|The Law of Reciprocal Actions, 2|
watercolor on Arches paper
Katharine A. Cartwright, NWS
As an artist, I can think of a number of good reasons to make art that have nothing to do with others. There's something inside of me that compels me to do it.
But, does making art come with obligations? I don't have an answer to this question, and maybe there isn't one. For instance, once art is created is the artist obligated to share it with others? Maybe there's no legal obligation, and certainly the artist can do what she wants, but is there a higher purpose to a work of art that requires it to be shared? Does it become more than an artist's possession once it exists?
Furthermore, is an artist obligated to explain what a work means? We're always asked to provide an Artist's Statement for exhibitions, journals, and books. Doesn't the work speak for itself? Is an artist obligated to provide legitimacy to the work in the form of a complex statement that rarely makes sense?
Finally, is an artist obligated to sell work to be called an artist? Is art making relegated to hobby status just because it doesn't sell? Or, if work does sell, does that really make it art and the creator an artist?
In the years that I've been working as a professional artist, I've encountered feelings of obligation but am uncertain if any of them should be legitimized.
What are your thoughts?