Friday, September 22, 2006


ArtSpeak:Less Silly, More Serious
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One of my grandiose ideas when I started this blog was to provide the truth behind the work I would post. In grad school art history classes we were told what the artist did (true or not?) and occasionally we would read what the artist said in response to the critics, historian, columnists, etc. I was struck by the descriptions of Georgia O'Keefe's paintings, that they were all about sexuality. Flowers=sex. She disputed this notion, but the written word has strength and once published, turns to 'fact'. I wanted to have my say about my work, in case anyone wanted to look it up later. Gotta give those art history majors some work to do.
The world puts artists in a separate class, sometimes on a pedestal as tho we were from outer space. I hear so many people say, "I am no artist, I just like to make stuff".
What do you think an artist is, for heaven's sake? If you like to make things, that does make you different in a way from those that don't make things, but it isn't magic, what we do, it is learned behavior not unlike athletics, or anything one focuses on with tenacity.
Some are better at it than others. Some are better at math than others too. So?
Being an artist doesn't mean being a great artist, or even a good artist, it means trying to make stuff that pleases the inner self. Eventually with practice and some direction, one finds one's art is improving and when it clicks it seems like magic.
If you can find an audience it is even more magical. We have all seen artists that have a huge audience however, but that does not make their art better, it may just mean that they are better at public relations than others. I am thinking of Thomas Kinkade as an example.



Syrupy and maudlin, his art sells in the millions, but that doesn't make him or his art great. That whole greatness aspect is what gets into our brains and results in paralysis.

David Walker says that art is primarily for the benefit of the artist. It makes us feel good when we make it and when we show it and it is well received. Even if we make art and never show it, the thought of it being discovered one day, and judged to be brilliant, may be the motivating force behind what we do.

Or we just have to do it, and can't even face answering the why?

Judging by the comments you left here yesterday, I am thinking we all are in the same insecure life raft, out on a sea of uncertainty. Where's the shore, and will we ever get there? Ha! The cruise is really all there is. Even if you get to the place where you are lauded, you still will want to be out there testing the waters. That is the artist in you.

15 comments:

  1. so very well said. The uncertainty of acceptance is always there yet doesnt stop us from going on with what we must do. For me it is indeed a complusion to create.

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  2. I think we create art (or not art, just craft, as if that were lesser somehow) because we have to. If it is appreciated or awarded or bought, that is just a bonus. We would do it anyway. We have to create or we would go crazy.

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  3. This is so beautifully said today Melody. "The cruise is really all there is." So true, and I always forget that! The shore keeps changing for me, anyway, so why not focus on the trip and not the destination. Thank you.

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  4. I have this quote floating around in my head, maybe from "Art and Fear" that "art is something you do when it hurts too much not t".

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  5. As an "artist-in-training", I'm lovin' the blog and comments here. Sometimes I just wanna make a pretty picture ... Other times I want to portray a feeling ... that's the tough part of this "in-training" bit. When I find myself having to explain what it is, I realize I've shown the piece to the wrong person!

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  6. I love what David said. That is so true. I make what makes me happy or is in my braind and wants to come out. If someone else likes it - well, that is great. If someone wants it in their show - awesome. If someone wants to buy it - show me the money!!

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  7. "How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most." -- Stephen Covey

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  8. Léonie2:58 PM

    While I agree with David and also Gerrie's remarks, I personally have found that often I've challenged myself by taking on another's point of view ie a juried show, a different topic or technique, sometimes offered by an organization you belong to and their classes or challenges etc. By entering into their medium, I oft times open up a side in me I did not know existed and I learn things anew which makes me grow and develop as an artist. I usually put my own spin on it, that comes naturally, but sometimes I find these challenges lead to growth and exploration that makes me think and feel differently . It very often leads me to experiment and play and that is definitely a good thing!

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  9. Thanks for the clarity with which you expressed your thoughts. This is something I wrestle with daily and it is wonderful to realise I am not alone

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  10. Hi Melody,
    Last night at NSQG the inspirations from your workshops at the Barrington Library in August were making their appearances during Sew and Tell. I keep fiddling with mine but will have to declare it finished eventually to share as well. Thank you again for the opportunity to learn something fun and stretch my imagination.

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  11. Thank you. I particularly like ther part about not being great or even good, just "making stuff that pleases the inner self." THAT I can manage.

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  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. You are an artist! Congratulations! Thak's for visit im my blog. Successfull!

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  14. i really like your art so coming from you it's very reassuring to hear that some artists are not "art snobs." i don't know where i'll end up - whether i'll dive into it seriously or just enjoy the ride - but after reading your post i've realized that the ride is the point!

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Hello,
So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com