Sunday, July 12, 2009
Humming in the Studio
Several large works are coming together in my studio, and I am contemplating some companion pieces in a smaller size. The work is evoking mood and thoughts of stillness, and of the evolutionary movement of continents and islands. I continue to create deep layers of texture and marks, exposing parts of each layer to compose the whole. I find that my methods evolve naturally, and the work is deeply satisfying, engaging and also challenging. Making art is doing good work.
I have started reading a new art book, Art Revolution, Alternative Approaches for Fine Artists and Illustrators, by Lisa L. Cyr. The imagery is compelling and rich. There are 20 contemporary and cutting edge artists represented in the book. As delightfully enticing as the images are, I am even more interested in the messages about contemporary art as it exists now, the interviews of each artist, and the encouragement the author provides for all of us to be authentic, innovative and content driven.
Lisa provides a summary of the history of contemporary art, a snapshot of where we are now, and a call for high standards as we move forward. She points out the almost homogenized aesthetic that results from formula driven art. In the chapter titled Content Drive Approach, Lisa says “To move forward, artists must adopt a success-based work ethic. They have to be willing to strive for greatness every time, refusing to compromise and settle for the mundane. This means doing their best in every aspect of their work, regardless of the rewards or accolades that may or may not come from their effort….Visionary artists don’t limit themselves. They are always thinking ahead, seeking new ground for their work. Even in the face of adversity, artists who are determined to succeed do not give in to fear and anxiety or accept a state of defeat. They see the uncertainty of a situation as an opportunity to try new things, reveling in the potential it can bring for upward mobility. Instead of trying to fight adversity, they embrace it and use it as an incentive to move forward. Some have described the feeling as riding the wave of life. “
She also says “They need to innovate, embracing entrepreneurial thinking and authorship as a way to penetrate the complacency that exists. They must seize the opportunity to turn the tide of mediocrity. To create a more vibrant and robust cultural exchange, artists need to become inventors of their own content, asserting a viewpoint all their own.”
Her book combines techniques demonstrated by the artists, and thoughtful writing designed to inspire each of use to put forth our best efforts. “As an artist grows and matures, the work evolves naturally in a free and almost effortless way.”
In the interest of supporting that entrepreneurial call for artists, I can also recommend the July/August edition of Art Calendar, the business magazine for visual artists. The issue is devoted to marketing art in the digital age, including web design, using social media, targeting your market, boosting your web site’s search engine positioning, and protecting your images on the web.