“But I am not a “real” artist”
Regular readers of my blog know that this is a demon that I have struggled with numerous times.
After all, I have no art degree, I make do with materials I can afford, and I paint for pleasure rather than profit. I don’t consider longevity or light fastness or even what I will do with the finished product.
My husband will often introduce me to people as “my Wife, the internationally renowned professional artist”, usually with pride and perhaps a little humour.
And I guess by definition, I am exactly that. I have sold my art, therefore you might call me “professional” and I have a large number of my pieces in homes all over the world thanks to the wonders of the internet.
So what is ‘real’ when it comes to art?
Art, like a lot of things in life is subjective. Everybody you meet has a different idea of what is art. And all art is real art.
Recently there was much noise in our local media about an acquisition by our main gallery of a piece that was described as “slaughtered headless horse carcasses”. Fibreglass forms covered with real horse skins.
I saw it when I visited the gallery recently and although I felt very little for it, it is still art, someone’s expression of creativity and for some people, and it created discussion and emotion. Emotion probably being the true measure of what we consider to be art.
All art requires a process of inspiration, preparation, creation and usually exhibition.
Most of us would agree that if we walked into a fine art gallery and saw on display, in a beautifully lit cabinet, perhaps placed cleverly on a black velvet cushion, a piece of gold jewellery, encrusted with gems, and touches of enamel, that we would be admiring a piece of beautiful art.
And what about this creation of mine?
Art can come in many forms, it is not just that painting on the wall of the gallery.
It is that finger painting brought home from preschool and displayed proudly on the fridge and the photograph you captured on your last holiday then loved enough to have enlarged and framed.
Art is that birthday cake you decorated, and that tapestry you stitched for great Aunty Joan.
And the art you create is just as real, and just as wonderful as something made from the finest materials and hanging in the most famous of galleries.
Art doesn’t have to last 200 years; it can be temporary, like the amazing creations of the sidewalk artists with their chalk or the Buddhist monks creating mandalas of coloured sand.
Art doesn’t even have to mean anything to anybody else but you, the artist.
Chocolate comes in many different forms, like art. Just because someone doesn’t like dark chocolate doesn’t make it less “real”, less wonderful to you.
Walk around a gallery and I can guarantee you, that some artworks you will adore, some you will hate, and some will leave you feeling nothing. And if you go with someone, their experience will almost certainly be different to yours.
So don’t get caught up in the “real art” question when you create. Create for yourself first, and if others like it, all good. And if someone offers to buy it – even better.
And don’t let anybody try to tell you your art isn’t real.
Especially if that “anybody” is working in a fancy art supplies shop. Their only goal is to part you from your cash.