The topic of Art has come up a lot lately. This past Sausage Sunday had a wonderful Concept art piece of a 1961 Chris Craft and the question of it being art or not came up. I also just got finished watching “The Price Of Everything” on HBO. A documentary on the topic of art prices. It’s amazing to get into the weeds on the topic of art vs non art, and the topic of our beloved Wood Boats has a genetic vein right in there. So here goes.. Again. Our boats are no longer just boats. There I said it. They are “functional art. And thus, we should treat them like art. Some are great, some not. PURE ART. They are in the truest sense an artistic statement made by you. Sure they were not sold as art, they were sold as a boat, a water craft or Motor boat. Designed by artists and artistically styled to be appreciated and sold. In many cases form did not follow function. The battle between engineers and stylists, was won and lost on many occasions.
But at some point in there lives, there usefulness as boats stopped, and thus became useless as a functional item, making through the transformation of need vs want. Are we all following here? Because this is where it can change your life. First, if you are reading this, you love classic boats, so sorry, you are an art lover. it aint no fancy painting type art, but you love art. Let it go.. You have a soul. Embrace it. Now embrace the fact that your boat is art and treat it so. You can make it yours, or as the designers wanted to have it. You can restore it. Or leave it original. The debate of original, vs restore a true test of art Vs Boat. An original boat has ONE USE. ART. It still retains its original soul. The brush strokes of the varnisher, the lettering, the texture of time. All of it is deep in the grain.
A restored boat, restores the functional part of the art and can be argued that its retaining the tension between art and function, which is the true should of the boat. See, either way its art.
What about you engine guys? Flathead art. OH, HELL YA. No one needs that pile of metal. The color, sound, smell of a vintage engine is Performance art. You want an engine that isn’t art. Get a new one. It will suck the life from the auditory experience of the boat. You will lean your artistic influence towards the functional part. I suppose this is why I bristle when I see modern stuff on our Woody boats. It changes the balance of function and art.
So what part of this diatribe on the balance of art and function. Art sells to a higher end market. As in if we agree on the topic of art. And the brokers market it as such, like an art dealer. It will make the passion of Classic boats a stronger value. We should avoid words like, HOBBY, COLLECTABLE, SPORT, and start using words like. Aesthetics, Reminiscent, Not Pre-war, but Hand Crafted. Not Classic, but Timeless Design, Iconic Design. Just look at a barrel back, look closely at the aesthetics, The hand crafted curves are reminiscent of ……. You get the idea.
Instead of being featured in Boating magazines, be in Architecture Digest, vanity Fair, instead of a boat show, call it a SHOWING. An Opening. Maybe Lake Dora should be an Opening, of the New-Millenic period. Featuring Hand crafted moving sculpture… Man do I need a boat ride!