Art making is such a weird thing(when I refer to art in this entry I am referring to visual art). I have conflicted feelings about art making, but less so than before.
My biggest qualm with art is that I don't see it as particularly 'important'.
Which isn't to say that I do not value or love it, because I wouldn't dedicate so much time to it if I did not.
I often compare art making to writing. Books and writing have literally changed my life. So much of how I view the world comes from books I have read. Books have influenced my life more than anything I can think of. My entire perception of reality is largely based on what I have learned from them. Were it not for books I might have a similar personality, but I would otherwise be a different person. In this regard I consider books and writing to be very 'important'.
Art on the other hand has hardly influenced me at all. I can't think of a single piece of art that has changed my perception of the world in a way I could identify.(though perhaps in ways I could not identify)
Visual art can explore ideas and emotions in interesting ways that other media cannot. However, when it comes to expressing an idea in clear and accessible ways, visual art may be one of the least effective of all formats.
In this sense I see art as not particularly 'important'.
However, I still feel it has value. But that value is secondary to other things. Art, in a sense, is like icing on cake. Like icing, it is nice to have and makes things more enjoyable, but in and of itself isn't particularly valuable. Art is total luxury.(but so much of modern life)
If I were given the choice right now to forever give up reading or experiencing art, without hesitation I would choose to never experience art again.
So why did I choose to pursue a career in art? Because I enjoy the process of making art enough that I would be willing to do it even if I did not make money. (art is kind of like masturbation.)
I cannot say the same for my other big interest, writing. I enjoy writing, and still dream of being able to be published, but writing is a chore in a way art making is not. If I knew for certain I would never be published, I doubt I could find the motivation to write a book.
However, if I knew I would never sell a piece of art or display it in a gallery, I would still make it because I enjoy doing it so much.
Of course it does feel good when I sell something. Every piece I have sold is exciting for me. (though I have a difficult time parting with things I have made). But selling things I have made is exciting not because of the money but because it means my work has effected someone enough that they would be willing to spend their money on it. It is an ego boost. It is a pat on the back that says 'you are good at something'.(but that can also come in the form of words) If it were just about the money I wouldn't sell anything, because I value things I have made far more than the money I sell them for.
If I were told right now that I would never sell a piece again in my life, but could show my work in galleries, I would still pursue art as a career and support myself with teaching.
I can't think of anything else I feel that way about.
Because of this, I feel I have already achieved one of my dreams. I get to live the life of an artist. Even if I made hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars doing so, my daily routine would be pretty similar to how it is now. I would just be doing it in a nicer house surrounded by nicer things. And if science is any guide, those nicer things wouldn't make my life any better. If anything, it might decrease my ability to enjoy things. (but I would like to afford a nice studio space with a kiln)
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