The Neo-Tribal Metalsmith Art Movement

It's mostly just philosophical. I wouldn't worry about it too much...

"Anything that can be put into a nutshell, should remain there." Shantaram

... If we could put it in a nutshell, it wouldn't be "Neo-Tribal".
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This has motivated me to take a look at art history, overwhelming.

Trying to find similarity's to the Arts and Crafts movement.
Poke around and see how the “Fuego Ancestral” (“Fire of the Ancestors“) tribe is doing down in Argentina. They were directly connected with the USA/International Tribe through the internet. They still use the name and the Neo-Tribal logo as far as I know. I think they still might be fairly active. They seemed to really capture and appreciate the true spirit of it.

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This has motivated me to take a look at art history, overwhelming.

Trying to find similarity's to the Arts and Crafts movement.

Academically, that's definitely on the right track. You will find other related contemporary art movements, organizations, styles etc., but "neo-tribal metalsmithing" has it's own unique history and merits. This much I know.

... fascinating isn't it?
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Sounds kind of nerdy but... We connected the philosophical dots! :)

Hooray! Then we cleaved it into parts and each took our piece... and off we went!

Long live the Ghost of the Neo-Tribal Metalsmiths!
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IMO trying to define NT to the nth degree will be an exercise in frustration - think in terms of any other art movement - if one says "modern art" do you think of Picasso, Dali, Matisse, Escher, or Warhol perhaps - all modern artists, yet their work is also highly individualistic
Good point Chuck. Aesthetics is philosophy. They were all working within certain philosophical guidelines that left a lot of room for innovation, originality and individuality. Many individual "styles" emerged from it.

It is also interesting to note that "modern art" emerged directly out of exposure to "primitive art", especially African.

The contemporary western neo-tribal metalsmith art movement follows essentially the same model as any other modern art movement,... "styles" emerge based on philosophical ideals.

... What we create as artists is a direct reflection of "who we are" and what we believe.

As it is with Tim, we are all searching for our identities. This is the way of the artist.
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"we are all searching for our identities. This is the way of the artist."

Tai - regardless of whether anyone reads or judges any of the rest of this discourse (though I have followed and I am pretty sure I understand the respective points and positions), that last statement is a resonating truth. Any forum or group of dedicated bladesmiths I have known in these past 7 years of learning and making stuff have all continually struggled with these same things.
1. what historical (even if it is only from 2 months ago in some cases) influences should I use in my work?
2. what tools and techniques will I use (and what will I avoid)?
3. who is my audience?
4. what is the goal or goals of doing this (personal satisfaction, personal growth, spiritual connection or realization, money, fame, keeping culture alive... and many more)?

We are all searching for our identity.

For me, I think I am comfortable with having different facets (different hats to wear, sort of), so that there are times when I am trying to pay homage to the great work of China (partially for the simple fact that almost no one else in the US seems to recognize this amazing treasure trove and the instability of China has made it almost vanish at times), and other times make stuff for my Texan friends to use, and sometimes pick up some extra money for my family. These three things don't go well together, but they are all part of who I am and what I do, so I move between them.

How is any of this NeoTribal? Well, I know when it is... because I set the limits on myself that I identify with my own NT work (which for me, is no electricity).

Why don't I limit myself to no electricity when making daos? Well, because they had water wheels and slaves... and I have chosen to limit myself by avoiding those things.

The forms we work in are determined by the limits we set and the aspects of ourselves we are trying to express and achieve... at least I think that is true.

as always, thanks for bothering to read this stuff

Alexander Weygers, in The Complete Modern Blacksmith (and the other books that is a compilation of) wrote of the kinship he felt with smiths in Laos and Africa. He worked in the modern world and had a machinist's training. He even patented a propulsion system. But, in the end, he moved to rural California where he lived and worked with very few tools, most of which he made himself.

He was definitely NeoTribal at some points (with his awareness of the kinship between us and others across the globe and through time). But, he didn't give up on modern things (like the patent), he just realized when to set the appropriate limits to enhance his own art.

At least, that is my take on him and his work.

Of course, he never knew the term Neo Tribal, but that doesn't mean that the description would not apply.

take care, all.

I have Wayne Goddard's 50 Dollar Knife Shop, and he speaks to the "Tribal" style knife, and how he made his without electricity. I am totally down with that, so much quieter. I am tired of the noise. I even use a hand saw, I am so burned out on the noise, excuse me, time to go take my meds...:shush:
This a great thread and should be read by any interested in anything NT. Two of the original founders lead the discussion. Worth the time investment.