This morning I read the blog of one of my favorite artists. She’s a marvelous painter, a talented writer and clear thinker. Her words and art have meant much to me for the past few years I have been following her.
Today she asked a question I’ve asked myself over and over again; “Would I create (paint or draw in my case)….. if I knew no one else would ever see it?”
Before the coming of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and personal websites, the only way an artist could show their work was with gallery representation which was close to impossible to get then and especially now. An artist could enter an art show or competition, or drag reluctant friends into the art studio for their very own, (unwanted) art show. Of course, you could always buy very expensive space in a prestigious art magazine, if you had the budget.
As an illustrator, in a commercial studio or freelancing I had a lot of my work published. But I never got feedback, just a paycheck. Not bad. At least that was a form of recognition. In college and art school we had shows and critiques. At the end of the day, we would receive a grade which was a recognition or payment of a sort.
Over the years, I have been in many, many art shows local and out of state; won many, many awards at those shows. But after a few years of showing my work on several social media platforms, fewer and fewer people have come out to see my work in real life. In fact, no one came to my last show. No one. Poor little me! ~Sniff~. But I understand…..they had already seen the paintings on Facebook or on my website.
When I was a little girl my artist father would always bring his latest painting out of his studio and have the family gather around to admire it. I understood that perfectly, even then. He liked our recognition and feedback, too, even though he always had a gallery or two representing him. He was a prolific painter and his work sold well.
When bemoaning the above thoughts to my husband…WAY too frequently…..he always asks me the same question, “Why don’t you just paint for the pleasure of it?” You know what? I can’t answer that question. Why don’t I? Why can’t I?
So I continue to ponder that question…..yet again. I may give it a try…for my eyes only…….from the easel straight to the back of the art closet. As the artist said in her blog this morning……..
“Because no one (in theory) would ever see it, we are free to be us in our art!”
____Dreama Tolle Perry
Yes. Thanks, Dreama.
I can’t answer that question either. I think Stephen would, though.
Emily, what do you think Stephen would say?
Bummer! Where and when was your last showing? Sorry I missed it!!
I agree – getting feedback and people to come and enjoy what you have created is very understandable to me! :>) I used to relate… TTFN!
Melanie, I have been in several art shows right here in Kingwood through the years…very convenient for friends. My last art show was in April 2014. It was the Lake Houston Area Artists Spring Show, held in the Pavilion at Kingwood Country Club. After the disappointment of no one attending for me, I promised myself it was the last. The number of people coming to see my art shows had been declining, but that was the last straw. I had posted invitations on Facebook and in my blog, over and over again and had lots of promises.
It will be interesting to try to paint only for myself and the joy of it all.