Ask anyone who has ever challenged me to a target shooting contest and they will agree that I am a crack shot….. and most certainly, a crack pot. I can pick off soda cans from a cheer-leader style pyramid with the accuracy of a navy seal sniper. Moving targets are a different story. I want to be a real artist, well what the hell is that? What is good? What constitutes talent? Why do people want to buy this and not that? I may never figure it out and I’m not sure that I really need to. Perhaps there is no true answer. Success is a moving target with an unpredictable trajectory and I would like to be able to hit that target so square that I can put the struggle to rest, relax, and create without self-doubt.
I make art every day. I am driven, impelled, inspired, preoccupied, to make art everyday. For me, the making of art can come in many forms. I make pots and quilts which are to be sold to support my art habit, but creating also comes in the form of trying to grow a great tomato & out-smarting the raccoons who will come & eat it. The ongoing struggle to be an artist is hopelessly tied to the questions of “Am I any good at this”? “What am I doing wrong”? “Will I live long enough to accomplish the vague goal of being good“? Who the hell knows, not me. I have successfully sold my work for many years now and that is a great feeling. BUT, there is a BUT, making art is what makes me happy, BUT, unfortunately for me, success is hopelessly tied to the approval of others. I don’t think that you get the title of “real artist” if you worry about bullcrap like that. BUT, how can you be sure that your work is good unless it’s good enough to compel people to plunk down some cash & take it home? I don’t see art as a luxury per say, but I guess it doesn’t fill the same sort of need for people as walking around wearing a factory-made mass-produced cliché that says “look at me I have enough money to look like all of the other people who need an expensive trinket to be important”. BUT, I guess this sort of thing does keep the child laborers in Chinese work camps busy. Sometimes I entertain myself by turning things over to see where they are made…. try it, look at food in the grocery store too. Those really fancy cookies, the ones with the cool smooth icing… China. Are you kidding me?
My quilts are expensive, yep, can’t argue with that. I hang my work at shows and listen to people tell me all day long, over & over, and most sincerely “your work is beautiful”, “oh, this is amazing”, “I love your work”. Ok then, BUY it. People waste money on all kinds of crap that are meaningless possessions forgotten & destined to Goodwill in relatively short order. The joy that ART brings lasts forever. That is why they put it in museums, so people can come & see the amazingness of it forever. I have collected a lot of artwork, and every time I look at one of my purchases I think “wow, that is so cool, I can’t believe somebody made that”. I want to support other people who make art so that they can keep doing it. Creative people come up with the ORIGINAL ideas that make life better.
The economy is in the tank, yep, I get it. The next time that you go out shopping, I ask you to consider for a moment, buying things you need from a local artist. There are thousands of them in your neighborhood and you can find their work at craft shows every weekend and at small privately owned shops on main street USA. They are making some things you need, and some things you don’t. But, if you need something to cover that blank space on your wall, hold your morning coffee, or keep you warm, why not get yourself something handmade that will inspire you to think “wow that is so cool, I can’t believ somebody made that” every time that you look at it?