Thinking about this question has made me think a lot about why I have chosen to be an artist. There are many things why people give up on the dream of being a successful artist. For example, because there is no stability and no regular income. The chance of making it into a household name like Jeff Koons or Damien Hurst are highly unlikely.
Michael Craig-Martin once said, “when you’re 20, there are 50,000 other artists, by the time you’re 30, it’s down to 5,000, by 40, it’s 2,000. If you make it to 70, there are only 12 of you left, and you’re all famous.” As the decades go on many understandably give up and realise it very hard to bring up a family on the small amount of money.
The Guardian wrote an interesting article titled ‘Can you make a living as an artist?’ and is worth a read. https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2012/jul/29/artists-day-job-feature?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
For artists that continue their chances improve and after several decades, when most artists have given up, your chances get better and better.
Another way to look it is, rather than seeing success as money is that I am already complete. I can continue what I love to do, to got the studio and be creativity, and I am already able to bring up a family through my full-time job.
Success for an artist could be seen as, how Coach Wooden the highly successful American basketball player and coach sees it; “Peace of mind, attained only through self-satisfaction when knowing you made the effort to do the best your capable of. Your the only one that knows that. You can fool others but not yourself.”
By viewing it this way I can keep a playfulness in my practice. So for me, success does not lay in being rich or famous or in my artwork but my relationship to my artwork and following a hunch in my work.
I think about the present moment, as my relationship is forever changing with my practice and whether I am doing the best work I can with the resources available. I have the urge to direct my life in they way I want and through my art, I realise this is the area I have to most control in my life. Most other relationships in life like, friends, family and occupations are much more of a compromise.
I also believe I am capable of so much more and I have hardly started. By working on what comes naturally, playing off my strengths, using intention, instinct, thought, imagination, observation and curiosity I can make my work a manifestation of me.
I want to use my intuition to reveal meaning and draw attention to something using my skills as an artist. Possibly, making it a lifetime’s work and into what Alex Katz the american painter calls, ‘the big technique’. As I have a yearning to work towards something that is much bigger than myself and add extra meaning and understanding to what it means to be human on this rock.
Maybe one day a little recognition would be nice though!
There are many reasons why l wanted to be an artist. But the main attraction is the creative process. As an artist l can take an idea or a hunch and using my creativity and skill, which has grown over many years, bring the concept to life. The process of turning an idea from a thought to something of significance takes a set of unique skills mainly involving play and experimenting with what works best. The whole process and journey is a stimulating challenge. Once the idea if finally completed, once l am finally satisfied, it becomes an object and an initiator of further ideas for both myself and the viewer. Completing a project gives me an enormous sense of achievement which even overcomes any of the exhilarating ups and downs along the way.
Karl Marx talked about the problems of consumerism and the alienation of labour. He states that if you are cut off from the fruits of your labour, then you are cut off from your creativity and you lose your sense of self. I think this is one of the main problems with the Western consumeristic society. People are not in touch with the output they make or the completion of the tasks they carry out. I believe this causes many psychological problems with our individual purpose. During the process of making art l get closer to my deeper self, the artwork becomes an extension of me, my purpose stretches out before me. No-one else can make another exactly the same, no-one else has my thoughts.
This is an interesting thought provoking short video on Karl Marz on Alienation and about what makes us human.
Being an artist and being creative connects us directly with being human, and that is the main reason I love being an artist.
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Eric Fischl was born in 1948 in New York City, his suburban upbringing and career as an internationally acclaimed American artist is presented in his book ‘Bad Boy’.
Fischl shares his deep wounds when discussing his personal relationships, especially with his depressed and alcoholic mother. These troubling experiences made their way into his artwork creating a dialogue about his personal wounds and ironically they ultimately lead to him getting into trouble.
The death of Fischl’s mother inspired the work he became famous for. It is interesting that after his first solo show in New York at the Edward Thorp Gallery in 1979 and the following success lead to him ‘going off the rails’ as the book title suggests and he enjoyed success a little too much.
Fischl’s book is informative and helpful to other artists. There is interesting advice and tips about how to deal with the process of being a successful artist and he discusses the issues and ideas in his work.
Eric Fischl says in the book, “Painting. Is a process that guides me back through complex experiences that I didn’t have words to describe or understand. It relieves feelings and memories and brings them forward with clarity and resolution. Each one of my paintings is like a journey, a process to excavate nuggets of emotion, artefacts of memory, the treasures buried in my unconscious. My imagery evokes feelings that were once too painful to ephemeral or too embarrassing to articulate or even to remember.”
Eric Fischl’s ideas are well developed and considered as you would expect from someone who has had international success as an artist. He uses clear, convincing and honest language. I think the book is a good read and has lots of information and advice about dealing with life an artist. I enjoyed reading it and strongly recommend it.
In my painting ‘The Pursuit of Truth,’ I was interested in exploring the composition of an image. A composition is usually referred to the arrangement of elements within a work of art. An artist arranges the different elements into satisfactory relationships creating a sense of balance and pictorial harmony, while exploring rhythm, scale and movement. The composition of an image is instinctive; when it is done well it has remarkable power and originality. It can make you feel alive, and question; What is this?
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