I find myself with constant questions about the art world. I read as much as I can about the artists I love and adore. I see the shows I can’t live without seeing; research with my favorite news sources, magazines, artists’ personal blogs, etc. I am constantly looking and trying to understand. I mainly pay attention to the actual artists, their work, their exhibitions and personal thought process. – Lately though, I’ve been watching a ton of documentaries on the art world itself. It seems that the world at large, with it’s dealers, museums, galleries, and the like is nothing like I would’ve known existed. Trends are paid attention to, curators get as much fame as the artists and their works, critics can make or break a show. The art world is much bigger than I ever imagined and it feels like a little too much for me. I sit here at this very spot, as much as I can, just creating. I don’t really show my work yet nor have I tried to. I don’t feel like my work is ready, but the more I find out the more I feel as if it wouldn’t be accepted even if I was trying. There’s too much going on and to be honest.. a lot of it looks like total bullshit.
It seems as if the art itself is the last thing that can make an artist successful. Who you know still applies so heavily. It’s more of a business than I ever thought it was. I have always thought that good work was seen, no matter all else, but that doesn’t feel like the case. It appears that this world is less about the feelings and connections you get from the works themselves.
It’s difficult to gauge how everything truly unfolds, especially while living in Philadelphia. The bigger shows go to big names, and the smaller shows go to those that mingle. Works can be great but many seem to be awful. Social networking (and I’m not simply talking the internet) is so huge. Bar hopping and friends are the best way to get a show here.. things that I never do because I’m so terribly concerned with just making the art. “Where will I fall in when I’m ready?” is a great question of mine.
I’m always trying to figure out my process and be very mindful of it, so I can give future advice to those that may ask me and hopefully to any future students that I have (my goal is to have my MFA, while teaching and creating full time). Whenever anyone has asked about my process I’ve always said first and foremost, “create all the time.” I believe putting yourself in your studio or a creative space everyday will lead to eventual great work. I may spend an hour in here just putting down simple colored washes and layers, or I may spend 6 hours getting into the details of a work. No matter what, I’m doing something and it’s leading to a very thought-out end result. My work is never a waiting game. I make it what it is. With determination and hard work, I create the voice I’m looking to sing out loud. It doesn’t “come to me”, I give it life. I understand that this isn’t how all artists work. Unfortunately a lot of artists I see and have spoken to have the mentality that “it just comes to me.” I don’t know how that works or if I even really believe in that mentality at all. I think art has to be mindful, a representation of the artist trying to reach out and show a point of view. It cannot be timed and a few brush strokes on canvas isn’t art unless there was an initial intent and philosophy behind it. I am in the constant state of asking “why?”. It’s a difficult world to grasp and my feelings range from confused to extremely strong depending on the subject.
I’m not sure where I fit in or if I’ll ever make it. What I do know is that as I sit here typing this, in my little studio space cluttered with sketches, photographs and sketchbooks.. that I have about 7 photoshoots ready to edit, 3 in-progress paintings on my right to work on, 7 hanging on the wall to my left, and 2 more small still-lifes in front of me. I have a list taped to my wall filled with ideas for future paintings and a list of possible juried shows to enter if any of these are ready by then. If nothing else, I’m determined and in a constant state of “create”. This is MY art world and I’m determined to make works that breathe real life. I don’t know how to measure success, what the right path is or if I’m even close to it. What I do know is that I can’t live without this. I can say I’m pretty satisfied with my current state; pieces that I’m growing very proud of and an extremely strong work-ethic.