Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Thoughts to Start a Discussion

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be an artist. How hard it is to get noticed today or grind out a living doing what you love. At times its not an easy thing to do. At times...who am I kidding, most of the time, it's not an easy thing to do. At times, I feel like the girl in Kill Bill just trying to get through it all with one piece of my clothing NOT covered in blood. It's a difficult thing to rationalize when, as an artist, you put so much of yourself into your work. That is nothing new though. Since the dawn of art, artists have put pieces of themselves into their work. Some works we can not bear to part with because of that very fact. So, in all of my rationalizing I have come up with a few thoughts. First, let me preface this by saying that I am not complaining. I enjoy what I do, no matter what and joy is a hard commodity to find these days. I am not about to give that up. I am also not trying to push my thoughts off on anyone else. What I am stating here is true for me and I am hoping that by sharing, I will be starting a dialogue about this topic. My thoughts are this:

You can't get noticed unless you have been noticed. In today's world, no one pays attention to your blood, sweat or tears. No one pays attention to the beauty you put into the world. No, its all about how many followers on social media you have in this cult of celebrity we live in. I have to ask...does that seem right? Is that the natural flow of things? Artists have always struggled, but an artist could still grind out a living. If you don't have a million followers today, there is almost zero chance for you to make it. Its all about the numbers and who you know. If you are like me and know no one....well you are kind of screwed. You can't even get a foot in to a gallery if you don't know anyone and in today's art world of appropriation, that's kind of disheartening.

Not sure what I mean? Well, sometime this fall an artist took other peoples Instagram photos, blew them up hung them in a gallery and sold them for more than 20,000.00 a pop. Because its considered appropriation, it was perfectly acceptable for him to do this. Why should this bother us? Well, because the person who's photo he appropriated is most likely trying their hardest to get into a gallery themselves and because they don't know the right people, they can't get in. But someone who has the right contacts, can basically take their work and get obscene amounts of money for it. Fair? I guess, if you consider it fair every time Lucy pulls the ball away from Charlie Brown and he falls over backwards. Yea, fair.

So, how do we exist today as artists? I am not so naive to think that we can change the system. But maybe there is something we can do about it. Maybe forming our own boards and galleries is a start. Maybe by working together we can get the system to budge just a hair. Maybe, if we supported one another instead of trying to tear each other down, we can do something good. Put something beautiful into the world together.

What I am trying to do here is start a discussion. I want to know how my other artists out there feel. If you feel I am wrong, I want to know. Change my mind if you can. If you agree, then I want to know what you think can be done. Can we budge the system? Lets discuss. Lets educate each other. Let's stand up and do something.

Rant over
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