So to balance things out about the whole “am I an artist thing?” I offer this perspective from an amazingly down to earth lady who helped get me through my MA by telling me to buck up and get on with it (I wanted it after all!) when I was whining about how hard the work was or how lonely I felt without my family or whatever(I spent a lot of time whining that year). Wizzle feels she always knew she was an artist – and maybe some of you do too, so here’s her view –
and then from the other side of the coin, never let it be said I am not fair and unbiased, these words from Maya Angelou, who one would think would have her artistic definition firmly in place, but as it turns out – not so much
“Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great. I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a great game on everybody and they’re going to find me out'”
I think Tony makes some really insightful observations and in response I would say I think we can all recognize that walking into the wind feeling. Perhaps the hardest part about being an artist is it is like breathing, you cannot stop, no matter how inconvenient it may be. And so few understand that unless they have walked into the wind too.
As to imitating the masters I would say it is the most tried and true method of learning. I would hazard to guess that most of us do it. I certainly do, when I was painting I would drive my husband nuts in galleries by trying to figure out technique instead of admiring the result!! When I am at a book fair or a gallery or museum I find not only inspiration but often a new puzzle to unravel, a structure or method I have never seen, and when I am stuck I will work from books and examples just to get flowing again. I know I cannot be alone in this, so speak up out there!!
I have been an avid reader of Seth Apter’s blog the altered page, those of you who are familiar with my work will instantly be able to see why. But not only is his work amazing, but he is also a generous guy with great advice to share. And just in time for all of you about to branch out into the land of blog here is a new series of articles on art blogging. His blog has a huge readership and I think he will have some great insights to share. I will post a new link each time there’s a new post, or you can bookmark for yourselves!!
In the last month I have had this conversation with many people, some of them SAVI artists about whether or not what they do is ART. This is not as unique a problem as you might think, in fact I am pretty sure it is one we all had to face at some time.
When I first graduated from college with my BFA, people I knew started introducing me as their friend the artist, every time this happened I would look around expectantly, an artist where? and then realize they were talking about me. Now of course, technically speaking I was officially qualified to call myself an artist, but I had been the Mum for so long I didn’t really feel as if this new title fit, and if it was right, how did that affect all my other titles, you know, wife, mum, car pool driver? I was AFRAID to admit I was an artist, I was afraid the universe would laugh at me and the other shoe would drop.
I’d love to tell you that there was an easy solution, but in reality other people’s definition of me wore down that fear. Like water rubbing away rock, until eventually I thought, well maybe I am. I do all the things artists do, that is I make stuff, nice aesthetically pleasing stuff (mostly!), I exhibit in art galleries (surely if the art establishment says I am an artist I must be?) and I even teach art at a college. I have a studio, I have art supplies, I make money selling art. But here’s the truth, deep down, I am still not entirely convinced. Some days I look at what I am doing and I say to myself in a harsh and critical tone, that’s not art! Is t?
I can relate to where you are coming from, and after all what the heck is an artist anyway? So just keep saying it until you too get worn down and start to believe (even just a tiny smidge).
And for further confirmation that you are not alone read this
The weather is getting me down, I am ready for spring. You would think that an English girl would be used to so much rain, but I am feeling gloomy as Eeyore today! I have been thinking about all of you this week, as I have been wrestling with my calendar and trying to get up into the studio to do some work. I have been working on a new business plan, I was so energised after the last meeting that I rushed home to begin, and now all that lovely energy is being washed away by a grey steady rain.
How about all of you?
So today I have been cheering myself up by surfing the blogs and I came across this post
and I liked the idea, making a list of what I love, as a way of getting myself back to a more positive place, so just in case any of you are feeling a bit down or overwhelmed or challenged in this interlude between meetings I thought I’d share the idea. Feel free to share your lists, it would be fun to see them! If you are interested in mine I’ll be posting it over at my blog later today!