Mark Leichliter

The role an artist plays, like most traditions within our cultural framework, is changing dramatically. Enough artists are icons of dysfunction geared toward the destruction of static social paradigms to prevent us from slipping backward into old patterns of thinking. Enough artists have embraced the consumptive/productive factory model to ensure a steady stream of non-threatening and competent decorations for the home and office. But certainly there is space for some to move on to new territory. It may be possible for the artist to aid in further transforming society, incorporating ideas of diversity, community, and tolerance into the creative language. Discarding the self-aggrandizing, neurotic definition of “art” and replacing it with a more inclusive, transcendent one anchored in real emotion and reason-rather than melodrama and irrationality-could make strides toward this goal. It seems the best forum for this is within the field of public art, art intended for “the people.” This is not to imply that said art would merely flatter and entertain, nor rebuff and complain, but would seek to inform and transform.

I attempt to meet these needs by embracing a collaborative working model, allowing input from many sources and incorporating a multitude of means of producing artwork. The result is, hopefully, one wherein the line between artist, client, and audience is blurred and the sense of accomplishment is shared by all.


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