Friday, April 27, 2012

Art Blog: Dancing NAKED

" Art is changing. Again. Here. Now. Opportunities to witness this are rare, so attend and observe." Jerry Saltz

What does it mean to MAKE it as an artist? Most likely, there are as many answers to this question as there are artists on earth. This post comes on the heels of asking myself this question over and over again. I had one of my infamous ideas for a project which could take years to complete. In the meantime, I started to poke and prod the online soils to get opinions and comments. I asked:

" How many of you wish you could be a part of the NY/World art scene, but find yourself in mid-America showing at small galleries or community art venues or just online? If this sounds like you, why don't you take the plunge and move to a thriving art center or place where you can get more artist notoriety???"

After asking these questions, my FB page lit up like a Christmas tree. Artists were eager to respond. I am saving specific comment details for my aforementioned project. However, I can condense the flavor of the opinions into categories. Artists from around the country mentioned competition, the futility of the mere numbers of artists in NY, lack of art experience to the degree needed to enter the big leagues, living conditions/standard of living, contentment with a smaller, less known galleries, and of course, MONEY.

I will never move to NY or be a part of that scene. I can't see the benefit of it really. I never wanted it enough. The superficiality coupled with the smoke and mirrors of the NY art scene scares me. The cost to live there is astronomical. MOST artists make very little money and work numerous jobs to support their art career aspirations. I do that too, but with a lot less stress. Of course, there is no golden carrot hanging in front of my nose. I will never be shown in a world class gallery. I am not in the right circles to even get near that aspiration. Yet there are many NY artists who are close and hang onto the outer rim of those circles. They white knuckle it as they hold on for dear life. They have hope, but even they complain about holding on too long and/or too tight.

Enter this month's New York Magazine, April 30, 2012 issue "How to Make It in the Art World". This is such a wonderful collection of articles of the typical art scene B.S. and wonderment. Even though I am not there, I live vicariously. The devil whispers in my ear to read and keep up with the debauchery, while the angel on my other shoulder reminds me of the virtues. I eat up this stuff like a teenage girl watching Snooki on the "Shore". After this issue came out, I noticed Jerry Saltz's FB page posting apologies and explanations about the issue. He got hundreds of comments on his posts about his own writing and the entire publication. I read every comment and realized many things. One thing that hit me like a brick is except for the dangling carrot, even NY artists feel the same things as artists all over our country. If you review the threads it becomes obvious money (or lack of it) isn't really the only source of pain. Jerry Saltz said it best when he responded:

" You ask about me writing "How to Make it in the Art World." I do not think that there is such a thing as "IT." At all. No how; no way... You want to make money, you mean? Invent/make something that people want to pay a lot of money for, I suppose. I want you to be rich. But most artists, while they always say all they want is to have money, really just want to dance very naked in front of a lot of people. If you just want people's attention, I suppose you should invent or make something that will get you that attention ... IF you really really really really want one of those things, that's really all you have to do.... But artists want much much more... Or the ones I know do.. In the meantime know that the ONLY rule is that are no rules. I promise you this..."

DANCING NAKED. After reading this, my eyes opened wide. I understood something about myself and many other artists I know. Money has never been my motivation to make art, ever. When I read "while they always say all they want is to have money, really just want to dance very naked in front of a lot of people." I got it. He might as well have screamed this in my ear. It isn't about money at all. It is about attention followed by appreciation followed by a feeling of value followed by a fair amount of ego stroking followed by (hopefully) some bucks thrown in for good measure.

I think when and if any artist feels this, no matter where they are, where they create or show their art, they feel like they MADE it.

Click pic to see the NY MAGAZINE current issue on ART

Monday, April 23, 2012

Art Blog: HONESTY is the best policy?

I put this photo of some art I made in the past online today to accompany a Facebook post. After it loaded, I just sat there and looked at it. It was like looking at a photo of an old boyfriend. I remember when............... As I stared at this painting I realized what a liar I have become. I have been trying so hard to fit in and/or get some kind of response from any art community, I have lost myself. When I looked at this little collage, I thought "This is the real me. This is Sheree's real art." I stopped doing it because it was not popular. It did not sell. So goes the story of my life.

