Audio Version of the Chapters is Here.
“When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money.” – Oscar Wilde
“To see far is one thing, going there is another.” – Brancusi
Ordinary problems – They are something that no matter what career someone goes into they will face. They alter somewhat depending on whether you are a banker, an artist, an accountant, or whatever your passion drives you towards, but those problems are there. You work hard at what you do and want someone to recognize it, whether it is a painting or other product. With creating art there exists a cycle. When you are young, if you create art there is usually somebody there to praise your success, and that in itself acts as payment. Occasionally you will actually have someone offer to pay you for your art, which feels great at first, until you think about the hours put into the product… and so the cycle begins.
Half way through the chapter they start talking about competition – I have found comparing yourself to others and their level of success is a huge waste of time. Apples to waltzes. If the amount of shows we have or the level of recognition we receive equates to our worth as an artist, wow, am I in trouble. I have been part of a gallery because I thought it was what artists did, I have done a few shows because I thought that was what artists did, I’ve started a web page because I thought that was what artists did, each thing was an ok experience, and they work for other artists, I just haven’t figured out what is best for this artist.
I encourage those of you thinking of a career in art to seriously consider taking business/marketing classes), my advice is to not get obsessed with selling your work, it can interrupt the creating end of art. Create your art and put it out there for people to see in a way that works for you. There is not one best way for all artists, just the best way for you, oh, and be prepared to adapt.
Beth Schlieger – Art Teacher – Marshall High School, WI
There is so much in this chapter that you will not learn in your standard art class. Looking to the instructor as to how to snap a shutter or adjust the f-stop, how to push the paint across the canvas or erase just enough to give the hazy feeling of morning fog in a drawing. The network of the art world is something that needs to be experienced. This chapter explains so many parts of it so well.
Ordinary Problems – “There’s one hell of a lot more to art than just making it.” Isn’t that the truth. How often do we hear our friends and colleagues comment on how easy we make it look? I heard today that “I just don’t have time to come up with my own ideas (stained glass student searching the world wide interweb for ideas – and then copying it verbatim in glass – that surely makes for “original art” – total sarchasm – duh). Oh the challenge for making art is so very difficult.
For art to be successful, it surely must attract attention, create discussion and cause questions to be raised, right? When have YOU found yourself in front of an artwork (a famous painting or sculpture, a not so famous painting or sculpture, a poem, film or play even) that has caused you to question the art in front of you? Have you ever had someone stand in front of one of your works with that sort of reaction? During an exhibition of landscapes a viewer, not knowing the artist was standing next to her, said to her friend “These look just like paint by numbers… I mean really… why is this so good?” While this may not be the controversy a Robert Mapplethorpe photograph gets, it was curious to me that she chose to question the landscapes and their worthiness of wallspace. What is it that makes you question what you see when you look at art?
Common Ground, Art Issues, Competition and Navigating the System are all additional aspect of being an artist that are essential to really knowing what it is all about. As I have said in the past, art is far more than simply making pretty pictures. Take time and read one of these sections VERY caferfully and share something aout yourself that is specific to that section. Is there a common ground that you share with your fellow artists’? Do you feel concerned or worried about the issues of representation and “making it” as an artist? Is the school situation and classroom interaction competition enough for you to make your work the best you can, one notch better than the kid sitting next to you?