Monday, May 03, 2010

The Razor's Edge

Today, an anonymous writer – the ones with something ugly to say are always anonymous – took me to task for using a quote from a 2006 edition of the Australian Financial Review that read, "Hazel Dooney walks the razor's edge between respect and celebrity in today's art world."
The writer correctly pointed out that the key part of this quote was contained in an essay that I wrote. They called me "sleazy" for offering it as an unattributed quote among others on my home page.
In their haste to cast an aspersion, the writer ignored – or didn't care – that it was also the headline chosen by the newspaper's editor for the 3,000-word article. It was he, not I, who judged it a perfect summation of my career position as far as his business-minded readers were concerned. The entire article has always been accessible from the Bibliography page of my web site as well as in three entries on this blog.
Of course, I haven't hesitated to take advantage of the quote. At the time I put in on the home page, I'd forgotten that the headline was derived from my own words but I don't think that would've stopped me. It's no secret that I'm a tireless self-promoter when it comes to my art. However, I've tried neither to deceive nor conceal my authorship of the article. To call me sleazy – especially from cover – is not only gutless, it entirely misses the mark.
Oh, and I deleted the comment. As I wrote
here a couple of months ago: "I am open to critical remarks about my work or me. I've published many here over the past three years and I will continue to do so. But if you're not willing to identify yourself, if you do it anonymously, I'll just trash what you have to say."

17 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Don't waist your time and energy on someone who has the values of a coward.

Shannon said...

I've gotten quite a few of those sorts of comments. Some people if they have something shitty to say no amount of reading comprehension is going to change anything.

Previous "anonymous" commenter said...

I think you misrepresented the tone of my comment a little. I'm pretty sure I said something along the lines of "it seems a little sleazy" to use that particular quote without mentioning they originally were your words, not that you personally are sleazy. I certainly wasn't trying to embarrass or attack you-- I apologise if it came across that way. My reason for posting the comment was that I noticed the connection when reading the article and was a little confused because I thought it came across poorly. You've clarified your reason for using the quote in your post, so thank you, and I think it makes sense. I'm not sure if you used the headline where the quote came from in the blog post where I saw the article, but I'm sorry if I missed it.

That being said, as an artist myself I admire your promotional instinct, but I do think we have to be careful how we do it, especially online where we're all flooded with self-promotion. When people notice things like that it can backfire and suggest you're less established than you are, or haven't any writing on your practice, which I'm sure wasn't your intention.

As for posting anonymously... I do as a rule like to keep my privacy online, but I'm certainly not trying to snipe at you or avoid discussion. No hard feelings if you'd prefer not to publish this comment :)

Anonymous said...

I never realised it was the artists own words, but that makes it more believable as I always thought it was strange that a financial reviewer would talk like that :-) It was published in the Fin Review even if it was not the business journalist's opinion, but self promotion by the artist. Anyway who would know better than she! A self portrait in words.

vg

Paul Martin said...

I allow anonymous comments on my blog, but I always appreciate it if the poster uses a pseudonym or some other way of differentiating themselves from the other anonymouses, just like 'vg' has just done. ;)

Hazel Dooney said...

Actually Paul, VG is a friend.

Spring Flowerchild said...

I guess they really do expect us to starve! Anyone who chooses art as a trade must learn self-promotion or get a day job. I see nothing wrong with you quoting from your own writings.

andrea said...

As an aside to a remark in this post, your tireless self-promotion doesn't stop me from coming back because you always have excellent insights, but I wonder if it doesn't get tiresome for you sometimes? Or does keeping it all so one-sided (always about you) make it easier for you to maintain the focus you desire? i.e. if art is war then you have no time for anything that does not directly relate to you and your career? I'm no psychiatrist, but you've been talking about taking a more balanced approach to your life and it seems to me that mixing it up a bit, even online, might be a healthy idea. (Of course maybe you do that elsewhere online or have enough of it in your offline life that my observation is irrelevant.)

jane said...

Hi Hazel; I knew peripherally of your site via C Guillebeau's ebook; but had not spent any time here before this morning when someone on another site referred to you. When I came over, I felt compelled to read your posts of the past few months. While I was reading, this poem from Emily Dickinson came to me:
[642] Me from Myself
Me from Myself -- to banish --
Had I Art --
Impregnable my Fortress
Unto All Heart --

But since Myself -- assault Me --
How have I peace
Except by subjugating
Consciousness?

And since We're mutual Monarch
How this be
Except by Abdication --
Me -- of Me?
1862
Do you know it? It has resonated with me and articulated so succinctly and deeply, feelings I have experienced in sharp edged bouts and periods of my life.
Thank you for your postings and your beautiful courageous spirit.
Jane

jane said...

Hi Hazel; I knew peripherally of your site via C Guillebeau's ebook; but had not spent any time here before this morning when someone on another site referred to you. When I came over, I felt compelled to read your posts of the past few months. While I was reading, this poem from Emily Dickinson came to me:
[642] Me from Myself
Me from Myself -- to banish --
Had I Art --
Impregnable my Fortress
Unto All Heart --

But since Myself -- assault Me --
How have I peace
Except by subjugating
Consciousness?

And since We're mutual Monarch
How this be
Except by Abdication --
Me -- of Me?
1862
Do you know it? It has resonated with me and articulated so succinctly and deeply, feelings I have experienced in sharp edged bouts and periods of my life.
Thank you for your postings and your beautiful courageous spirit.
Jane

Fi said...

Go Hazel.
Anonymous negative comments are lazy and cowardly and they deserve to be removed. I have a 'it's my blog and I'll delete if I want to' policy. If it wouldn't be said to your face, it shouldn't be posted online and doesn't need to be tolerated.

As for the self promotion. Artists need to accept and learn this as part and parcel of having a successful art career.

Marie Kazalia said...

Hazel

My first visit to your blog and I am glad to know about you. Thanks for having the guts to stand up for your rights as an artist / woman / person!
I suspect that there are many who respect you but do not have the courage to say so!

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul ;-)

Paul and I are also acquainted Hazel, via a movie club.

VG

tsunamichaser said...

Every day so many of us sell our soul in such frightening ways. Little bits of ourselves left behind, incapacitated.

Must say that the word verification below is so interesting "sheingo" she in go? - is this moving back to cause or is it Shei Ngo?

Paul Martin said...

Hehe, I had to think who you were, VG. But now I know - of course, we've met in real life! ;)

evilchimpo said...

Hazel,

Like a little kid, I'm anxiously looking forward to seeing what your new studies produce.

Take care,

Jason

Solemn Reverie said...

no criticism here. you're amazing. i love your art, your words & your spirit. beauty, personified.