Home > Uncategorized > An artist is a construction worker – or a cook – or both

An artist is a construction worker – or a cook – or both

Yesterday I was taking a walk in Hamburg’s new part of town: harbor-city.


By Detlef. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

Although it was a Sunday people were working at some construction sites. The old harbor is replaced by high yield real estate: condos and office space. Blue collar is replaced by white collar. That’s the way things go – like it or not: facts are facts. Blue collar work is now on the other side of the river Elbe.

These bags of concrete (“Beton” = German = “Concrete”) made me think of fine art by my friend Andrew Crane, who works with concrete a lot.


By Detlef. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.


By Detlef. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

I liked to be reminded of Andrew’s work in this context. The smell of concrete, the dust, the noise of work, men shouting caused me to extend this concept of blue collar work to the artistic realm: to work with your hands and the joy you feel when you look at it when it’s done.

<Intersection> OK, I’m not much of a manual worker when it comes to art. I do pretty much everything with the computer or the camera. My music is more hands-on with integrating objects of daily use. </Intersection>

Meeting Andrew at the construction site made me think of Holly Friesen and her great, great Art Manifesto: “art is for kitchens“. You observe: as I lazily wandered around construction sites my mind was meandering quite liberally.

So? Get to the point, Detlef: 
  • Art is not opposed to everyday life. It is about everyday life. 
  • There is no such thing as “real life” as opposed to everyday life. Life is life: every day, every hour every second. In the exhibition hall, the concert hall, the supermarket, on the beach, at the construction site, in the kitchen, in the office, in the hospital, in the traffic jam: 100% pure quality of life.
  • An artist is a construction worker – or a cook – or both.


By Detlef. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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