It has been raining here for a week – which is unusual for this area. Usually it rains for an hour, then quits. It rarely rains all damn day long unless it is hurricane season. And even still that does not usually last this long….. Anyway, so my head has been in a fog and I have been a bit stir crazy, despite the fact that I have been in the studio every day this week. Some days I just feel like I have been spinning my wheels…….. So, I have some muddled thoughts, and I am not sure if I can actually articulate or convey a clear point as I have the inability to be succinct in any form this week. Sort of like a storm system that does not know where it is headed or when it will end. So here goes:
I spoke with a lady today in my studio visiting from the west coast of Florida. She was admiring my work and confessed she herself was an artist. (Sometimes people just like to tell you they are an artist too) When I asked her what kind of work she did she replied, “Oh, well I do more realistic work” she went on to say, “I have to make a living with my work so I paint what people want….” or something like that. The way she spoke made me that that she was inferring my work was, well, not mainstream (which I guess is not), very sell able, and that I could not possibly make a living making the type of art I do. Hummmm. So I admit I zoned out a little after I heard her drone about her painting “beach shacks” (sorry lady.) I was anxious to get back to my painting. Don’t get me wrong, this gal was perfectly nice and did not mean any harm by her statements, she was just making conversation. I guess I just have not been in the mood for trivial chit chat this week. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I have not seen the sun in quite some time. And really this post is not about this lady – she was merely the catalyst that set my thoughts in motion.
OK so this year (these past few years) the economy has been in the dumps, and every day seems like I am on the brink of finding part time employment – so I am not the best example of an artist to aspire to be like at the moment. But seriously how can you, as an artist, wake up every day and create a bunch of mass produced stuff for everyone else BUT yourself? I mean, I get it. As an artist you do some things (many things) just to keep afloat. Especially when you are just starting out. But sure you can justify it by saying, I am still creating, and that is what is important. But seriously how many years can you do that? You are an artist. Not working on a factory assembly line. You make a life and living off of using your imagination and vision.
She asked me how I came up with my “ideas,” I gave her my stock answer “I am more inspired my energy, color and mood rather than subject matter. My work is intuitive and non-objective.”…….. I find that route more challenging rather than recreating something that I see (traditional subject matter.) Before she walked in I was having a mental conversation with myself about how I am currently trying to merge the two styles I tend to go back and fourth with: Collage painting, and the bold graphic color fields with pattern. Sort of balancing painterly, expressionistic styles and energy with more structured, geometrical, patterned work. So you see I sort of get lost in my head with the actual process of things to really pay attention (or care) to too much else around me (like what people want). I enjoy mixing the unexpected in with the expected. I love dividing a canvas into sections and combining seemingly two different styles and energy. It is almost as if the painting itself is bi-polar. I love solving problems and figuring out how to make things work. I love painting my way out of an ugly situation. So that is what I am currently trying to do with my work.
I always thought if you were true to yourself, create the work for yourself first, and create work that you are proud of – not mindless mass produced work – then the money will follow. Some people think I am waaaay to patient (and a little naive) Then there is the other end of the spectrum: Some artists I know have some sort of elite attitude and don’t think you can possibly create good, pure art if you have $$$ in the back of your head. They they are really above painting for money (or for a living). I don’t know if they intend to be insulting, but that statement is so not true. If you create something you are proud of then you should not feel above asking money for it, or marketing yourself. Your product is worth money because of the time, materials, uniqueness, and experience. And how it makes others feel.
Even as a child, I recognized early on that you had to be “different” to in order to stand out from a crowd and perceive greatness. Who gets anywhere trying to blend in and act/look like clones of each other? The hard part is getting that difference to be a “good difference” rather than a “freak of nature, outcast type of difference.” I had a weird asymmetrical hair cut, wore different clothes. Partly due to the fact that my family did not have or choose to spend their money on designer materialism – so it forced me to become creative and make things, and think outside the box. I am not sure who my mentor was or who I looked to for inspiration. I was sort of a loner. A quiet thinker. I think I am still sort of a loner. Not necessarily an outcast, but a quiet loner. As in “The pretty girl who doesn’t get asked to prom because everyone already assumed she was already asked” kind of loner way.
I read a quote today on a church marquee ” Those that the think “the impossible” is impossible have never left their comfort zone.”
I was having a conversation with my brother the other day. He does not quite comprehend the world of mental illness (depression) and chemical imbalance. I won’t bore you with the details, but he could not possibly fathom that people out there in the world can be happy or function on a successful level without the use of mood enhancing drugs or anti-depressants what have you. I told him – believe it or not some people wake up each morning and tell themselves that they are going to have a beautiful, happy, successful, loving day – and do just that. It is just that easy. Others prefer to muddle through life as miserable people, degrading themselves with self deprecating comments, bad food, and negative behavior that will continued to kick their ass until they find Jesus or a good self-help book.
Seriously it is just that easy. If you want to be a successful artist you have to really want it. And devote every waking hour to your course of life. The problem is finding that balance. Especially when you have a family or the beach is beckoning. One does have to live before they create.
I was watching MSNBC the other day and someone said “Where else than American can you start with nothing, and can go college and work hard then you will be successful at whatever you do”
Who aspires to be a backup singer their whole life?
Jane Doe (1971-2009) She was a backup singer and a bitch.