Thursday, March 12, 2015

A little side note about life and the art world

This is not the typical post I intended for my art blog. But I found this short little video clip so moving and refreshing I felt compelled to share it. Take 15 minutes out of your day and watch this great video--You won't regret it.

(sorry about the commercials on YouTube)

Now to relate this video to me.
A professional artist (meaning one who makes his/her living from their art) as seen from the outside appears to be the embodiment of freedom and liberation. A causal day where you follow your creative spirit and then have wine and chess at the end of the day as you watch the sunset. 

Now for a dose of reality, it's nothing like that, that's an illusion...a fairy tale. I'm not one to shy away from hard work and I certainly understand that to make a success of yourself, especially in the arts, you have to work very, very hard and wear many hats. Exactly what I've done in my career. I did what I though I was suppose to do. But somewhere along the way, in the daily fray of battle, I lost "me" my art spirit seems to have taken a holiday without me knowing it, and I don't know where it's gone.

I'm sorry, if you're waiting for a profound answer at this post, I have none, it's simply a question. It's where I find myself  these days. Perhaps an answer will come someday, or maybe not, and I'll head off to go skating and I'll leave the rat race that is the contemporary art scene of today behind.

"Keep the cheese, I just want out of the trap"


Judy P. said...

To get out of the rat race, simplify your life, and find what is freeing and refreshing for all your days is a great thing. But for now this would make me
bored out of my mind. I want to make better paintings- not for money, but to be a better painter. That's a goal I want to achieve. That's why I couldn't relate, I'm not ready to simply spin. Being goal-oriented is not just about money, it's to stretch yourself. Someday I may enjoy life simply spinning- that is a good quality life too. But you have to be prepared and
ready for it.
I haven't been painting very long, you indeed may want an adjustment, or simply a rest break. You've certainly accomplished enough to determine wisely what you need.I appreciate you sharing that not everything is rosy, even at your level. It makes us newer painters not feel so different.

Candace X. Moore said...

Wonderful post, Bryce. The video inspires, and so does your candor on your feelings about the art world. Art is deep and wonderful, but there’s a lot of bullshit involved, too, and it can be so draining. Sometimes you just need to feel those feelings. They signal that it’s time for change, and that’s a good thing.

Unknown said...

Sometimes I think it's just the curse of the artist to be perennially unsettled, or "lost" a bit as it were.

I feel very fortunate to have discovered (or re-discovered) painting in my older age. It allows me to set goals and I think being older helps provide perspective. I think Slomo lost his perspective somewhere along the way. Near the beginning of the video he'd mentioned that he was "ushered in" to med school and a medical career. Apparently it was never really his idea to be an MD and so, it seems, he felt he was not in control of his own life.
I know art, whether fine art or commercial, can be a grind at times, especially if you actually hope to eek out a living. It's definitely not as glamorous as some would imagine. Being a commercial artist I sometimes joke that I've never worked a day in my life. I'm only half-joking though. Yes there are frustrations and limitations when you work for hire and people critique your work on a daily basis. But there has been so much more upside that I am loathe to complain.

I could be wrong Bryce, but if you feel like you've lost your art spirit it may be because you're not feeling sufficiently inspired. Being a commercial artist working for a large creative company I am always surrounded and inspired by others. Just today I was able to participate in a workshop that was led by a visiting artist from Pixar. It was a method and technique that was new to me and pushed me out of my comfort zone, but it was good for me and it keeps one engaged and stimulated. I've often wondered how fine artists, working in isolation find that same kind of stimulation. You may need to be around people that you feel are way better than you, who will push you. I realize that at your level, you're not going to find that many in that category for probably a thousand miles or more. If you feel like you've plateaued and are not striving in some way then you may need to get around people who honestly encourage you and who push you.

The video was really interesting, but I think this kind of story can foment a sense of discontent. We all dream of doing exactly what we want. But in my humble opinion, taking care of business, although less sexy or adventurous, is more profound and impactful in this world than living for a feeling.
It also makes me think of the joke where the dad says: "My kids told me I was in a rut, and all this time I thought I was in a groove."

I could be completely off base in all my comments Bryce, so please take with a large grain of salt.
Armchair advice is cheap!

slice4e said...

Hi Bryce,

Great post. Thank you for the honesty. I know you'll do great regardless. Most people do not even seriously contemplate these topics - like "how to live your life".

And even Slomo - I think that if he did not go through the terrible shock of loosing his vision - even he may have stayed in a mindless rat race and never experienced so much happiness. Because ultimately, I believe that we should always think about how to live our short lives such that we experience more happiness.

jimserrettstudio said...

Hi Bryce, the Slomo video was interesting and I fully believe in his philosophy, in fact I am practicing much of it today as I pursue my art. A couple of thing I want to point out about the video, Slomo was a practicing physician for many years, and obviously accumulated some resources, because even a little studio apartment blocks off of the boardwalk in Venice Beach is not cheap and he has been there for 15 years. That tells me he prepare for his life change, which becomes a conscience decision, weighing the balance between wants and needs.

Some time back an artist I admired told me that to be successful I had to focus on the work, that money, awards and prestige have nothing to do with art. I guess what I am trying to tell you is that you have to plan for happiness, and your work will bring you that when you let go of the other stuff.

You’re a very talented artist, we or for certain I have been there, that is why I felt like I need to comment.
“If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.”

Unknown said...

Thank you everyone for leaving a comment here. I really appreciate your feedback and support. I'd like to get back and address your comments individually.

London Row Fine Art said...

What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing Bryce. I love how the video is so refreshing and you are not afraid to voice your opinions on art.