Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Art Cliques

My Sunday morning ritual always includes watching the CBS show “Sunday Morning”. I love the art segments. In this week’s show, they showed art in the Hamptons. They were profiling the “Scope” art fair. While watching, I noticed how many artists explained some connection or history with the “Hamptons”. It seemed either their family had lived there for decades or their nouveau riche parents provided summers there for their privileged progeny.
It really didn’t matter what they said. I watched them speaking and realized I am not of that ilk. Shit!! I am basically trailer trash. Oh yes, I am like the phoenix coming out of the ashes. I worked hard to get my degrees. I am the first and only in my family to earn a college degree (let alone multiple degrees). I worked hard to become of a part of various art communities. However, the Sunday morning segment reminded me of whom I am. I am not in a cool “art cliques”. I am not rich. I can't change my past. I don’t have influential friends or patrons. I still feel like a bit of an outcast.
This brought back so many memories of just trying to fit in during my life. I remember high school. I was such a misfit. I was never really part of the gang or a cheerleader or a jock. When I was in school, there were the preps (nerds), the greasers (black leather motorcycle type guys and girls), the jocks, and there were the FREAKS. That is the group I finally joined. I got it together (actually I disassembled myself to become emotionally and spiritually disjointed so I could be a part of this group). These were the “post hippies”. The only reason I chose them was because they would allow me to become a member of their “club”. This may have been because they were so messed up they didn’t care. In fact, I have never gone to a H.S. reunion because I know my "friends" would never remember me. LOL LOL

The desire to BELONG is still inside me. A few weeks ago, I looked at a roster for an upcoming exhibition and it struck me. This is an exhibition showing the work of an art clique. I recognized the names and saw their online relationships. At that moment, I realized nothing really changes. We are all still in high school, picking and choosing for whom we want to be associated. I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. All I know is I still feel like I am an outcast sneaking a peak through the back window. Meanwhile every echelon of society has their little, comfy, cozy, cool art cliques. Realizing this, I wonder if it is possible to climb the stairs to the various echelon levels without a “secret art clique” pass.

I watch kids today wearing their GOTH pants.
It really isn’t all that different now.
Over 30 years ago, I wore a dog collar with big silver spikes.
Ritualistically, I would paint my nails black and then go to the mall to freak out all the old people!
Yet now, there is a Goth teen I know who emails me via MySpace
He has no clue, I was like him decades ago. Or does he??
A lot of things change, but really stay the same in so many ways.
We all want to fit "in".


self taught artist said...

I just recommended your blog on Art Biz Blog
Love your blog!

Sheree Rensel said...

Hooray!!!! I have one fan!! Do you wanna start an "art clique"? TEE HEE HEE HEE HEE
Thanks for the recommendation!!

Tracy said...

Hi Sheree, came over via self-taught artist's recommend and this post could have been written by me. I have never fit in anywhere, ever.

I gave up on wanting to however, when I realized that others felt that I DO belong, and I realized it's all about perception, not so much reality.

Anyway, I am glad to have found your blog, nice art!

Sheree Rensel said...

Tracy, You are ABSOLUTELY correct! It is all about perception. I am sure that many artists have a feeling of disconnection. Once it sets into your brain, it is very difficult to those thoughts out of there! I know for sure it is all about the way we see ourselves. I know I have been so surprised during my life when I have gotten a grant or award or asked to be in an invitational exhibition. I always thought "They picked me?? Gee, that's weird!" LOL LOL
Gotta go work on my self esteem now.......HA HA HA HA LOL LOL

self taught artist said...

sure...lets start one :)

Martha Marshall said...

I never felt as if I fit in either. And I didn't. It's wonderful to be old enough to have stopped caring about that. But truly, don't you think that's part of the artist's makeup? If we fit in, we wouldn't be artists after all.

Ann Russell said...

Found your blog after I posted my own blog about artist cliques. I do agree with Martha that not fitting in is part of the artist's territory, but at the same time we get sorted according to what seems commercially viable or trendy or who we know. Hang in there and trust that your art will speak to other people, cos it does.