Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Art Blog: Making it

As I stated in my last post, I have specific opinions about art and art business. One of the most predominant issues on my mind right now is the issue of “MAKING IT” as an artist. This statement is akin to the query “What is your interpretation of art success?” Well, I can answer that. If I can have enough time to create, produce art, and pay my bills all at the same time, I am really successful. I am MAKING IT.
I love art videos. There is one series called “Art City”. These videos document artists living in New York and showing in prominent exhibitions. As I watch some of these artists on camera, I notice how they mention the financial concerns they have. Some openly speak of the sacrifices they endure to make their art the priority. Some speak of penny pinching or arranging to visit friends to eat. Now mind you, these artists are featured in the documentary. In other words, they are “famous”, yet they are doing their art despite financial concerns. Oh I am sure, they WISH they would hit it big (whatever that means). They haven’t yet. They have gotten press. They are notorious. They are featured in the video. However, the bucks are still not there. So does this mean they aren’t artists of note? No. I don’t think so.
So now we move on to the next topic. MAKING IT. I think about this a lot. I have thought about those who make oodles of money on art. Then I realized they have a few jobs too. Nobody is just an artist. Even if you make art and then sell it (sans another job), you are still doing more than one job. Anybody who has spent time promoting, marketing, and selling their own work, knows this is ANOTHER job.
Making art is one activity. Marketing is a whole, other endeavor. In other words, no matter what your perception of “MAKING IT” is, being alone in your studio making art and living off the proceeds without having to devote any effort or time into making the money is just not going to happen. Even rich artists have a “day job” of sorts.
So it is up to you as an artist to find your niche. If you don’t mind having a job to support your art, pay your bills, and buy art supplies, great. If you chose to live on the proceeds of your entrepreneurial efforts, you do that. However, making art and being in the business of selling that art is more than one job. Yep! It is all good.

I am lucky. I have been so poor, I have had to collect cans to live.
Yes, I sold art at that time. However, the proceeds fell short of living expenses.
I am not worried about that anymore though.
Thank you GOD for allowing me to get older.
Experience is a wonderful thing.


gilda said...

I loved this post, Sheree. The whole notion of "making it" is something that comes up in conversation everyday at my school. The young ones equate "making it" only with money, fame in the larger art world ,art placed in museum collections,handsome/beautiful partner,the right tattoo, happiness, teaching job, Whitney Biennial, important/dynamic peers, loft space in Brooklyn. "Not making it" means taking any of the above components out of the equation.They are not flexible or realistic at all when it comes to identifying themselves.

But time tells. In my own case, just being happy is everything. Total success.

Sheree Rensel said...

Gilda, I could respond for days to your comment. First, I must say it doesn't surprise me at all that your students are all about the "stuff". That is the way the world is right now. Actually, I can't blame them. Even though I am an adult with a long history, I see myself being pulled into all the stupid media hype and superficial societal expectations of the day. I do. Of course, I question them after moments of being fooled. This is true not only for art and art business. It is about everything in life now. I laugh at wrinkle cream commercials because the model shown has perfect skin and is around 30 years old. Just look at all the celebrity perfection touted that abounds online or on TV. It is all so much B.S. Of course, young people want the perfect, "successful" life. Unfortunately, success means money and commercialism now. That is too bad.
I just have to tell you why I wrote this post. I will email you.

Gilda said...

Well, Sheree, I guess I have "made it". I got the May issue of Art In America and saw that there is an article on the recently renovated Detroit Institute of Arts. On page 107 there is a photograph of 'one of the newly installed contemporary art galleries'. Get out your magnifying glass, look on the extreme right hand side of the pic, and you will see a sliver of a work behind a glass case and just to the right of a work that protrudes at the bottom. That's me! LOL

Of course you know I am being totally facetious about the "making it"! Darn! cant put it in my resume because my name is nowhere to be found.

I showed this to one of my colleagues at school this morning, and we both busted a gut laughing! We had just had a great conversation the other day about needing to investigate more prudent avenues of promotion, and this falls into my lap. Shazam!

Sheree Rensel said...

Well La Dee DA!!! Good for you Gilda! I can say "I knew you when...!!!" Tee HEE HEE
Hey, now that I think of it, I am sure as I have walked through the DIA, some of my DNA fell off on the floor. I guess I could say "I am part of the DIA collection too!!" HA HA!

Hey, even if I needed a magnifying glass (a microscope???) I would take a photo in A in A as a nod of "making it". Be sure to put that page number on your resume!!!
:-) LOL

gilda said...

Come to think of it, more than a magnifying glass is needed.....I will put that corner of the photo under a microscope!

Sheree Rensel said...

Gild, if you still can't see it and have patience to wait a year or two, you can always ask to use this:

"TEAM Project (Transmission Electron Aberration-corrected Microscope), supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, has recorded the highest-resolution images ever seen (0.05 nanometer and below). This is equivalent to a quarter of the diameter of a carbon atom. This microscope will be delivered to the Berkeley National Laboratory in 2008 and will be fully operational in 2010."