I know NOTHING about the art world. I have no idea who the movers and shakers are, whats hot and whats not. The best galleries? most sought after artists or work? no idea. Does that bother you as a reader or my friend/client/buyer/potential investor? It doesn’t bother me but for some reason it does bothers some people. Apparently it makes me fake, unknowledgeable, lacking in education or ignorant. I’ve encountered artists with a few decades of painting under their belt looking down their noses at me because I don’t know the ins and out of all the movements of the art history this world has offered up. They’ve mocked my choice of subjects, insinuated that I was somehow bit dim to be following my instincts and interests and shock horror be paid for it! Don’t get me wrong I do know plenty that’s relevant to me, I probably know alot more than I think and I research and look out for the opportunities that suit me – but the gates are down and there are no keepers anymore. Evolution is in the air.
Let me tell you the TRUTH.
Alot of artist don’t either. Many are happy to tell you (like me) that we don’t know some of the finer points of art and such like, but there are far more than won’t dare admit it at any costs. Back in school and college we were taught about the historical figures that dominated the art world, I based a project on Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, took trips to galleries across the UK, even over to Paris for Paris Fashion Week in 1999. In the here and now this means zip all to my career as its stands. I often asked myself WHY I just couldn’t take it in, why couldn’t I retain all this wonderful history and fact? honestly? because I didn’t know what MY why was! Now all these years later I do. Now I understand alot more that’s far greater in value than just facts and pretty pictures. In school you are taught hard facts and information about art, what pencils do what, paints etc – that is all very well and good – but why are there no teachers helping to bring out students WHY?!? why do you pick that portrait or landscape? does it fire an emotion, or feeling of euphoria once you put your marks down? because if it doesn’t then you are doing it all wrong – you might as well take the employment route and be told what to do and get paid that way.
I can give you all the facts and figures about the materials I use, I can teach you a ton of techniques and what to use to achieve them, I can advise you that you are making a huge mistake by cutting corners on the quality of the paint and you can sit and take it on board but unless I am specific about the WHY behind it then you’ll revert back to buying based on price. The same goes for the art that I produce. My WHY is simple. I am in love with my subjects, I understand them – they have impact on me – I can relate to them, I can resonate with the people that enjoy the same subjects and take pleasure from them, its a very strong bond. Whats important that i’m creating the art I want, forged life long friendships from it and my career is going from strength to strength.
The short is that it really doesn’t matter if you know how much a Lowry sells for, or where the Mona Lisa lives – your job as an artist is to make it clear what makes YOU tick. Stop feeling embarrassed about what you create (heaven knows I lived with that for a very long time). Show everyone your WHY. A very wise man once told me that in order to really fly I had to undo the clips to my wings. No one could do this for me, I had to do this for myself.
Be(lieve) in You