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Monday, April 1, 2019
The Inescapable Truth of Art
No matter how much we would like our work to be adored by everyone, it is an inescapable reality of the art world that every piece you create will only be embraced by a few. In fact it will most likely be hated by an equal if not greater number of people.
Art is completely and totally subjective. But for those few who do love your art will be fans for life. They are the ones that are worth creating for.
I see many artists that spend their careers trying to find that magic formula for the perfect piece of art. They waste their potential trying out different things that might be a hit with the public rather than focusing that effort inwardly. Once an artist escapes from the delusion that they can be another Da Vinci, they can get down to business creating true masterpieces that come from deep within themselves.
"But I like my work to sell". Sure, we all do. Art that sits in an attic after I make it, is one of my biggest nightmares. Art should always be seen. But when you put all your focus into selling and little effort into creating, then your work is no better than a mass produced piece of art you find in a Walmart.
Time and again artists tell me that they tried and tried to sell their work and when they finally gave up on trying to sell it and said to themselves "I'll just make art that makes me happy from now on." Suddenly their work began selling.
Even worse are the artists who say "I'll never be a successful artist because my work doesn't sell, I give up". And they do. They put aside their skills and their paints and they move on to something else rather than realizing that if they just stopped forcing it, they might just find their work becomes popular because it begins to touch peoples souls.
Now its easy to say this when you are a poor starving artist. Believe me, I've been there! And still am quite often. But being a poor artist can often be what turns you into a master of your craft. It makes us lean and hungry and forces us to take chances we otherwise wouldn't attempt. Have you ever noticed those artists who have plenty of money and can do anything they want, seem to lose their edge? Their work is good, but its missing an essential element that turns it into a masterpiece because they are fat and happy making lots of money with mediocre art.
Nothing turns my stomach more than being told that I could be a rich artist if I just lowered my standards a little bit and produced what the public wants. This can spell disaster for an artist who truly wants to be known as an artisan, not a hack.
So striving for success is good. But when your whole focus is on the selling and not the creating, you lose yourself in the business of art. When you shatter the illusion that you the worlds greatest gift to the art world and everything you make is covered in rainbows and fairy dust, then you can get down to the business of creating. When you stop trying to create for the masses and start creating for the one (you), then you may be surprised who suddenly finds your work irresistible.