Sunday, June 27, 2010

Art Blog: Hand of the Artist

My mind has been swirling the past few days. I am in the “art zone”. I have been reviewing old work, nodding to current work, and thinking very deliberately about future work. I won’t go into the nitty gritty about the trials and tribulations of my art path. I just thought of writing about one of the motivations of my work right now.

I think it is interesting that artists allow public opinion to affect the progress of their work. I am guilty. Tell me an artist who hasn’t thought things like “What will sell?”, “Why didn’t this series get any kind of positive feedback?” “Is my work taken seriously?” The reason artists can get caught up in this whirlpool of spiraling thought is because we are so isolated as we work. We do the work and put it out there for the world to see. Then we wait for reaction.
This is a double edged sword. It can be gratifying or devastating. Everything depends on the artist’s own self esteem and intelligence. Who is judging you? Who is giving you advice or opinions? Who is trashing or supporting your work? Think about these things. It is important because if the people giving you feedback which may or may not change your creative path are not individuals with the experience and knowledge to give a valid opinion, why are you listening to them?

My current mantra for my work is “simplicity”. I want the work to be interesting but “quiet” in a certain way. It might make a momentary noise and then there is a silence. I would hope this is when the viewer is quiet too or decides to make a slight sound. However, I am not interested in making art right now that will make people roar with reaction. I am just not.

While thinking about future work, I thought about an unfinished series of graphite drawings called ”Modern Fairytales”. They are simple, narrative, graphite drawings. I did those years ago and when they got no public response, I tucked them away. Out of sight, Out of mind. I rediscovered them recently and thought of continuing on with this work. I put a few online this week and was told they are cool or interesting or whatever. However, the comment that struck me the most was referring to transforming the work digitally: “scan them in and play with them in Photoshop and make them so much more!”

I hated that suggestion, but I realized we are all about that train of thought in our society right now. Digital. Digital. Digital. I totally disagree. First, realize that I am a digital person. I am “digital” all day long. Practically my entire life is online. I even teach technology! However, there comes a time when digital is not the answer to everything. All things do not need to be digital to be better, worse, or (fill in the blank).

Then, I had a EUREKA moment. One reason I want to make art that is just "simple" art is because I want to maintain some kind of semblance of the “hand of the artist”. I see so much stuff now that is derivative, pop oriented, or so obviously DIGITAL, it bores me. I can see a day when fine art sans technology will be seen as a foreign, but nostalgic commodity. Maybe this is why I reacted with such distain to the comment.

Digital is wonderful. I LOVE technology. However, we have to understand that “new” is not necessarily better. It is like comparing apples and oranges. We can have both and it is OK. We all have to remember that “all that glitters is not gold”. New is not necessarily better than old.
It is just different and that is fine.


jafabrit said...

"“What will sell?”, “Why didn’t this series get any kind of positive feedback?” “Is my work taken seriously?”

I used to ask these questions but now I don't. I got burned out, and if you remember I decided to give up the business side of art. The funny thing is that when I did that the business side of art picked up on it's own LOL! Meanwhile I just do my own sweet thing.

It's a good thing to let go and trust your heart, that is when we can soar creatively.

Gabrielle Pescador said...

I don't have a sense of what sells, which I suppose is a fortunate thing artistically - there's no interference there. But I do have sensitive moments about the way my art is seen. Painting is so personal - not only is it a reflection of my feelings, but also my pain, my joy, my understanding of the world and connection to it as well as my dream of life. You need a thick skin to do this kind of stuff.