create the artwork for it to be art, and good art is good art, and bad art is bad art because of the subjective nature of art, we still have to question: What is art?
So if I don’t have to make my art, and anything can be art, and I am art myself. Adding to the fact that everything in art has already been made by another artist who is in fact art (whether or not self-proclaimed to be art or an artist), then why even put forth the effort to make art as an artist?
If this is all true, then anything and everything that has, or has not existed in this world, is a direct influence on my art-making practice. Life is my stylistic influence, the reason why my art looks like it does, the reason my process is the way it is, and why my methodologies are the way they are. Art is the reason why I am who I am, and why life is what it is to me. But, what is art? Why is any of this important? Why is my life meaningful? What is the significance? Why does any of this matter? Why am I typing this? And if this has all been done before, then why should I do any of it again?
I am not a writer, I am not a physicist, nor am I a doctor, or a lawyer, or business executive, I am an Artist. I am Trent Pechon, an Artist that questions what art is, every day, every moment, every time I wake up, and every time I fall asleep. I make art because no one truly knows what it even is, just as no one truly knows what life is. It is these questions that keep me going, keep me alive, and keep me questioning: What is life? What is art?