Tuesday, February 03, 2009

One Last Whinge

Today, as I painted a large area of colour on one of my enamel works, I thought about some of the things I hate about being an artist:
The art world is nothing like how I imagined it as a kid: it's about money, ego, status, competition and spurious theory and not at all about art.
People I've just met ask me to bring my work into their office/shop /home/cafe to show it to them or ask to come to my home to look at it.
The same people tell me that
everyone is an artist or that everyone is creative – "They just express it in different ways". Oh yes, and that childbirth is the most creative act.
I can't spend all of my time just making art. One of the reasons is the allergic reaction I get to paint fumes.
I always have dirty fingernails.


TET (David) said...

If child birth is the most creative act - I wish you could paint over the ones that don't work out.

Stupid people. Child birth, whilst beautiful, is not art and is only creative in the sense that you've 'created' a person.

The philosophy of fools who want you to believe art IS everything.

Barbara said...

Oh yes, childbirth. Someone once compared my PhD thesis with giving birth. I just stared coldly and answered "sure, a multi-year thesis project is just like the results of 15 minutes of unskilled labor."

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha, you guys make me giggle. You're so fucking serious about yourselves.

Kika said...

Maybe, Anonymous, you just don't understand their humor. But it's nice that you're laughing anyway LOL.

Anonymous said...

Too many people think that professional art consists of painting a canvas solid black and waiting for the check. Or maybe people think the difference between pro and hobby levels is simply an eBay account?

Unfortunately, it takes a lot of risk, constant work, and obsessive dedication. And it's an outcome based job. You're as good as your work demonstrates. And there is only one way to getting that good... Work. Obsessive compulsive work.

People who put in 12-19 hour work days, nearly every day, while risking everything they have on the next batch of paintings/sculptures/whatever tend to have Views about ditsy dingbats who think the job is the same as the hobby. Or the pudgy man-children who use art as a punching bag in their anti-intellectual/national socialist "conservatism."

Anonymous said...

Barbara are you for real??? 15 mins of unskilled labor.....quite obviously you havnt given birth. Im with anonymous...not only are some of these comments fucking serious..theyre fucking pretentious.

Anonymous said...

Who gives a shit what defines a 'pro' from a 'hobbyist'? If you have that monkey on your back, it doesnt mean shit if you paint for money and fame or pleasure and satisfaction. Maybe all those people sitting around stressing about the greater meaning of art need to get a fucking hobby... ;)

Anonymous said...

Golly, you all need to grow up and put away the childish things in life, get a good hubby, an SUV and a good house in the suburbs.

You just do not understand anything about life until you have at least two children. No other pursuit in life could possibly equal the worth or merit of bringing more humans into the world.

No, having children requires years of study, diligent practicing, and a complex set of skills. Art? Ha. I've been an artist! A professional one at that!

Why yes, I attended a watercolor workshop at the local coffee stop-gallery-gift emporium. I listed the result, my neo-impressionist-abstract-doggy painting on ebay even! And that was after it hung in the coffee stop for a whole week!

Anyways, you should really stop whining about your "work" and certainly stop comparing it to an adult job like childbirth and raising a family - it just sounds so ridiculous. Gotta go feed my little blessings and update the mommy blog!

PS: I am also very concerned and disappointed to see nudity and naughty words on this internet site. Why, my precious children could someday see these naughty things and become morally twisted. Possibly to the point of becoming artists. Since I have children, I clearly have the moral and legal right to control what you say or do. So start painting wholesome things like that nice Thomas Kinkade man. Oh yes, and stop taking yourselves so darn seriously.

c.c.o'h. said...

yeah, cooking dinner makes you a chef, driving to the shops makes you a formula 1 driver. your grandma's as good as Picasso. you don't need all those hours of practice, or dedication, or sacrifice. instead of sitting around stressing about committing to something, just dabble now and then and call yourself a pro.

Anonymous said...

What a pompous, patronizing retort...its offensive to any woman that doesnt subscribe to the historical theory that you cant have both.. a career in the arts and a family. If you think that any woman that is an artist AND a mother fits that bullshit sterotype you just described (ironically, probably the same people that buy YOUR own art) your deluded. Get over yourself.

Paul said...

Stumbled on you from Elizabeth Breil. The anonymous comments are a crackup. (satire about mommy artist excepted) Someone once said, "I can tolerate stupidity, as long as they're not proud of it."

When I was in Hollywood I'd see people, usually young, who wanted to be actors. And they had absolutely no clue what hard work acting is.

Why you just get up there and 'emote'.

All ART is work, and to be successful you have to work hard. I had my epiphany of 'artisthood' at 18 and now in my 42nd year of chasing the Muse I have never met a working (meaning they make some money at it hoping to eat or pay rent) artist who said it was EASY.

