Sunday, February 15, 2009

It is but it isn't

This post nudged me. Actually it smacked me upside the head.

I've always been known to my friends as "artistic". But really what is "artisitic"?

I have 2 friends who are published authors with multiple books. I invited this author (She is not one of the 2 mentioned above) to a book club evening and yes, she came. Notice she has a book about getting your creative juices going (for writers, but yes, it translates to almost anything).

So 3 different published authors, all who've done something I haven't. That is put their stuff out here and look, someone noticed. A lot of someones.

Admittedly my stuff is different. I don't write. Mostly I tell little stories in things I make. Beaded pages, paintings (although rare for me to sit and paint anymore), fun little graphics in various graphics programs. I've only started putting up photos of things I do (in Facebook) and I found that to be sort of strange. I've gotten nice comments from friends and that has been nice but I also wonder if they're just being nice. LOL. Ya see?

My work isn't fine art. Not even close. I'm self-taught and I just do what I like. My work isn't deep, well, except to me it's highly personal. But it doesn't look highly personal to most people.

So why don't I put my stuff out there? I had an opportunity to let a published bead artist use my work in a slideshow she was doing for some art community back east and I forgot to send her high res photos in time. A friend on FB is a board member of a gallery and did I go to the gallery yet? Nope.

Why am I holding myself back? I don't know. Susan's post kicked me in the ass. I've got to think about's not that complicated for me to get off my butt. But it is complicated why I haven't. Hmmmmmmm.


Donita Curioso said...

When I get to thinking that my stuff isn't that good (and I do think that sometimes) I have to remind myself that not everyone can do this. It seems like everyone should be able to do it because for us it just flows. We can see what went into it and usually it's not that hard. It's just putting the pieces together. Anyone can do it, really. But they can't because it's not part of their make up.

Also, you and I have both seen what some people put out there and a lot of it is crap. So what gives them such supreme confidence?

People have been telling me for years that I should put my stuff out there, and for a little while I did with Rancho Curioso. But that takes a different kind of effort that has no appeal for me. Some people enjoy the marketing process. I think the people who put their shitty stuff out there are also into the marketing. I'm just not. I'd rather make things for my own pleasure. I enjoy making props and doing projects for other people because I like the reward. For me, the reward is rising to the challenge of figuring out how make it all happen, and the dazzle factor when people see the result and are pleased with it.

I think your stuff is gorgeous. You know it is. You know it's good enough. I guess you just have to figure out why it is you haven't made the leap. Is it because you really aren't confident that it's good enough, or is it that you don't want to be bothered with the marketing? Or is it some other reason? Whatever it is, I don't think it's because of the quality of your work, because your work is superior.

No shit.

VO said...

I think my art is good enough for me. It satisfies my need to say something even if someone else doesn't "get" it. But I also realize they might not get it because it's just something to look at, it causes no reaction whatsoever.

The value of something created has some pretty low value some times. A friend of mine said to me recently (she was talking about some illustrators), "Oh you know how artists are, they're all so tempermental." I get the feeling a lot of people think moody/tempermental/angst-ridden is a must for an artist.

Well, no, they aren't all tempermental. I consider myself someone who does art and I don't consider myself tempermental.

So to her what I do isn't art, it's crafty things to keep myself doing busywork. And really, she's just one person who represents a whole bunch of people who do not see the value in conveying something thru handwork.

I actually don't know how to market myself. hahaha, and I'm one of the more confident people I know. But apparently not when it comes to showing/selling what I make.

Yes, the reward of peoples reaction and rising to the challenge of conveying and doing some artwork is what I like. But it apparently doesn't drive me that much or something.

I'll quote Susan Hinckley here: "It's complicated."

And your stuff is good enough too, good enough that it should take off and market itself if it were out there in stores. No shit.

This is a good discussion.

Donita Curioso said...

Heh! That's what we thought with the Rancho Curioso wrapping paper. I always got a very positive reaction when people saw them. They should sold themselves! But they didn't! Trying to get stores to buy them was WORK. We schlepped sample rolls wherever we went. I tried getting a national distributor but they wouldn't even look at a line unless there were 12 designs. It took me forever to get just those 4.

Nope, this was not my thing. I was going to try to revive RC just before Jim died. I had planned to keep doing the mass-produced stuff, like the paper, but also do one-off paintings and some murals. It was my three-prong approach to breathing life back into the business. And then, ka-blooey. Really, I was glad to let it go. I'm not a business person.

Really, for me, the joy is in the doing. Once a piece is done my emotional investment kind of dissolves a little. Making Jeff's uke case was one of the most fun projects I've ever done. You can't see how much engineering was put into the design of that thing. Getting it all figured out was exciting. And when it was done it was like, ok, fly little bird. Go make Jeff happy.

I don't know what your friend is talking about. Most artists I've met are fun, open, easy-going people. When you're able to feed yourself with what you create it makes you happy. Sure there are temperamental artists, but there are also temperamental file clerks and burger flippers.

VO said...

I really think you can make companion paper using Photoshop. It's a whole lot faster than actually painting it, scanning it, etc. I'd love to see a version of ovals like the squares. Is the firemonkey yours? That would make a great companion piece too, just change the colors to go with the current selection. Look there are 2 to add right there.

I need to make some pieces that I'm not attached to. I need to think about what I might do if anything.

Donita Curioso said...

Oh yeah, it would be easy. I also did some designs on Painter using simple shapes and gradations. They all looked really pretty. But I'm just plain done with it.

One thing I wanted to do was recruit other artists to design for RC. I didn't want to have all the designs be mine. But that idea didn't get very far.

Yes, the fire monkey is mine.

VO said...

Well, if nothing else you have paper to last a long time.

I was talking to a friend of mine last night and he told me his wife sells on ebay...enough that it makes their mortgage.

Now I don't have enough inventory of any art work to sell thru ebay (or etsy) but you do.

And I can so see some resin pendants that use your paper as the fill underneath the resin.

Donita Curioso said...

You could make a LOT of resin pendants with 35,000 sheets of paper!

I'm going to keep 2 packages of each design (2,000 sheets) and get rid of the rest. Some will go on eBay just to see how they do. I'll be donating the rest to different groups for fundraisers. I figure if I give a full package of each design, that's 1,000 sheets. If they sell them for a buck apiece that's $1,000. Right now Second Time Around has them and they're selling for $1.50.

I just want to get that HUGE stack of paper out of my bedroom!