|Atlantis 7x10 Watercolor on paper Sold|
I had an accomplished art instructor years ago (before social media) who gave a small group of artists a lecture about being industrious in the art world. He said if you took all the artists in America with abundant talent, and put them in one place, you might potentially populate the island of Manhattan in New York. Then, if you removed the artists who didn't prioritize the passionate practice of their craft, and the artists who were too "thin-skinned" to handle rejection and criticism, and the artists who lacked the social skills or desire to meet patrons, and talk about their work, and the artists who couldn't focus or stay on-task to meet deadlines or work in series, you might reduce that group to a quarter of the original size. So, the world of "working artists" might not be such a big swath of the population after all, and there was potential space in the crowd for you too.
|Talking to patrons about process while painting at an Art Festival|
None of his theory was based on fact; his calculations were conjectural, but his point was to not be swayed by populous competition in the art world, and to be aware that many of our talented peers want to make art as a livelihood, but they might be missing some of the parts in the toolbox that he felt was crucial to make a living at it. His lecture was encouraging at the time, as a newbie painter. It's easy to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of showing your work, and everything that entails related to marketing, inventory management, presentation skills, etc. Especially now, when social media gives us a telescope to see into so many uber talented artists' studios. But show it anyway. Post your work, share it on facebook, instagram, twitter and pinterest. Make an art blog and post every painting, sculpture and photograph. Take every opportunity to practice talking about your art, and encourage your peers to do the same, so maybe, with diligent habit, we really might have enough friends to occupy all of Manhattan. :)
As Flannery O’Connor said answering a similar question [why are you drawn to uncomfortable or dark subjects], “It is the nature of my talent.” That does not mean, however, that I do not enjoy the lighter side, because I do—and I find a great vent for that nature of my talent in children’s books. It’s yin and yang. To explore the dark, one must explore the light as well, and vice versa.
As William Faulkner said, the only thing worthwhile is failure; but failure coming in the striving for perfection. I seriously believe that. So, therefore, all I ever strive for is perfection. But knowing that perfection is elusive at best, and impossible in fact, is the internal “fuel” that keeps me going day in and day out.
Barry Moser, interviewed by Becky Crook for The Other Journal, 2009