Friday, September 26, 2008

"Have you sold any?"

I remember being in college and sitting in front of my peers during a critique. I told the class that I painted for myself. My teacher at that time told me to take my work, go in the closet and shut the door! She yelled, "Do you think that your responsibilities as being an artist is for yourself?!". Well, I was pretty mad and I could not fathom what she was about. Perhaps, a couple of years later, I began to understand what my teacher was implying.

I realized that I had the means to communicate to people by my visual images. That I did not have to speak or shout to get my ideas across.

I also remember to be very protective with my work. (Maybe I still am) I would tell people that they were like my babies and that I could not let them go. So, over time, I began to accumulate paintings under my bed, behind the couch and in the basement. I did not like that. I was hording them for what? I was a selfish artist that realized that there was more to art than painting for therapeutic relief.

Now, I am at a point in my fine art career that I have accepted the fact that selling prints of my work is okay. The "Art Gods or Police" will not shackle me and take me away for thinking of prospering from my artistic talents. Am I "selling out" for venturing into the market field of the art world? Some would think so... I still struggle with it.

Alright, so you know a little bit about my opinions on art. But what you don't know is that it saddens me when the first question a person will ask me is, "Have you sold any of your paintings?". They did not choose to ask about the meaning behind the paintings or the technique. I have come to the conclusion that our society believes that a successful artist sells there work. That perhaps money is the motive. I do not agree with that.

I believe that when my work goes into the hands of another, it was painted for them. I believe that the painting and the person already have a relationship or bond. For example, Dr. Davis purchased the painting, "Insight". Two years later did I have the honor to meet and discuss with her about "Insight". She went into great detail about how each symbolic reference paralleled her life. She also told me that the painting was hanging in her main office where many women pass through. A "Forever Strong Womanhood" painting hanging in a practice for women's health is not a coincidence.

That my friend is what art is all about...not... have you sold any lately?

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