Sunday, July 12, 2009
Art Blog: Process vs. Product
I have always been one to try to keep up with the times. I keep my nose in the news so I am aware of trends no matter how silly they might be. I am always buying and using the lasted techno gadget. I pride myself on being knowledgeable in all facets of contemporary life. Yet, there are some things that I don’t care about in this world right now. It seems that there is a changing mood about art, its purpose, and why it is made.
For the past few years, I have noticed an increasing number of art marketing websites, art marketing coaches, and more art sales everything. Even many artists I meet online tout and hawk their newest art “products”. There is nothing wrong with this. I have sold art. I have seen my own work as product many times before. However, the primary goal for me is the process. If someone buys work from me, it then becomes a product.
My first priority is the creative thinking, collecting, and sorting of concepts and ideas. There is the push and pull of materials. There is the angst and pleasure of bringing to resolution a new creation. I guess I am truly “old skool” when it comes to this philosophy. I am more concerned and dedicated to the act of making the art. I am interested in the creative process first. Making of the art is of paramount importance. If the work turns into a product after the process, that is secondary to me.
This is a very heady topic and anyone of us could write a thesis about it. For me, I think this is an issue of the purpose of art. I see art as being an intensely personal endeavor. I don’t make art which aspires to be a part of home décor. To me, art is not about matching the color of anyone’s walls or couch. Art shouldn't be just pretty pictures. Art is an expression of the artist. Art should speak about life. Art should reflect the artist and the society in which she lives. Art should have content which is expressed by the artist and interpreted by the viewer. I can’t imagine cranky out gewgaws for the pure sake of selling internet junk.
This topic has made me irritable lately. I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I was until reading so much about the new, art reality show being developed by Sarah Jessica Parker. I am a fan of many reality shows. I couldn’t figure out why this show concept raises the hair on my arms. I think it is because it fans the flames of the “art as product” idea to a new level. I see it as promoting not only the art as commodity, but the artist as a product too. It denies the purity and essence about which being an artist should be.
I don’t want to sound like a naïve, Pollyanna. I am very aware artist's need to make a buck too. Maybe I am behind the times in this area of our lives. However, I think too highly of art and artists to ever accept this new way of thinking about the creative process. This is ok for me. I don’t want to think of ART on any other level. If I do, it makes me feel dirty. Now I realize this is why I have recently felt annoyed.
No matter how hard I try, I know for sure I will never change this one part of me. In regard to ART, I will always view process over product. To me, art is not about making widgets or creating, new hipster art celebrities. Art and creativity should be seen as far more important than this in our world.