Thursday, April 15, 2010

Art Blog: The Place of ART

Where do we stand? As human beings, Americans (most of us anyway) and artists, where do we fit? I will be honest. I am a hot mess right now. I have been thinking and thinking. I have been analyzing my every art move. I am sure some of this writing will sound disjointed and bizarre. That is because I am really struggling to understand what is going on right now in our art world.

Last night, I was delighted to watch Art 21, fifth edition. Cindy Sherman spoke about her work over the years. Then there was another artist. I am not going to mention any name. I just remember that he pulled himself through a puddle of white paint and made some kind of bizarre body trail across the room. OK. I didn’t give up watching. There was more. I forgot it.

Then there are artists like me. At this point, I feel like I am an art nobody. Despite working for decades, my work is just my work. There isn’t much to say about it really. I just have created a lot of stuff. I would hope somebody relates to it. Maybe so. Maybe not. That is a moot point because I will continue to make art regardless of the world climate. However there is a very real part of me that asks

“Why make more? What is the point?”
I bet there are some of you have thought the SAME THING!

I have to ask this question.
Where does our art fit into this world right now?

One of the problems I see as so obvious is that I will not underprice my work. I have sold much work over my art life. However, it seems most art similar to my “level” is being bought now on the “cheap”. I can’t do that. If you figure materials cost and time spent doing the work, why would an artist sell for pennies? Huh? I have no interest in that. It is kind of sadly weird right now. The average person can’t buy my real art. Hmmm.

I am not asking for that much. My day job is teaching. Teacher’s salaries are awful compared to other professions. However, if I ever tried to make my teacher salary via art sales I would be in huge trouble. Oh, I could do this if I started painting assembly line pet portraits or Florida landscapes. I am not about any of that. I kind of think many underprice their art because they want to say they SOLD. Well, I have been there done that. I have no interest in that ego boost. I think I need to find a happy medium. I know I will never be heralded as an artist of the stature of those on Art 21. However, I am not ever going to be a pet portrait artist or a painter of big eyed girls. I am somewhere in this weird, nebulous middle.
It is a strange place to be.

So what is the answer?
I think I know, but don’t want to acknowledge it.

What do you think? What is the answer?

I end with my piece “World Watching”.
I feel this way right now. The world watches. It sees.

Will ART be in its vision?
Click pic to see entire piece


namastenancy said...

A powerful essay and a powerful piece - I don't have any answers. I ask the same questions and like you, am glad that I have an "outside" source for money. Is there any answer? Maybe it's the nature of our times that we can only ask the question but has it ever been different for such as we - women, not well connected, not wealthy, not ..well, with whatever makes you supposedly "successful" vs "not successful in the world." Zenobia's blog has a two part piece on Judith Leyster (sp) whose work was mistakenly attributed on Frans Hals or ignored for centuries after her death. If such a superb artist like Leyster can come to such a fate, well, that says everything about the world but nothing about the talent so casually dismissed.
Has art ever been in the world's vision? Maybe when art was wrapped up with religion or mysticism but since then...well, probably not.
Sorry - such a long post but with no real wisdom just feeling what you feel.

Gilda said...

Sheree, this is favorite topic of conversation amongst a bunch of us here at work. And, when I hang out with groups of actors there are similar conversations, with the exception that they have several unions that can run interference, etc.
All of us are really, in the same situation, I guess.
That's why just the other day we were cheering around of our friends and fellow artist, KRISTIN BEAVER, got her work chosen for the Midwest Edition of NEW AMERICAN PAINTING!
Kristin said she had entered for a number of years, and finally there was a curator who chose her work. The rest of us who submitted work and who got our rejection emails are thrilled for her!

deb said...

Like you I have a day job, in fact I had two, I just quit one to have more art time. I am glad my art isn't my income, because already I am feeling the need to compromise on content and price, to make commercial stuff that will sell. I am feeling very conflicted about this, is it good to make money with my talents, or am I squandering a gift that should be making intelligent comment about the world on pretty things. Like the others I have no answers, only more questions, more angst. What I love about your blog is the hard questions you raise with such honesty.