Viewing single post of blog Working in Isolation: a dialog with history

I’ve been doing too many left-brain things and far too few right-brain things – I fall into that easily, understanding myself to be an analytical personality at the best of times. But in a way, it is good to have a bit of a break and a step back from creating work. It gets a chance to settle, right?

Being preoccupied of late, I have almost missed out on the discussion of why we bother to make art raised by Annabel Tilley; a poignant and disquieting post. This statement, ‘Yet, galleries would cease to exist without artists. However, it seems doubtful many artists feel this sense of power,’ brings me back to a post I never posted and would like to now.

The whole art world thing would not exist without artists. We are at the heart of it, why then do we not have more power over our art and our careers? How confident do you feel as an artist to make pronouncements about your work? Can you say what it is about, why you made it? We are encouraged to talk intelligently about our work, to relate it to historical or current trends. I wonder if we do that and get it wrong, where that lands us.

I feel there is a point when an artist must stake a claim and say with confidence and conviction what he or she is doing. But what is behind that confidence? How much reading is enough reading, how many exhibits viewed? Do we actually only begin to get a handle on where we may be situated by listening to other, perhaps more powerful people, talk about our work? What if we disagree with what they say? What if no one is talking? And perhaps worst of all, what if we start believing our own press?

Annabel asks further, ‘So remind me, why do we do it? What is it all for? And, what real alternatives are there?’

These questions are the very ones we ask of living, not just art. And they are the very questions we humans have never been able to answer satisfactorily. I can offer no answers to any of the questions Annabel, I or others raise, but I can speak for myself and say I do it (make art) because I cannot live without doing it – and I’ve tried. It is for the hope that I can find freedom even if it is only in my mind; the only real alternative is death, either literal or metaphorical.

And on that cheery note I’ll add this:

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.

– Abraham Lincoln

I can live for two months on a good compliment.

Mark Twain

I’ve put my genius into my life; I’ve only put my talent into my works.

Oscar Wilde


And Thanks to Becky Hunter for the opportunity to contribute to her blog: