"Your art is not challenging or gut wrenching enough..."
This is a quote that I heard about my career today. Hmm, how to talk about this? Every artist hears this, but it is how one responds to it that can be quite interesting. My response is to blog about it, think the statement through and really get a sense of whether or not I can see this point of view because after all it is some one's opinion. I think that to totally disregard and ignore this statement would be easy. But to attempt to wrap my head around it to see it's vantage point could help me push myself, be a better artist and ultimately accept myself for who I really am... My goal is to respond to this comment with grace and confidence.
So here it goes. True my art may not be challenging or gut wrenching for some people, some viewers, some other artists, but it is mine. I own it. I can say that what I create is made in my own language. There is art made out there that responds to other pre existing art and uses a premade visual language to create visual tropes that people can read and understand and reference, but I am trying to invent my own as I go along. Sure there may be artists out there whose work looks similar and who is creating art within the parameters of a similar concept or aesthetic, but I cannot control that. I create work that I want to see in galleries, what I mean by this is that when I go into a gallery or museum to look at work I want to find something that moves me, makes me think, but also challenges me... I create the kind of work I want to see, I am trying to make what turns me on. I want to put into existence the kind of art that makes me excited. Of course I do this with the hopes that there are others out there who feel the same way. Art making is a gamble, some people will get it , others won't, but that is true of anything in life. Art making during the current economic climate is also a gamble, but it is not a shock or a surprise specifically when you are already used to living so intimately with the unknown. As an artist, I have learned to embrace the unknown, I believe and have yet to be proven wrong but some how things always work out. Health and Happiness are important and they take top tier in measuring out success. Health meaning being healthy and strong and happiness meaning enjoying where you are in each moment.
So let's investigate the nature of an art challenge... if my art isn't challenging enough for any one reading this blog, then I offer this as compensation: try wearing the same outfit everyday for a month, try cutting it up, and changing it, try changing yourself for something you believe in and then try opening up and talking to complete strangers about it... see what it's like to be on the other side I am curious to know what it would feel like...
Now as for gut wrenching, well the comment may have me there, that is something I have to think about more... how does one create art to make the gut react? what do I need to do to make my art more volatile? hmm I suppose only time and experimentation will reveal this... perhaps age has something to do with it?
So I admit that as an artist it is never easy to listen to a critique, but it is our job. After all, we are trained and poised for listening and responding to critiques of our work all the time, especially if you went to an art undergrad program or a grad school and especially if you are trying to be successful on any level in the art world. We are in fact so trained to listen to critiques that we create a kind of artist statement defense to protect ourselves from the possibility that anything too critical or harsh make it's way into deviating our path of creativity... but having such a concept in place doesn't mean that we want you to curb what you really think of our work... and to that I say "bring it on!"