In the past year, I have tried so hard to fit into some kind of bizarre mold of my mind. I have tried to be a part of this or that "scene". I have tried to support others in hopes they would reciprocate. That didn't happen. In fact, I am basically in the same place I was a year or two ago. Oh, I have had things happen in my art life, but none of it had to do with my plan to try to fit into the local scene. I am still pretty much ignored here. Am I being too honest? Yes, probably so. Also, I have been trying so hard to be airy, fairy, Universal spirited. Let things just happen. Live in the moment. Be your authentic self. Well, I can't really be my true self. That gets me into too much trouble. I am too outspoken. I can't stand biting my tongue all the time. I am doing these bizarre art projects that have nothing to do with my real aesthetic. In other words, my big plan is a big flop.

I will be honest now. I am spitting a huge glob into the wind. My feelings have been hurt. I really wanted some acceptance for my art life in the past year. I was hoping to make friends and be invited into shows. I even tried to do work that could be appropriate and fit into the status quo art scene. This plan didn't work and I feel kind of foolish. I need to get back on track. My OWN track. I remember once seeing a video with Janet Fish and she was talking about her own art. She told of how she realized the art market preferred to collect male artist's work. She went on to say, when she realized this, she decided to make whatever she wanted. She had nothing to lose. I understand her point. I am not of her NY stature, but I understand the underlying logic.

I have nothing to lose either. For as much attention or appreciation I have received in the past year, I might as well make sculptures out of cockroach dung. I mean really. The skies have opened and I am free to do what I want. Why not. If nobody else cares, at least I can. I think a lockdown, painting marathon is in order. I bet I will create a bunch of art nobody cares about too. Nobody except me and that is all good.

I am just being honest.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Art Blog: BUY ART

I am just going about my art life. La Dee Da. La Dee Da. I really care about my blog, but I have been so busy, I haven't put aside the time to write. My next post on the burner is about whether artists should show their work in restaurants or other business venues. I have been thinking about this post for weeks!

In the meantime, I would just like a sign from the Universe. I have done so much right. I really have. I am just looking for little nudges. That's it. I am not asking for millions. A few bucks of art acknowledgement will do. If you can't buy originals, that is fine.

Support the arts.
Buy a print!
Thanks in advance!!

Friday, April 6, 2012


This is such a feel good story. It gives you faith and it allows you to know we all have a purpose in life. What we do with our drive and interests is up to us. We all have a destiny. Sometimes it helps to see and understand other artist's journeys to understand the possibilities of our own paths.

By pure happenstance, I was flipping through the TV channels last night. There just wasn't anything on worth watching. I landed on a documentary about the puppeteer, Kevin Clash. I kind of recognized him because he had been on other TV shows for brief moments. All his appearances had to do with puppets (blah, blah, blah). I knew he was a puppeteer due to Elmo fame. However, he never impressed me because he seemed so distant. His personality came off as harsh or boring. Boy oh boy, was I WRONG! This is why sound bites or tiny clips don't really tell the whole story. I was lucky to be able to view "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey" last night. It rocked my world.

Kevin had the gift and desire to be a puppeteer very early in his life. He knew it as a pre-teen when he eyed his father's raincoat with a fake fur lining. Kevin got the scissors and started cutting. He made his first puppet. Rather than become outraged and planning punishment, his parents were OK with this. His father said to "just ask" next time. This was the start of a fantastic, wonderful career at the age of 10. Kevin made many, many more puppets. He was driven. He would watch TV shows with puppets, not only for entertainment but for technical advice. In his teens, he already had a cadre of puppet characters all stored in his parent's bedroom on plastic shelves. He knew his fate and destiny was waiting.

Yes, there were struggles. Why would a boy want to make puppets instead of playing sports? Why? He was teased and taunted, but his focus was on his love of puppets. He just kept creating no matter what was said or thought. Lucky for him, he had parents who encouraged his "odd" interest. They knew he knew his purpose in life.

