Determination, resilience, passion and openness.
Last week, I had a very interesting exchange with another Word Press blogger. In a positive way, I tried to respond to the negativism that he entertained toward the art establishment. His speech reminded me the anarchist political discourse at the turn of the 20th Century. I tried to tell him that in fact, there is, there was and there will always be an art establishment, with its Ivory Towers such as museums, galleries, universities and auction houses. And, yes, they are the ones choosing the artists who will be part of the various art-worlds’ markets. But our blogger kept promoting the same negative discourse without proposing anything new.
We have been in the art field for the last three decades and what makes a specific work of art valuable remains the same. First, the value of a painting is deeply connected to its author’s determination, resilience, passion and openness. If you produce only three paintings a year, are you in the path of becoming a great artist? Certainly not, unless, of course, you are Ron Mueck or the late Alex Coleville, having time only for four works a year.
Secondly, the provenance, the condition, the authenticity, the exposure and the quality are all criteria that the Ivory Towers take into account. But in our case, just a few of us are there… yet. Since our blog addresses mostly traditional landscape artists like you, it does not mean that your works should be of “normal quality”. Why? It is true that we always have to do our best; but what separates a successful painting from one that is normal or typical, will always be the lucidity of concept, the mastery of the medium, the authenticity of expression and this regardless of the work of art being figurative or abstract. We shall never underestimate the potential buyer, who, in a split second, can determine consciously or subconsciously, if one of your paintings is more successful than the others. Of course, we are not the best judges of our own works.
Conclusion? There is an art establishment, and it will stay. That establishment will choose. There will always be “invisible” and frustrated artists for all the reasons mentioned above. When following an art course at Walk the Arts, we always underline these concepts, because we want to make sure that when you will return into your community, you will not be invisible. If you strongly believe in what you do, you will be chosen. Believe in what you paint!