Sunday, July 15, 2007

View from THIS Studio Door

As I mentioned yesterday, I have become an avid reader of art blogs. However, I have to admit one of my deep prejudices is assuming the artist blogger is some wide eyed bushy tailed 23 year old typing with one hand and holding a faux sheepskin X.F.A. diploma in the other. I guess that is why I find Nancy Baker’s take on the world so refreshing. She has been around the block a few times as I have. Lately, I have thought a lot about ageism and discussed this topic often with my artist friend, Gilda Snowden. I never thought about age as it relates to the artist. Naiveté and being young makes this a non-issue, I suppose. However now that I am not young anymore, I notice things like an exhibition prospectus stating stuff like “artists under 30”, “young, emerging artists”, or “recent university graduates”. I just saw a news story about a trend to designate certain beach property as an “Adults Only Beach”. That gave me an idea for “Adults Only Art Shows”. LOL LOL LOL How about a television show called “The Last Artist Standing”? The criteria would include proving artistic longevity despite the obstacles. Of course, these ideas are tongue-in-cheek. I just have to see the humor in all this.
I am just now finishing the book The View From the Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way In an Uncertain World. by Ted Orland. This is a great book for beginning artists. I could have used these pages of advice decades ago. However, I have really enjoyed reading it now. Certain pages make me laugh!! I am amused because many of the insights are so true.

“So while art may be recognized as a noble profession, it rarely gets mistaken for a useful occupation. “Help Wanted – Fine Artist” is not a large column in the classifieds.”

That quote made me laugh hysterically. Of course, I know this is a true statement. Yet in my heart of hearts I have to confess, there have been lean times when I opened up the classifieds and wished it said “Short, blond, young and naive artist with a M.F.A. needed immediately!!” In some weird way, I felt really sad when I didn’t see that ad there.
I heard that same desperation and shock as I read a recent post on an art message board. The poster was a young woman recently liberated from art school. She had set up her studio and started to battle the world sans professors and constant artistic feedback. Her post was a long rant about how hard her art life was and how nobody wanted to buy her creations, and why didn’t anyone tell her this would happen and yadda yadda yadda. I didn’t respond to the post because the only thing I could think of writing was “What did you expect?” I wasn’t thinking this in bitchy way. I was being matter of fact. I can’t blame her for expressing her angst. I understand it. I sold my first oil painting (two swans on a lake) for $50 to a local businessman when I was 15 years old. I remember thinking, "Oh! This artist stuff will be a $$$$$piece of cake$$$$$$!!!" Well La Dee Da!
I realize now, getting older isn’t such a bad thing.
At least reality doesn’t shock you as much.

”View From the Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way In An Uncertain World”
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Mad William said...

Great post. Every time I see a show for the under 30 set I want to hurl. Like being a good, or emerging artist is only for those under 30. Ha!

I laughed out load at the "What were you thinking".

I meet so many beginning artists in my gallery that expect us to drop to our knees and beg to show their work. Art schools do nothing to prepare the students for the reality that is the world of fine art.

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh William!!! Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! I don't mean to sound desperate here, but I am just shocked and delighted someone is actually reading all this shit! I am taking part in a period of self-imposed isolation. I have been busy making art and writing blog posts. There have been days and days when I don’t speak to any other human beings. Most of the time both activities (art and writing) seem like they are for my own amusement. I am so glad to hear another "voice" out there!!
If you liked this post, you might love tomorrow's post. I have already written it and it is a doozy! I keep opening the file to reread it because it makes me feel sad and glad all at the same time.
Thanks again for reading what I write. It makes me feel like I am not as insane as I feel. Well….I guess you might relate to that considering you call yourself “Mad William” LOL LOL LOL