Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Surviving Graduation, Part 2
The View from the Studio Door: How Artists Find Their Way in an Uncertain World
By Ted Orland (2006)
Chapter 5: Surviving Graduation, Part 2
The rest of this chapter examines the transition of the artist from student to professional. Orland lays out the typical steps that lead to success when one become an independent artist. These steps may be distilled to one: make art every day. He states your mastery of craft is directly proportional to the sheer number of hours you throw into the effort, but your vision unfolds in concert with your total life experience – in other words, slowly, and only across extended periods of time. Our “vision” needs time to mature and we must be patient enough let it. We achieve this one painting at a time, day after day, year after year.
What is it we’re hoping to achieve in our artmaking? Many of us find that it’s emotionally satisfying because we have an inner compulsion to make art and we need a creative outlet. For me, that’s true but there’s also something more. I need to share my work with others – to exhibit it in public venues. It’s not vanity, it’s simply my way of communicating with society. As Orland puts it, over the long run it’s the relationship of your art to the entire culture that determines its value. In the deepest sense, the relationship of your art to the culture is its value.
I feel the need to expand Orland’s view of what it takes to become a professional artist because it’s limited to that of an Academic (Orland is a college art professor). There’s a whole other side to life as a professional artist and that’s the business side. While an artist, first and foremost, must be dedicated to producing authentic work that is technically skillful, he/she must also attend to all that goes into exhibiting and selling the work in order to participlate in the professional arena. Colleges don’t include that in their art curriculum. But, that’s a discussion for another day.
What are your thoughts?