Sunday, October 5, 2014

Questioning My Motives

Dear blogging friends, I hope you don't mind if I take a second to vent/rant/ramble/etc, but I have something I need to get off my chest.

As you all know by now, I am one of three Artist-in-Residents in Navasota, TX. The experience so far has been amazing - I'm learning so many things about myself and my art and it's only been a 6 weeks.

However, I find myself struggling with the fine line between making art for myself and making art for the public. Let me explain myself:

One of my fellow residents has been living off of selling their work for the past few years, and thus is used to that mindset. I am not saying that their work isn't amazing or that they are only creating what they create because they know they can sell it - I definitely see passion behind their art. What I am saying is that their brain is pretty much wired to the idea that selling art is a priority.

The first few weeks here, I didn't really notice it too much, but I am coming to notice it more and more. The constant "Oh, well maybe you should try this - I know it'd sell!" or "Did you sell anything at the show last night" are starting to wear thin.  Would it be nice to sell one of my big paintings? Heck yes! Is that a priority for me and my time here? Hell no.

We had yet another "discussion" today about how my working smaller is a good move if I want to sell more art (because I can price it lower). That may be true, but that is not the reason I have chosen to work smaller as of late. The reason I have chosen to work smaller is because I want to focus more on the form and the color study, and I am unsure how it will all come together, and I don't want to risk it not working by going large right away.

That being said, I am a very impressionable person and was actually listening to their advice the first few weeks - I even ordered some fine art prints of my ink drawings to sell at our art fair, because I was told they'd sell - only to have none do so.  I am coming to terms with the fact that the art market here may not be the right place for me (for the record - they haven't sold much either), and I am ok with that. I have had amazing response to my works at both the art fair and the show we have up downtown right now.

As an artist my main priority (for right now anyway) is to create work that is about myself and NO ONE ELSE. If someone happens to like it enough to want to buy my work, then that is great, but at the end of the day, me making work that I know will sell isn't me being happy. Happiness comes from making art that you can stand back from and say "Did I really just make this?". Those are the moments I am most proud of and those are the moments that I hope to have many of while I am here in Navasota.

So to anyone who thinks that you have to make art that is marketable and appeals to the common man just to get by as an artist can (pardon my language) suck it. That, to me isn't art and as long as I am na artist that is something I will not be doing. EVER.

What is your opinion on this matter? I'd love to know what you have to say. :)



  1. I have two names for you Monet and Van Gogh! What if their focus had been to create only items that would rapidly sell? Don't give up on your dreams :) You are a talented gal and you have the right mindset.

    1. Thanks Aubrey. I appreciate that mindset, and you are so right about them! Sorry I haven't clicked onto your blog is so long :)

  2. I think that making art the way you want is the way to go as you grow and develop as an artist. Once you feel like you've done enough exploring and defined your style and what you want to create, then it might be a good idea to figure out how you can market that style for sale (assuming you plan to support yourself financially with your art). There's nothing at all wrong with creating art that sells, I think you just need to figure out who your customer is, who you picture buying your art, and market it directly towards them rather than changing your art to make it sell more easily.

    1. Amen Alicia. I think you hit the nail on the head. I haven't decided if I want to make a living off of my art or not - probably not to be honest - but for the time being I just want to make and be creative. All this talk of selling is just messing with my head.

  3. Such a great idea to ask about this issue here on your blog! I definitely agree with what has been said here!

  4. I think you should stay with your own inspiration. If you come to a point where money is an issue, you can deal with it then. This has been a centuries-long struggle for artists. We all need to eat, but great art is nourishing, too!


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