Write, talk, socialize and have a full time job...and make your art.
Below from left to right: Marva Jolly, Dr. Margaret Burroughs, me , Felicia Preston. Dr. Burroughs was honored at the opening of the exhibition.
Come on now!
I thought to be an artist I needed to work, hone my skills, work, be productive, work, and wait to be discovered by some art guru or patron or collector or curator. Well, I was wrong, as much as I hate to admit it.
First of all making art is not enough. You should hear me explaining to my students why they have to be able to write a cohesive thought and apply it to a page! What??? "I just thought I had to draw something or paint something" they say year after year. And when they hear there are rules for making art, the infamous principles and elements of art and design, they just FREAK!
THERE ARE RULES!!!
oh my god! Art has no rules! It is a gift. It is God's gift! It is art because I say it is. It is only art if it is "creative" meaning no observational practice is involved!
You mean if I study and practice and I learn to capture an object on a 2-D support to represent a 3-D object, that does not take skill AND creativity.
Does mine look like yours, for example?
Both were observing nature. Would we say neither is creative?
Me, Dawoud, Sabina Ott, Kerry James Marshall
Both Dawoud Bey and Kerry James Marshall are creative; both make a ton of observational works of art . Chicago native Tony Fitzpatrick who does not work from nature, he uses collectible match books and other memorabilia that he configures to express poetic ideas through a visual medium. So is he more creative than artists who work in others ways?
Anyway these, limited ideas about what art is, reflect juvenile, undereducated responses I have heard over the years. Many times my students eventually get it but some folks never do and I guess never will.
Artists, you have to learn to write, too! If you cannot figure out how to write about your work, you are screwed! (Unless you are an outsider.) The aforementioned artists are some of the best writers I know. Tony has published books, he writes some of the best emails I get. Dawoud writes an exquisite blog. Kerry has published interviews about his work that are amazing to read and hear.
If you are a trained artist, you better be prepared to explain your work...I always thought the work should speak for itself and that the viewer should be allowed to bring their own experiences to the work without the artist spoon feeding how the work should be experienced or understood. I thought art writers, curators, historians and critics would explain the art. But if you are lucky enough to get someone to write about your work it is possibly because you were first able to help people understand your intentions.
And to add things on top of things, and get even more complicated, you had better Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter, and all that jazz and not to forget email and text baby, text! And make a website, darhling. 'though that is so 20th Century, you shoulda done that a LONG time ago!
And next. You gotta go to openings, and lectures and panels and schmooze, and also teach or something to make actual dependable cash and then get your artistic self into that studio and make you some masterpieces!
Can we get a "Oh MY GOD!"
"Always" above by Joyce Owens is spending time in Liberia at the United States Embassy for the moment