12 February 2011

How to Survive as an Artist

Every work of art is the child of its time; each period produces an art of its own, which cannot be repeated. Wassily Kandinsky

If there was one thing I would say to any artist who wishes to achieve material success, it would be something just like what Kandinsky said.

There are other, more important, forms of success. Of course. But if you were born into a poor house, and if you struggled to find food, ever, you will have a different take on such luxuriant notions of success. (How nice it must have been to bask in the comfort of an expensive education and a course of honors written before one was born.)

And if, on top of that struggle of the marginalized, you loved art enough to never be willing to compromise the sacred, you will have found a tough, as they say, "row to how."

Timing. It's All Timing

We live in age where the quantity of pictures has cheapened their value. There are two ways you can go. You can either make them very, very fast, or you can make copies of them and sell those. (I will leave out the third option, which is to become the darling of the art establishment and then leverage your fifteen minutes of fame for the rest of your life. But you can try that, if you want.)

So I never had much luck with pictures. Too much work for the money. Two many out there. Too common. But still—to my anachronistic soul—too sacred to violate by using cheap tricks to get attention the way you see in every modern art museum in the world.

Things changed when I put down my brushes and picked up my chain saw. There is something even in the word: "chainsaw." It sells. People SEE sculptures when they just pass by pictures. And regular, ordinary people BUY them.

A contemporary form for the present age.

Never surrender. You can only fail if you quit. Even if you die trying, you will have lived a life worth living.


Reflections said...

Ah yes... Never surrender... find the niche that best fits and explore it beyond your wildest dreams. The start again.

Richard G. Crockett said...

@Reflections. Thank you, and, EXACTLY.

Now, I should have put this link in my post. It's important, for it was another post on Old Yeller Cat's blog which prompted this one: Wasted.

Check it out. It is short, but powerful.

Jay said...

Can an artist stop for some years, then come back to art or would ability fade without stimulation?

Richard G. Crockett said...

Hi Jay,

I have totally done that. Have you? What happens to me is two-fold. first, I have new enthusiasm from the break; second, I'm rusty and have to re-learn. It goes fast though.

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