Talking About Art

Anne’s VERY early quilt of Pumpkins. The most innovative thing is that I used men’s shirts for the borders – WOW!!!

Is my pumpkin quilt art? Why isn’t is as valuable as as earlier work I made that had a higher value? I am known for my art now (this is fiction, not truth). I have won awards in big name exhibits and shows (also fiction).

I think you can see in the piece above some of the answers. But is this true of all art? Absolutely. Art can be and eventually is inconsistent in overall style or quality for most artists who have big names. They put their ALL into pieces for a time, and then perhaps they burned out, or because they already have big names, they could ease up a little and still command good prices. Not true. All artists, not just the big names, have times in their production when their work either changes styles, perhaps to a style that is less labor intensive, or perhaps they don’t produce as often as they were. It can happen in a lot of different scenarios. The thing is that if we are realistic and honest about it, not all art by an artist is the same quality nor does it necessarily command the same values. It is human nature. Now we may see great works of art and believe that a very famous artist DID produce the same quality all the time, but remember that many artists have had workers who worked with them on a particular painting or sculpture.

We have artists like Basquiat, and Andy Warhol and I am sure any of you can think of others. Perhaps you liked their rebellious response to fine art. Perhaps you see it as something new and refreshing. To be sure. But was it? I mean, Campbell Soup labels have been around since I was a child. So every time your mom bought a can, did you stop and think, “WOW! Now that’s art!!!” Both these artists had their names made by gallery owners and publicists who sold them to the public. It’s their job and they did it very well. Both the artists led colorful, unconventional lives. Now people in the art world often like this. It is the opposite of anything they might do or be in their own lives, and there is something about such lifestyles that attracts them to it. It’s kind like fashion. What attracts people to want to buy fashions worn by women with absolutely no facial expressions, who appear all to be suffering from anorexia, wearing, say sweaters with sleeves two feet longer than their arms as they walk rigidly down the runways? Are the people in the audience anything like this? Anything about this scenario remind you of “The Emperor’s New Clothes?”

I attended a minimalist painter’s exhibit many years ago. The comments of the audience taught me all I needed to know, plus my eyes confirmed what I saw. People were commenting on the brilliance of this painter, and how it took him six months of being alone in his studio to create a single line painting – that’s right, a single line on an entire canvas. Some art collectors really don’t know that much about what they are collecting. They collect pieces because someone tells them those pieces are valuable and will continue to increase in value. And like some people who want to be part of the “in crowd,” they pick up ideas here and there form others or from galleries, whose success is based on the sales they can get from their exhibits, and they know well who will bring people out and whose works will sit there. They have to constantly try to bring in new works of a type that are different from what people are used to seeing. And they also know that if the pieces have higher prices on all of them and the represent the work of one or perhaps two painters or sculptors at best, they will likely sell better in communities that are “art savvy” because people will respect that if they are looking for something to invest in.

Around Christmas, I will put up a photo of a piece I created years ago and then took it all apart even though it had been accepted into a good venue. The truth was that I didn’t accept it because I considered it was not as good as other pieces I had created earlier, or pieces by other artists that were accepted. Today when I look back on that piece, I often feel sad because it was what my mind was thinking of in terms of creativity at the time, and it said what I wanted it to say in the way I wanted it to.

Respect your creativity at any given point in your life. Comparing it to other pieces is not a healthy activity. You need to respect the fact that you had the courage to get out materials and create something at that moment. You are not a failure because a piece of art or a piece of writing doesn’t measure up to other pieces you or others have created. The only failure is the failure to even try at all. Go ahead. Be brave. Show off your worst writing example or your worst painting or sculpture. Don’t look at your art in terms of awards, money or other superfluous things. Make creativity your joy just the way a baby feels joy at discovering its hands. Maybe someday those hands will create great paintings, or perhaps play incredible sonatas, but for now, be ok where you are and with what you have done. It is all good, even the simple little pumpkin quilt.

14 thoughts on “Talking About Art

    1. Thanks kindly, Roberta. I like it because I was a naive beginner when I started out and this was likely in that era. I like that your dad was doing quilting. My dad did needlepoint for a time too. Not so feminine for men to do handwork. Glad that some of them cross the boundaries and realize that they are still males even if they are quilting. Hoorah!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I also think it’s sad you took apart that earlier piece. I take a very dim view to any ‘art’ I used to attempt and it never felt good enough, not to my own standards nor in comparison to others who I see sharing their creations online. I feel I really want to get back into doing something creative (nothing special, just a little doodling with pens & pencils) but I feel totally stuck. I have done for a while now, with no energy or desire for it at all, and even that makes me sad. I do think though part of that may be the need to respect our art, to reduce the need for perfection, to do away with ‘standards’ and expectations. I think you’ve made some excellent points, and an interesting comparison to fashion. I don’t consider the runways to be ‘fashion’ anymore, it’s more like modern art meets a horror film. I love the quilt by the way, very funky!
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly. I am unable to do the likes right now but will get it working again. Yes, I agree about Fashion and loved your take on it. Thank you so much for the nice comment on the quilt. It was made for children, so served its purpose. It isn’t from a pattern per se, other than what I drafted up. I have done a number of quilts for children. Happy Autumn. Keep going. We can all get better. I bet a lot of the “great” artists went through their rough periods too before their work became known.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love this post. I often can’t understand what’s known as modern art. Some I do. A lot is creativity. And some – well getting a dog to walk in paint across a canvas, why is it worth thousands more than a painting of the dog??
    Accepting all creativity, and using it, is definitely important (and not a contradiction to the first).
    Love, light and glitter

    Like

  3. I agree. It isn’t that some forms of art are less meaningful on their own; it is the way people use them to create a demand for them that makes the people who are not the artists wealthy. Nothing wrong with that either in the right context. It’s like my experience in Mexico with Juan Quezada and the potters of Mata Ortiz. The unscrupulous dealers were paying them to make their pottery $3 – $5 a pot, and turning around and antiquing the pots and selling them to unwary tourists for $300 – $500 a pot. This is often the case with any art that is promoted highly by some galleries, etc. Yes, I truly get it. Great comment!

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