Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Feeling like an Art Loser

This weekend I attempted to sell work at our local comic book convention Omnicon. I say attempted because not much sold. By Saturday night I was in a funk. Over the years I've sold a couple of things through local galleries, traded to a few friends and this weekend I sold a few prints. 

People find my work "cool" and "interesting" but not enough to invest in it. I know if I made work that was more photo realistic, less strange or if I was able to copy other peoples work it would sell. Over the weekend a guy said he would pay me to copy an artist from Japan. I just can't do it. I have to do my thing even though my audience isn't here.

Feeling like an art loser I Googled something about artistic confidence and came across a wonderful speech the author Neil Gaiman made last year at The University of the Arts. http://www.uarts.edu/neil-gaiman-keynote-address-2012. He gave advice for having a career in the Arts. This is the thing that really hit home with me.
"...make your art. Do the stuff that only you can do.The urge, starting out, is to copy. And that's not a bad thing. Most of us only find our own voices after we've sounded like a lot of other people. But the one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." 
I know I'm pursuing my own voice. The work I create is distinctly mine.Now I just have to find my audience, which surprisingly does not live in south Texas. That's going to take more work. Real work. Not just sitting around work but actively sending my work other places, looking for entries to shows, making selling part of my internet presence. It's not even that I really want to make money off my art; it's that I feel compelled, obsessed to create, I find joy in creating, and all this stuff starts to take up space. 

It would also be nice to break even - buy supplies, sell art, buy more supplies. Instead it's work real job, buy supplies, make art, put art into storage, work real job to buy more supplies and pay for storage.

I have always found Van Gogh to be very compelling. His obsession with creating, his willingness to do his own thing, his pursuit of his voice was both a blessing and a curse. No one liked his work while he was alive and yet many of us now find it absolutely fascinating. Whenever I see one of his paintings in person, it takes all my willpower not to reach out and run my hands over it. While I am certainly not in his realm as a fine artist and don't expect museums dedicated to my greatness in the future, I like to look at him as an example of someone who did the stuff that only they could do.

Somewhere there is a happy medium between Van Gogh's 900+ paintings and death the age of 37 and where I am currently.

To lighten things up:
Here's a link to one of my favorite episode's of Dr. Who "Vincent and the Doctor". http://youtu.be/YuTW7rRV_PQ
At a little part 38 minutes in, The Doctor take Vincent to Paris 2010 to the Musée d'Orsay. 


Michael Fokken said...

Hey, don't give up on your passion! Read this book and may a plan on how to succeed! Maybe you need help getting your stuff more visible on the search engines or maybe you could take your skeleton drawings down to mardi gras or cinco de mayo celebrations!

Anonymous said...

Oops! Forgot to write the book:
By Dan Miller
48 Days to the Work You Love!

Wendy Gilbert said...

Thanks so much! I will look into the book.