Is Art really important? Is it part of your life?
Being an artist is often considered to be frivolous or something you dabble in. It is not viewed as a serious profession or a money making proposition. And money is our standard for assigning value.
Here is a recent conversation I had. I ran into someone at the grocery store. She knew that I had recently left my job. “Are you retired?”, she asked?” “No,” I replied. “I am painting watercolors.” “Oooh.. so you are retired then.” She concluded. When I insisted that I did not consider that retirement, she rolled her eyes.
Just A Hobby
It is a fairly prevalent attitude that art is just a hobby. When I say I am artist, I get looks that would be the same as if I had said I was a professional stamp collector or read romance novels for a living.
Other non-serious Professions
What if we talked about other professions the same way?
“I’m sure that you’re good stock broker but my kid can do that. He helped me picked some investments and did really well. I have the stock certificates on my fridge. Do you what to see them some time? So what else do you do? You know, to make money?”
“Wow. There actually seems to be some skill involved in plumbing. I really admire how you cleared that clog. But I don’t know if I want to pay $100 an hour for that.”
“Gee, the surgery thing you do is really cool. But how many people really need to get their appendix out? It must be hard to make a consistent income being a doctor, having to wait until someone gets sick.”
Artists are Cool. Art is disposable.
It’s not that people are not interested in artists and their process. People are actually fascinated by artists. Artists are admired – People are often Envious. “I wish that I could paint like that.” But the art itself is devalued.
The artist Marcel Duchamp said: “I don’t believe in art. I believe in artists.”
But I think we need more people to actually believe in art too. Is there a belief that art at its core is really not that valuable? I believe that there is an intrinsic value in art that is even worth an exchange of money (gasp).
Another conversation: I was at an artist exhibit in front of one of my paintings. A friend complemented me on my work but confided “but I would never pay $400 for that.”
Many people spend several hundred dollars a year on coffee. Is the high of caffeine better than the feeling you get looking at some art you really love? What do you spend hundreds of dollars on that will wear out in a few years? It is curious that disposable items often are seem as having more value than something that will last a lifetime.
Your Taste in Art is Valid
There is also an insecurity that people have about which art that they like. People may be fearful of the being ridiculed for art that they own or are thinking of purchasing. There is no right answer about what is good art. Some people think abstract art is garbage whereas many people are emotionally captivated by abstracts. Some people appreciate realism and others think that art should also include interpretation. What you like is what you like. Let other people love what they want. It is highly subjective.
So be confident in what you like. Be proud of the art that you do own. Be excited to view art.
Commit to Art
There is enough heaviness in the world. There are more than enough facts. It is important that Life have more beauty and appreciation in it.
Do you believe? If so, put on your Peter Pan hat, and clap your hands. Art and magic are not just for Neverland.