I spend a lot of time in the studio, which some of you may recognize as a standard suburban 2-car garage with paintings and free-standing walls in place of automobiles, a fact that, to her great credit, my wife has endured since we moved into our first house. Do cars really need their own room anyway?
This is where I do a good deal of manual labor (i.e., making art), looking, and thinking. In the photo, I’ve just finished the former and I’m engaged in the two latter. The looking is how I determine if a piece of artwork is good or finished or needs more work, and the thinking includes all of that plus anything else that’s rattling around in my skull.
What I’m thinking about in the photo, besides how close to done the painting on the left is, is how I’m going to establish a sturdy career. One would think that having been an artist all my life, and a professional one for seven years, I would be past that point. People who would think this include me from the ages of around 18 to the early 30’s or so. To be an artist, and I use the term broadly, you have to face the economic reality that there is an absurd lack of demand for contemporary art in the broad market and an even more absurd glut of artists out there to fill it. We have to be persistent, foolhardy, and a little delusional, and we have to distinguish ourselves. This is what I’m thinking about.
In the last post I was examining my appearance because the career I’m building is a public one, and I need to do what I can to be presentable. My goal isn’t to make public artwork–though it doesn’t exclude it–but to find ways of being an artist in the public, a presence in the community, a local artist. Becoming familiar with the people who live and work where I live and work is a big part of this vision: I want a grassroots art career. I’m not interested in ingratiating myself to the elites of DFW and beyond in order to have a shot at a blue chip art career, a career that most of my neighbors will never know about, because contemporary art is an exclusive world. It’s an exclusive world I love, but one I want to expand to include everyone whose interest I can spark with a little pavement pounding and neighborly goodwill on my part.
And this process, which has the potential to go in all kinds of directions, and which I’m really excited about right now, is what you can expect to be documented in this blog as I go along. And, your reading is an important part of the whole thing. Now I need to nail down my game plan for getting out there with the good folks of north Garland…