Anonymous said...

No one is saying it is easy. It IS hard work and I know that Hazel has given up a lot for her art and her relationships with people have been sacrificed along the way. The point is, everyone has a different idea of what is important, but do you all have to be so arrogant about it? Hey, PHD woman, perhaps just perhaps, giving birth was just as important to that person as your PHD was to you. Maybe that was a fucking compliment. You sound like such a dick about it. I mean honestly, if you want to make a difference, I would think raising a functional, giving human being would be a good way to do it. Anyone who thinks that is easy obviously hasn't done it.

Paul Martin said...

The thing is that 'art' is such a broad term. Each person using it may have a different meaning. There is so much mis-communication because people in conversation do not have an agreed meaning about the words used.

Paul said...

@Paul Martin
I've learned a workable definition and use it whenever I'm 'evaluating' a piece.

ART is communication. Although one could communicate with only ones' self, ie. 'art for art sake', most people driven to work in the field want to communicate with others.

Therefore ART has to have a message. However if you completely state that message it then becomes an advertisement, or illustration, or manual.

So ART must elicit a contribution from the viewer/listener/etc. The music makes you move, makes you see a picture, makes you feel. Likewise the poem or the picture or the movie.

How well the message comes across is the quality of the piece. It has got to SAY something to the recipient or it is just "noise".

That is what I mean when I say ART.

Anonymous said...

Everyone should be more polite to each other here. Everyone has an equal and valid point of view.

My hubby, Gary, works harder than any artist could down at the office from 9 to 6 every weekday. He doesn't complain about anything! Even though he gets very tense from working and needs to get all those massages downtown he never complains.

Some dancer lady tried to tell me about how hard being a dancer was - but I just don't listen to impolite people who are SO negative you know? I went to a dance and exercise class once a week for several years and it was certainly hard - but it didn't justify an attitude of superiority. Being a parent or working in an office is hard too.

Some Olympic athlete was on his high-horse talking about the dedication and sacrifice needed to get to that level. Boy was he full of himself!! Everyone is dedicated to something! Everyone sacrifices equally hard! He was just throwing himself a little pity party probably because he only won one gold medal.

Sure Hazel works hard. But my job as a parent and PTA secretary is equally hard if not more so. I sacrifice a lot. But "work" is relative and "hard" is a matter of perspective after all. I'm sure she thinks she works hard.

Besides, we all know that being an artist or dancer is a matter of inborn talent. And success in the arts is just getting lucky. Anyone could do it if they didn't have a real job to do. Boy if I got to lounge around painting pretty pictures all day I sure wouldn't be so grumpy.

But then, as a parent my work brings another human into this empty world to enrich it and make a difference. Unlike a bunch of paintings or flouncing around on a stage, a precious child is always a gift of great value to the universe and society.

Stop taking your silly little "work" so seriously and thinking you're more dedicated than anyone else. It's just rude. Gotta go, my cabbage is boiling over.

Anthony said...

This is my favorite internet web site... in the world.

Since we are dragging out our opinions and such, my thoughts are thus:

Instead of thinking about what is or isn't 'art', I like to think about what is or isn't constructive.

someone could spend hours and hours of grinding dedication on completely self-indulgent blather and call themselves an artist because they punched in the hours.

They get done, sell it for some arbitrary amount of money, but the work never really carries a message, or challenges someone's view of the world, or exposes anything about our natures as people. It was just aesthetically pleasing and possible fashionable at the time.

Was it constructive? Can we shake the hand of the person who made this work and say 'thanks for making me see something differently'?

If the answer is no, to me, it may be 'art', but it's not for me.

Then again drooling onto an blog comment box might not be a very constructive use of my time, either... dang. Well, I tried.


McKinneyArtist said...

Where in this world did Susie Homemaker ever see a real house and yard like a Thomas Kinkade picture? Never seen one myself.

In my life time I have worked in the fields farming, in offices, and in hell hole factories. Yes I raised a family while I worked 3rd shift to bring home the groceries. Got the stretch marks and scars from factory accidents to prove it.

Bad words are real life & Hazel paints real life. Now I take every workshop I can, dreaming to paint one picture that Hazel would even look at twice. Art us part of your SOUL. That part is not in everybody.

And if Susie homemaker thinks life is all fluff and smiles, she needs to go down to the "projects" and live there a while. Never seem TK paint that scene!!

Sandra Smith-Dugan said...

OMG! What a stir you have caused! This is hilarious! I'm an artist and a mom and vice versa, and while it is true that when my wee one was born she was was clearly my masterpiece, it is also clear to me that I have a passion, skill and forte of my own outside of parenthood!
And I've gotten over the dirty fingernails, but I do like pedicures.