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The Place of Art | smARTist® Career Blog

Popular Section: The Place of Art

The Value of Art – Individual vs Humanity

ariane of smartist_value of art and humanity

A fellow artist sent me the link to this post because she knew that I’ve been chewing on the question “What is the value of art?”

What fascinates me is how this post, and the comments, focus on value through the consumer lens of an individual, potential collector or buyer asking, Why should I buy this?

Yes, I can see how artists ponder what motivates someone to purchase art (or not) from either an emotional, status, or investment perspective (the only three values offered in the post).

Yet I can’t help wondering how

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How Many Hats?

how many hatsThe word “artist” is disarmingly deceptive as a singular noun. It gives the appearance of one thing, like “chair.” Or elephant. Or electrician.

And because we humans are hard wired to use language as our core form of communication, words have a pervasive psychological power on us consciously, subconsciously, and unconsciously.

Without being aware, we sleepwalk into language traps all the time.

Since the word “artist” is singular, we feel as if the artist must also be singular. A painter. A sculptor. A jeweler. Singular, in the same way an electrician sticks to working with electricity.

This sense that, as an artist, you are one thing morphs into another sense, that you should, by all rights, only be doing one thing (like an electrician).

Then, when the reality of “doing,” as an artist, flies in the face of this singular feeling (all I should be doing is making art), a sort of righteous indignation – or resentment – creeps in.

And so begins….

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Let there be light!

Years ago I became aware of how many times, upon meeting me for the first time, someone would ask, “Are you an artist?”

Now, let me be clear. I don’t flaunt orange hair and nose piercings. I don’t even wear flamboyant, artsy clothes. (Pretty, yes. Sometimes beautiful, yes. Just not what I would call “artsy,” which conjures up, in my mind, gorgeous handmade yummies.) And I certainly don’t turn up in torn jeans with paint all over them.

Nevertheless, that question – Are you an artist? – seems to travel everywhere I do. And it always makes me…

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What Makes Great Art Great? (Part 1)

Over the last six years, I’ve asked hundreds of artists how they define success through the unique Vision Questionnaire that the participants in my smARTist Telesummit fill out.

And as surprising as it was to me, an insignificant percentage defined success as producing great art. For the majority, it was an income number coming from their art – anywhere from $20,000 to $500,000 a year.

Maybe it’s because great art is associated with historical figures, museum retrospectives, and millions being thrown down on the auction block. Maybe great feels like shoes too big to fill.

Or it comes tagged with the age-old response that great is in the eye of the beholder, i.e., too subjective to pin down.

Or for women artists the persistent patriarchal overlay on great means it’s an exercise in futility, while for men great becomes a challenge that might best them even as they are doing their best.

What would change if great was not only definable, but also…

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Friday’s Featured smARTist

Breathe in the creativity, breathe out your own.

John Currie - Steadfast“Steadfast”

John Currie
www.johncurriefineart.com

Friday’s Featured smARTIST
are all alumni of the smARTist Telesummit

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smARTist ‘09 Kicks Off with First Panel Discussion

I’m so excited by what just happened on the First Day of smARTist 2009 that I simply have to share some of it with you.

The five panel members…

as far afield from each other as Molly Gordon in Seattle, Guillermo Cuellar in New England, Nancy Marmalejo and Lucia Cappacionne in Southern California, and artist Shirley Williams in Ontario, Canada…

…seemed to be flowing from an interconnected river of knowledge as they responded to the questions that came straight from this year’s smARTist participants. 

I found the panel’s answers to be practical in their collective wisdom, that only when we…

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Story Time, Part Two: Listening to Art

This is the second of three “story” posts, all of which happened within a three hour span of time last winter when Visual Art was EVERYWHERE.

It began with tires and art, and then continued an hour later, as I was driving home, back from the Tire Wearhouse.

I was listening to NPR, which is a small miracle because the car that I drove before this one had no working radio. At the same time, I’m crawling along roads covered in wet snow, with flakes the size of a child’s palm floating down in slow motion. The woods on both sides of me ache with the cold beauty of…

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Story Time, Part One: Tired Art

This is the first of three “story” posts, all of which happened within a three hour span of time.

It is February 2008, right after a major snow storm that buried large parts of the Northeast, and I snail my way over to our local tire dealer, Tire Warehouse.  (Hard to imagine any surprises with a name like that.)

I need studded snow tires so I can make it down to New York City without sliding into a semi on Interstate 91. The radio is on full blast and I’m humming.

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Sketchbook

Lillies

Lillies

 

This careful, humble

attention

that’s required

to draw correctly

is fine-tuning my sight,

causing my vision

to become

wonderfully, enjoyably

receptive…

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