At Then; Art Now...
By gordonmscott, May 5 2015 08:36PM
Many artists that I have met have expressed frustration, if not unhappiness at not creating art full time. More than that, there is a palpable sense within them that they are failing in some way, or worse, with harsh self sabotage - that one's creativity is flawed.
I cannot pretend to have been painting full time, all of the time since graduation in 1986, yet that fact does not compromise my professionalism! Deep contentment when being creative is an amazing experience. Peace breaks out into your life and being. Indeed there is the adage; paint to meditate, and in this regard it has the potential to be both an aesthetic and ascetic lifestyle. Small wonder that artists yearn to do it full time.
However, modern society is a strange animal and social expectations are as numerous as there are people.
If we agree with Robert M.Pirsig's theories on quality, we might easily apply those cogent ideas to success and all that it implies.
Depending on potential circumstances of course; the artist would do well to view themselves as 'fringe' people. We are observers; whether political, objective, subjective, classical or romantic, we partake of society, but remain outside. All those who observe, analyse and respond, find that stance a lonely one from time to time.
As to careerism, should the artist expect that the creative life fits readily into career. One look at artists in the past should calm the agitation in one's heart. If it is the art practise that is the priority, the ideal lifestyle, then we may reasonably conclude that any paid work in any sphere will do. Yet many will reject this.
Things are further complicated by notions of self esteem and pride. The admission that one is an artist, but at the moment sweeps the street to earn extra money will be a shock in the pub amongst one's mates. But then good mates understand and know you.
Art sales....mmmn, the repost to all compromising notions of alternative employ. The word potboiler has dogged me for a long long time. It was first aired by my parents, "Why don't you paint small highly saleable landscapes; potboilers?" The logic is that you run off stuff that sells whilst doing your avant garde stuff the rest of the time. The reticence is, what if one gets known for the potboilers, and no-one wants your more stimulating stuff. Ah, the irony! To speak and not be heard, to create and not be seen.
How many icons, religious and mythical themed work was turned out by the 'masters' of the past to gain commissions or philanthropy? Masters were constrained by the market (largely the church) which preferred figurative content and compositional structure shown in particular ways. Colour palette and narrative too was expected to stay within the proper accepted religious code. Try doing something different and it won't do, it might even be blasphemous.
How vastly different it is today. The artist may hear the word 'current' in regard to style, content and theme....there's an A-list for art too. It's more than implied that of your not current then who will want your work. Ah, nothing's changed really. We operate within self, social and market constraint still.
Have we satisfied ourselves with the notion of supplementary income through any employ? Have we tempered our ideas about success? I doubt we will manage it in jst a few hundred words.
Live; embrace your vision. Creating is a journey toward self knowing. Often overlooked, yet that inner truth, the law of your being; your narrative, is almost an eternal aspiration, a value as profound as love, sex and death. Your insight deserves to be seen, and that unique vision is not a career to be squeezed, sullied or tramelled by the vagaries of an ever changing society...Consider these things if you will, yet step forward with a surer tread!
I warmly welcome you to this Blog. I will endeavour to outline here all the realtime effort to dedicate life to the Artwork and take the time to tell the story to you.