Monday, May 11, 2009

Art Blog: WHAT IF?

These thoughts have been featured in a reoccurring daydream. I sit and watch endless YouTube videos about the art world. I read seemingly zillions of blogs about the newest and the coolest in Manhattan or international art fairs. I watch my Twhirl twitter screen regurgitate message after message about high end art sales and distant art lives. I feel the disconnect.

There are many art worlds. Sometimes I feel like I am cupping my hands and looking in the window of a pricey, high class store which is far beyond my means. I look at the window display and just wish I could afford that designer dress or I glance behind me to see a high priced, unattainable car parked in front of the store. Regardless of the way my head turns; I am reminded I am not one of the lucky ones.

I have limitations. Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, I know! Oh yes. I have believed if you think positively and do the work, things will happen for you. The attitude I love/hate the most is a quote from one of the TV show “Housewives of New York”. While being interviewed by the BCC in her palatial Manhattan apartment and asked about her financial status in these economic times, she said something like “Well, if you work hard, you get this!” If I could reach through the screen to strangle her, I would have. No Honey! I have worked HARD for longer than you have been alive and I don’t have “this”. Shut the “F” up!

OK. I take responsibility. I didn’t go into business or make a rich man my husband. I am an artist. Yet, I still drool when I see things like huge, cavernous studios. I feel jealous when I see an artist given the opportunity to do a huge installation in a lily white walled gallery. As I look at the art fair wares, I wonder what it would be like to be featured in one of the carrels. I realize my limitations. I wonder what it would be like to have the “rich and famous” as friends. I dream of having so much money that I could create for any amount of time or with any amount of materials to create a huge, impressive room size work of art.
Yes, I wonder. I dream.

The reality is I keep doing little, tiny works because I can’t afford to do huge paintings or store components of an installation. I can’t even figure out how to store 6’ X 6’ paintings. There is no place to put them and there isn’t the money to store them. I have no high end friends who will say “Hey, she is good. Buy her art.” I don’t have the freedom of time and money to do what I have the potential to do. There is always the little thought:
WHAT IF?


I bet a lot of you have thought this too!

9 comments:

JafaBrit's Art said...

I would be a fibber if I didn't say I pined for a big barn, with big windows, a pot belly stove and a hanging area, a workshop area, and work stations.

Right now I am not pining for much. As long as I am able to create I am happy :)

Sheree Rensel said...

Jaf,
OH, I knew you would get this post. However, I pine for MUCH MORE. Yes, I am happy I can create. I have more than many. Yet, there is a part of me that says: "I DESERVE THE BEST!" You know?
:-)

GILDA said...

We are the real deal. Our lives are the norm.

99% of artists live like us. This is what I tell students I work with. But they dont want to hear it....and neither did I when I was their age. Live a good life, putting works in shows around the country, good job, comfortable studio, loyal network of friends and peers....what more is there?


My husband is an actor. 99% of actors live lives like him...auditioning but not getting many roles, and the ones they do get are backgrounds, bits or supporting roles if they are extremely lucky. I am sure that when he started out he thought he would be Tony Curtis or James Dean [yes he is that old!] but he is the one who reminds me of the extreme pyramid of the acting world....the pinnacle is made up of the "stars" but the base is made up of the work-a-day actors that are oh so necessary to productions.

When I show this comparison to young artists, they listen to me with impatience and say the classic line from A STAR IS BORN...."maybe I will be the ONE!"

Ian Aleksander Adams said...

I'm glad I like having a cozy little working space, though it certainly is nice having access to installation spaces when I need them. Sometimes limitations can help make more interesting work.

As I've said before though, I'd rather be a poor unemployed artist than a poor unemployed steel worker. At least I knew what I was getting into.

Sheree Rensel said...

Gilda,
I don't blame your students. We were that age once and we were just like them!!! LOL LOL LOL
It is true for all art professions. The configuration of the group as a whole is a pyramid! Sure, we all wish we were at the top. However, I am just thankful I am not on the very bottom row! :-)

Sheree Rensel said...

Ian,
You are very correct! I have to remind myself all the time, that I have had more success than many, many artists. Also, I am neither unemployed or poor. I guess I really can't complain!!
Thanks for your feedback! :-)

deb said...

oh for a big white empty gallery and a stipend and a production crew and and and...
but then I go upstairs where my hubby is helping me carve out a real studio at the top of the world and I am sooooo happy for that space, oh Virginia every woman needs a room of her own.
And I know now I couldn't be "that artist", I hate my own openings which wouldn't work for that fame and fortune thing at all, so maybe it is all for the best.

kathy casey said...

Oh...how I love reading your blog. It's sick how you have me pegged. I guess we all pine for the space and the freedom. I dream of moving to New York and becoming that much applauded and adored bohemian - living and working in a cool SoHo loft... Having smart edgy friends come over with expensive wines and talking over liberal ideas as they ooooh and aaaah over my latest 12x18foot canvas. *BLINK* Who am I kidding? I'm a Mom, a wife, a caregiver, a school teacher, a plain old boring lady that likes to make "weird" art. (You should see people's reactions out here in the 'sticks' -when I show them my paintings!) Whatever- at least I am living a creative existence- no matter how far from NYC it may be.

namastenancy said...

Every time you post, I find my self nodding in agreement - yes to the envy of those who have "made it" in the art world, yes to the wish for huge, whitewashed studios and the support system that goes with it and yes - to the younger, more foolish self that I was in my 20's. I just saw the MFA show at SFAI and SFSU. Both shows are full of overblown photographs, bizarre installations and lots and lots of empty rhetoric about what the work "means." Frankly, with the wisdom of age, (cough), I prefer work like yours which I can get from looking and appreciating. I don't have to be told what your work means. I GET it! And that's what comes from working your hind end off for upteen gizzion years!
And yet, like you, I always hear that little voice saying "What if?" What if I had access to.....fill in the blank.