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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Legacy of an Artist

Here is the post (last paragraph) I referred to in my last article on my observations at the Sargent show at the Met. This is not the first time I have noticed this occurrence at gallery openings but it was the first time that it was my focus to observe and not just something I noticed but didn't think much about. I wrote this in April after a talk with a gallery owner.

I was grousing yesterday to a friend of mine about galleries and what, if anything, can I do to fit in. More so than ever galleries today want a name that sells, and who can blame them? After all, they are in the business to make money. It doesn't seem to matter if the work is any good as long as the artist is a great self-promoter and has a schtick. If an artist is a great self-promoter though, why would they need a gallery? I am not great at self-promotion. Although I am often surprised at how many people read my blog or go to my website, I am not one who gets thousands or even hundreds of hits or page views. Is that what it takes today to have a name that sells? Or is it through advertising and teaching classes? I don't know the answers which is why I was grousing. What works for one person does not necessarily work for another. Her answer was to suggest that I think about what I want my legacy of an artist to be.

That is not that hard for me to answer. I write this blog to share the journey as I continue to learn and grow. My intention is to educate; not just you the reader, but also myself. Writing about what I do and why or what the painting is about keeps the purpose in the forefront for me. A painting should tell a story. What is it I want the viewer to takeaway? Did I draw the viewer into the scene so that they feel a part of it?  Does it arouse the viewer to want to know more or to write their own story to go with it? Should it matter if the viewer relates to the subject or not? Shouldn't the art transcend what the subject is? How much a struggle it is to say what you want to say.

I would like to be remembered for helping others to understand the process a bit better; that they can understand art that they might come across; also for being universal in my subjects yet with a cant from the norm. I have recently been told that I don't have a recognizable style. I don't know that I agree with that but I can say I am not where I want to be...

I went to a one person art opening on Friday night and I was watching to see if I could take a photo of someone or a group of people looking at the exhibit. I felt like a stalker. People were trying to stay out of my way as I held my phone up to try and capture someone, anyone, stopping to look at the art. On my way out, I finally got a shot. Unbelievable. Most people were standing around talking; the others were doing a "walk by" much like a "drive by;" in other words, walking through the gallery glancing at the works on display, but nothing was drawing them in enough to stop and look. It was bizarre. I am not sure if it was the works themselves or just this particular crowd. It is for sure something I am going to keep my eye on. That is not what I want my legacy to be. If I never sell another painting, so be it, as long as people stop and LOOK. (note: I have not been to any opening since; at some point I will do a follow-up but I can say that I have seen galleries post photos from art openings and NO-ONE in the photos are looking at the art. The one exception might my 1261.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have an idiosyncratic and arguably unsophisticated habit. In the last few years, rather than marching through an exhibit and trying to look at every offering as I did many years ago, I prefer to glance at things on offer and stop in front of only a few for a close look. The ones that appeal to me most put me in a certain mood, or perhaps more accurately reveal my current mood. I try to respond to that in choosing which painting to return to give five or ten minutes to. That five minutes is the high point of the visit, and I leave stimulated rather than numbed by the experience. JF