Jun
24

The Arts and Business

I am always questioning how connected am I with my purpose to make a difference in the world through my art and my desire to make money is.  How concerned am I with making sure the right questions are in bold letters across the human sky?

It is a constant questioning, a constant struggle, a daily need to remind myself to constantly examine.

I come from a generation that believed that if  you weren’t aligned with the “truth” connected with your art you were selling out.  In the ensuing years the lines have blurred quite a bit. 

Artists feel it’s okay to do crappy work just to get the money they need to do the important work.  I wonder.  My younger colleagues remind me that if they do everything that comes their way they will gain exposure, valuable experience and eventually power over their creative life in the business world,  which will allow them to express their true art.  I wonder.

So little I find, is done that deals with truth and the result is that we end up in the mess we have created through allowing, encouraging, supporting and covering lies. 

I remember this one saying that really got to me and I try to connect to it every day (not successfully always but with the intention to move in that direction)

From Chinua Achebe
“The poet
(artist) who is not in trouble with the King
is in trouble with his work.”

What advice do any of you give to young artists in this regard?

  • apologies for that first mangled sentence. I sometimes wonder if speaking polish and swedish before english has contributed to some of my mangled sentences or is it just getting older??

  • There’s a wonderful passage in the documentary “The Sketches of Frank Gehry” where Gehry recalls a conversation he had with a client (who was possibly his best client at the time). They spoke through the night about their struggle between the desire for material possessions and the longing for happiness and self-expression in their work. On the following day they both began the process of terminating work on all projects that they hated – which was just about everything. This was no small decision, as Gehry had 10-20 employees at work on this client’s account, alone. Everything I’ve seen of Gehry’s work that I love was essentially born that night. I’m not one to give advice so I’ll speak for myself: you “express your true art” by doing it. Now.

  • “The art of living, laughing and loving.” This is my artist mission statement. It is on my business card, my brochure and my web site. My goal is not only to have living, laughing and loving reflected in my art work but it is also to find the art of of living, laughing and loving reflected in my life. Are they one in the same? Can we truly separate who we are from what we do? Is it true that a tree is known by its fruit? My brother shared a story with me a few years back that gave me new insight into these questions.

    My brother was a housing inspector in the Boston area. One day while inside a Dorchester residence, he noticed one of my prints on the wall. While chatting with the woman tenant, he mentioned that the print on the wall was one of my sisters’ pieces. Surprised and excited, that she was actually meeting the artist’s brother, she told him a story of an unexpected blessing in regards to the art work. The woman as it turned out, had a son, now grown, who was autistic. Meal time was always a challenging time for her. Her son typically made a big production out of eating, half the time refusing food altogether. Then, one day, while shopping, she saw this beautiful print of a fruit bowl that she just loved and thought it would look excellent in her dinning room, so she purchased it and hung it that very day. That evening at dinner she was prepared for her usual struggle in getting her son to eat, except this time he sat down and without taking his eyes off the new art on the wall, he ate his whole meal without incident. The next meal was the same, he sat, he looked, he ate. The woman went on to tell my brother that , from that point on, they took the print everywhere they went and her son would eat peacefully at each and every meal.

    This story is a constant reminder to me that when I create my art, the power of that love in me is present in the very piece I am creating, even if its just a bowl of fruit.
    What fruits are you known for?

  • WOW Colleen… breath taking story…

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