As we get older, memories start to flood our minds. It is common to hit a certain age, start reminiscing, and become nostalgic. "Remember when..." Lately, I have been doing this a lot in regards to my life as an artist. Things have changed so much since I began this creative trip. I started showing my work in the 70's. My art world at that time didn't seem so complicated. Academia was part of my background and "art for art sake" was a common train of thought. I did sell my work in galleries, but that was icing on the cake. I had this notion that artist's were some kind of heroes and getting lots of money was not the primary purpose of living an art life.
It is so different now. Careerism is being taught in some art schools. A good majority of artist videos on YouTube sound like they have been listening to too many Zig Ziglar audio books. Everywhere you turn online, there is some new "Business of Being an Artist" marketing website. SELL! SELL! SELL! This is the mantra of the day. I suppose this is a good thing for some artists. I totally agree; artists should be paid for their art. However, sometimes it bothers me when I tune in to watch an artist's video only to feel like I am watching "Big Al trying to sell a used car on his lot." Another of my little pet peeves is when I see artist's hawking their "adult coloring books" or some other get rich quick scheme. Nor am I interested in painting with celery stalks or making art out of jello. If you want to cash in on fads and crazes, go right ahead. I just think gimmicks are silly. I am sorry. Maybe it is because I won't do just anything for a buck and my art time is too precious. If I wanted to, I could paint quaint, dreamy cottages like Thomas Kinkade. NOPE. Never going to happen. I think if I was 25 years old and had lived in the digital age my entire life, I would have a different perspective. However, I am not and I don't.
I think what I remember most about the past is more of a sense of artistic honesty and integrity in my art circles. Passion and purpose was a top priority. At least, it seemed like the art I encountered was meaningful. I recently saw this video interview with artist, Harold Garde. He is in his nineties. I am old, but not that old! LOL I thought about the changes he has seen in his art life. I loved much of what he says in this video.
"Garde refuses to paint for the galleries, collectors, shows or museums, but is instead focused on pleasing one person: himself."
As we age we notice the world changing, but so do we. Rejecting the art establishment is a hard thing to do. Nowadays, this concept seems crazy. Yet, I understand his intention. What struck me most is he too can look back at the past, but he doesn't dwell there. He has shown his work in galleries and museums for decades. Now, that isn't important to him. He moves with the flow of time. His time. I like that.
CLICK PIC to hear Harold speak.