Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Things happen. Every day, we encounter momentary events that sway our thoughts and have the potential to give us a surge of energy or make us feel like there is no point. Yet, we keep going. For the last few days, I have thought about a post on the EVA LAKE blog. Her “Ambition” post references the web blog “Sellout”. I was especially taken by her quote:

Every few years I tell someone that I might just quit painting. It’s not the paint itself - paint is good. It's the immense ambition and blind faith to keep at it, to maintain belief and that sense of self-importance.”

I have never considered giving up painting. In fact, I can’t imagine that at all. However, I have felt like giving up the “Look at me, I am an ARTIST!” stuff. The ongoing feeling I am screaming in my own ear “Pick ME! Pick Me!” drives me nuts. As most artists do, I continually work at getting my work out there, looking for opportunities to exhibit, edit photos, make CDs, write emails, make videos, make webpages, promote, promote, promote, ad nauseam. All these tasks are done in the name of “wanting”. Now I am asking, “wanting what”? After being given a tip on another promotional art website, I asked the tipster, Why should I put my stuff up on another website? My goodness, I am all over the internet now. I am starting to feel like I am chasing my own tail!
So getting back to thinking about Eva’s post about WANTING, I continue to think about “desire” in regards to art success.
What do we really want?
1. Attention?
2. Recognition?
3. Fame?
4. Money?
5. Adulation?
6. Stature?
7. Social prominence?
8. ????????
After watching the Kalm Report videos showing the “IT” artists of the day floating around their openings like creative butterflies, I realize so many of the attributes of art success are superficial and fleeting. Is art success something real and palpable? Is it sincere? Of course, art fame makes your art life easier, allows you more resources, and is fun. However, I question whether the seeking to gain the worldly accoutrements of art success is what we really DESIRE. If you distill the reasons for continual art ambition, isn’t the underlying longing really to be loved and appreciated?
In the comment section of Eva’s “Ambition” post, the artist, Namastenancy remarks:

“The Buddhists say that desire is the root of all suffering. How do you give up a desire that is an integral part of your soul? How do you separate making art from wanting to be recognized for making that art, to achieve something and be known for that achievement? It’s not all in the marketing for if it were, a lot of us would be much better known.”
I agree.

What do you REALLY want?


Kim Hambric said...

I want to make art. I want somebody to buy this art. I want my art to connect to somebody else. I want to connect to somebody else through my art. I want to make money by making art. I would like just a taste of recognition.

Is that too much?

Sheree Rensel said...

I don't think that is asking for much at all. I think those are great "WANTS!"

Anonymous said...

I have spent a large amount of time wanting things that turned out to be elusive intangibles that really had nothing to do with what I did/do in my studio. As I observe my life now, at the age of 53, I experience everything now one day at a time. Just the other day a very young artist who is opening a new gallery space asked me if I would inaugurate the space. "Sure", I said, and immediately called up a friend to see if he wanted to show with me. He said yes. This whole exchange is relatively minor in the scheme of things, but it made me feel good that the younger artistic generation respects me enough to want to exhibit my work with theirs. This is a definition of 'success' that would not have been in my vocabulary a number of years ago. It says to me that my "wants" are changing for the better.


Sheree Rensel said...

Very well said (as usual)!
Thanks Gilda!

Rachel said...

delurking here to comment (hi!):

What I want is the motivation to keep on toiling, and that requires validation. I want to feel that my efforts are worthwhile, appreciated, and valued. I want an audience--not just of admirers, but of critics as well (for without critics, we can't get better.) I want the social space, freedom, and encouragement that a supportive audience could give me. I don't want to feel like a failed artist, a statistic. I don't want to whine any more.


Before I go back to lurking, I just want to thank you for always having smart, intelligent things to think about.

Ok, bye. :) :)

Mad William said...

I want my art to support me, not the other way around.

I want my work to be recognized the way I see it in my mind.

I want my work to spread the same amount of passion that I put into it.

I want to feel sane...

Anonymous said...

Rachel, I appreciate you, and I dont even know you. You are an artist, so am I, and Sheree's blog linked us. Do you have a website,or is there someplace on line like YouTube where we could see your work?


Sheree Rensel said...

I TOTALLY understand and agree with everything you said. However, sometimes those things are not there. I guess that is why I made my Valentine's video. In times when there is an absence of support, we must stay strong and appreciate ourselves.
I am so glad you are a LURKER. Also, I am glad I am throwing tidbits of info to start the thinking process. Sometimes, I feel like I am talking to myself!! LOL LOL
Good Luck girlie!

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh geesh!!! Do I HEAR you!! I think we all want those things. The "sane" comment made me jump. Sometimes I look around at all I do and think, "Am I insane for doing all this?" Of course the next question my subconscious asks is "Then why do you do it?" I answer because I couldn't live NOT doing it. "Oh, OK."

Rachel said...

Gilda; the only site I got is my deviantart site. The link is on the top of my sidebar on my "lessons" blog, which you will find if you click on my name.