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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Creating Art is Work

An Artist Who Is Creating is Working.

Lake Tahoe painting
Crystal Bay Boulders

With regularity I see Internet posts of lists of things you should never say to artists. They look something like this:

1.  Can you do a work of art for my event for free.  You will get great exposure.
2.  You charge that much?  It looks so easy. It couldn't have taken you much time.
3.  You're lucky.  You don't have to work, you just get to paint all day.
4.  One person to another:  You could do that.  Just copy it.

Lake Tahoe painting
Balanced Boulder Again

The lists usually go on with 10 or so points.  All of the statements are basically the same and somewhat belittling to the artist.  Most of them overlook the fact that an artist is working.  It's a job, albeit a job we are driven to do, and one we love to do, but it's a job.  We read and hear all the time, do what you love to do.  Artists are following that advice.  

Lake Tahoe painting
The Big Split
Currently Exhibited at Vista Gallery, Kings Beach, CA

As we move into art festival, art show time of year, let's take a look at those points listed above:

1.  Artists are asked over and over to donate their work.  While we all believe in certain fund raising efforts, the requests can be overwhelming. The artist must run their business (it is a business) with thought and precision just like any other business.  I encourage artists to set their gifting at the beginning of the year, selecting charities they believe in, limiting their gifting which makes it less overwhelming. 

Caught Rock From The Back Side
Currently Exhibited at Village Interiors, Incline Village, NV

2.  Creating art is never easy.  Thought, planning, education, time, and dedication all go into creating.  Hours are spent thinking about, sketching, and then creating a particular work of art.  It's not just the time making the actual work, in my case a painting, there is loads of time spent before I even pick up the brush.  

Lake Tahoe paintings
Split Above and Below
Currently Exhibited at Village Interiors, Incline Village, NV

3.  It's work.  It's a job.  When an artist is disciplined and productive it may appear all they do all day is create.  Let me tell you, much of that creative time is spent working with your galleries, working on sales, working at the desk and on the computer.  I recently heard that Roy Lichtenstein spent one day a week painting and the remainder of the week selling.

Currently Exhibited at Village Interiors, Incline Village, NV

4.  Oh could copy that?  Hardly.  It has taken every single bit of work, of creativity, to get to where an artist is at any particular moment.  If it weren't for all the work that has come before, I would not be able to paint what I do today.  The selection of the palette, the composition, the nuances of the brush strokes, are all individual.  

We artists work diligently, hour after hour, to accomplish what we do.  As you visit galleries, art fairs and shows, remember these points and think about what you say to and in front of the artist.  Creating is our job.  It's work.  

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