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Out of Order But In Heart

Out of order but in heart

I’ve thought a lot about the impact and reach of blogging and it’s potential to affect deep change.

I’ve also been mindful that my “tribe” is visual fine artists and my mission is to help them successfully put their work in the world.

So, up to now, this smARTist Career Blog has been dedicated to content that I felt directly impacts an artist’s career.

Only, I’m also deeply aware that we are all interconnected by the web of life and that whatever happens to one of us, happens to us all.

And since I am a whole person coming here to you, to deny or hide or somehow hope that wholeness doesn’t get in the way of your connection with me, is to miss the point altogether of what we are doing here…together.

So, I want to begin posting, from time to time, some things that strike me at a

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Women ZERO, Men 100

women ZERO men 100

Here’s my struggle this week (and I suspect for a good number of weeks to come): women’s art.

For this, as we know, is a tightrope act. On the one hand, we aren’t supposed to be addressing “women’s art” on its own, as if to do so implies a dumbing down, a declaration that women’s art is a less-than-distinctive act of creation.

On the other hand, how are we to look a slice of reality in the eye if we don’t?

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Business, Bread, & Bitters

I’ve been talking to a lot of artists lately in a series of strategy sessions, and I’m watching a pattern replicate itself like an out-of-control virus.

I’ve come to call it the Business Bitters–that mouth puckering contrast to the sweet taste of creative flow.

The story is simple and timeless: artist paints or sculpts or weaves or throws or composes, experiencing a kind of…

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Think Narrow, Dive Deep



Henri Matisse "Blue Nude"

Henri Matisse "Blue Nude"

Too often, creativity is equated with the wide open prairies of freedom where we’ve been conditioned to believe that unlimited roaming is what calls forth our creative impulses.


It reminds me of liberal parenting, that knee jerk reaction to authoritarian parenting where children were seen and not heard, and you spared the rod only to…

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But, enough about me,

what about you?

Why do you make art?

Blue Cat by Lori Wolfson

Blue Cat by Lori Wolfson

I mean, if all the outside rewards and possibilities of recognition and praise and money were removed from the picture, what would be left?

Do you ever think about what is at the core – the heart – of this need we have to make pictures?

Do you ever wonder?

To me it’s quite mysterious; I wonder all the time.

But, what about you?  What moves your hand and eye?


Facebook – Should You?

After spending the last five months figuring out this Social Media thing, getting set up on Facebook, finding an expert for smARTist Telesummit 2009, and encouraging artists to jump into this vast and ever expanding ocean, the predictably unpredictable  world of all things online has thrown me, and you, not just a curve ball, but…

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Suffering and the Artist’s Life

Contrary to a commonly held notion, we artists do not suffer more than other people.  There is so much unspeakable suffering in the world-from famine, war, and rampant disease-that many of us in the industrialized nations don’t even know the meaning of true suffering, including me.  I’m not saying that artists don’t have it…

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Art as Profession? Vocation? Career?

I just finished listening to an interview with Robert Storr, the current Dean of the Yale School of Art.

And I was struck, as I often am, by an academic’s perspective on being an artist. Which is not to say that Dean Storr is not part of the real art world. Far from it. He has extensive experience with curating (at the Museum of Modern Art, for one), exhibiting as a painter, he’s a respected art critic and a writer on the theory and practice of art.

The interview zeroed in on his plans for graduate and undergraduate students at Yale, yet I found that he had much to say that was…

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Creativity Tip: Embracing Resistance

What’s striking to me is the paradox inherent in “embracing resistance.”  

Since paradox is often a driving force behind creative innovation, this directive may simply be a practical underpinning to grease our creative skids.

Or, on the emotional level, since resistance appears unfriendly and implacable, while embrace radiates connection, we might ask ourselves…

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Is Quirky Art Real Art? Part III

Two weeks ago, we looked at flesh-real babies made out of Marzipan, of all things. And implicitly asked if the medium co-opts the message.

Or, can you take something made out of sugar and almonds seriously because it is made out of sugar and almonds, and not…say… marble.

But besides all that, my main concern was that something as compelling as the Marzipan babies had no artist’s name connected to it.

These miniature wonders came across the Internet highway as “anonymous,” and I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a connection. Almonds ‘n sugar = no artist to be taken, seriously or any other way.

This week, the medium is no less quirky – nails – but this artist is not about to be forgotten.

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Is Quirky Art Real Art? Part II

Okay, so this art is really not in question at all. And the materials aren’t exactly “quirky.” And yet… something about the whole way these images landed in my inbox gave these the same aura of quirkiness as our Marzipan babies of last week.

Heather Jansch - untitled
Heather Jansch – untitled


After these driftwood and oak horses turned up in an email, without an artist’s name, I was compelled enough to go searching on Google.  “Driftwood horses” did not lead me to the artist’s website, but to another website,  where I did find her name and her website: Heather Jansch.

What I found most interesting, on this viewing adventure, was that the presentation of her images was so much better on the website that was not her own.

And herein lies a caution tale for artists:

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Is Quirky Art Real Art?



I have this friend who loves to send me emails about art made from idiosyncratic materials. I don’t know if he sends these to everyone on his list, or just because he knows art’s m’ thing, and I’ll get a kick out of them.

I call this “Side Show” art. Like the dog with 3 heads, it fascinates people. And quirky art floats all over the Internet.

Sure… a work of art can be fascinating, but can you equate fascination with a work of art?

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