Kevin's life is like a grand dominoes game. Everything seemed to happen at the right time and place. He had done the work, people talked, and he got jobs. He met other famous puppeteers and quickly landed work as a puppeteer for Captain Kangaroo and then another series came his way. Meanwhile his idol, Jim Henson was inviting him to the big party. It took a while for things to work out, but Kevin finally was asked and agreed to join the elite Muppets club, Sesame Street and all. This was like Kevin's life lotto. Jim Henson? Really???? It all fell into place.

However the biggest domino fell when another puppeteer didn't like Elmo. When Elmo first arrived on the Sesame Street scene, he was kind of gruff and rough. The veteran puppeteer didn't like him. So, he threw it in Kevin's lap. With a lifetime of experience and understanding puppetry, Kevin thought long and hard about Elmo. Who is Elmo? What should he represent? He decided that Elmo represents LOVE. He loves life. He loves people. He loves YOU. Kevin changed the sound of Elmo's voice to a sweet, vulnerable, but energetic childlike creature. In fact, Elmo became an extension of Kevin's personality mixed with his parent's understanding. Kevin isn't harsh or boring at all. He is just shy and obsessed with his artistic vision. The rest is history.

However this is not the whole story by far. If you get a chance, try to find the entire video and watch it. It will show you how our life dreams are there for the taking. If we have the commitment, drive, and life energy to proceed and make our dreams come true, it is there for us. We just need to grab and hold on.

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey
Click pic to watch trailer
Kevin Clash is a remarkable, inspirational man.
Watch the documentary and you will understand why I am so in awe.
I mean really. I tear up just watching the trailer!!! :-)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Art Blog: NEW Stories, LESS Lies

We are always searching for a better self. At least, we should be. I have been on a self improvement binge the past few months. Since I want to change around just about everything, I am looking inward. I am shakin up the bottle and making it fizz. I have been reading and listening to all kinds of spiritual and self help gurus. They all say about the same thing and I have heard it all before. However, I am listening with different ears now.

Two such inspirational speakers are Iyanla Vanzant and Tony Robbins. I love watching them and listening to their words. They always get my butt in gear to do more art, take on life, and to think about my potential. One thing they both have in common is the idea that we all have our "stories" or beliefs in which we define ourselves. Some of these stories we make up and put them in our heads in childhood. You might think "I was the smart child in the family!" or "I have a great sense of humor and can make anybody laugh!" Those are good stories. We can keep those. However, many times we tell ourselves negative things that are fallacies. We tell ourselves personal myths. For example, some people might think "I was born poor, so I will always be poor.", "I have tried every diet there is, I can't lose weight!" or "I am only a single parent and I can't ........." There are as many stories as people on earth. So many are lies and untruths. These kind of stories hold us back and hinder our lives.

I have a bunch of stories (LIES) I have told myself over the years. I won't get into the nitty gritty because they are too boring and stupid. One that is relevant to the present is I told myself for YEARS I had to keep a job I didn't like. My story went something like "I have to keep this job! I have to because if I don't, I will meet with financial ruin! People will think I am crazy to leave this career. [Even though I am miserable, life is supposed to be hard.] It would be a form of suicide to leave!" Well, I quit back in January and I have found out NONE of this is true. Yes, I am not rollin in dough. I still have to find ways to survive, but I am still standing nearly four months later. I don't see tragic gloom and doom on the horizon right now either.

I am really reflecting on life and finding that place inside me that has helped me survive all these years on earth. I have always known my own power. Even with silly stories floating around inside my head, I still manage to find the strength and the place in myself in which I have told myself one good story: "Sheree is a survivor!". That one is a keeper. Right now, I am working on new, TRUE stories for myself. I want to be able to recognize my authentic self and throw all the old stories away.

Have you taken a good look at yourself lately?
What are the stories you tell yourself?
Are they positive or negative? Do they help you gain speed and inspire your creativity?
If so, great. Tell me your story.
If not, make up a new story and tell me your new truths.