Where I landed. Where I go.

My feet are back on the ground, I think. It's been a long lingering month or two where things were so busy that I had to be disciplined just to finish all the tasks on my plate. Chris and I got married and that required my complete attention. After a simple family ceremony in our yard, we went to Maine and had a few days of wonderful surf to unwind. Immediately upon returning, it was the start of college and I had to pull myself together to teach Design at COBY two nights a week instead of 1. Meekly, I post on this blog, but I feel guilty for letting things just die here. I continue to do this periodically. I am not sure about the overall future of this forum....I  am still weighing out where I am going from here.

I did a small showing of art at the Harvest Fest in Sharon Springs over the weekend. The Harvest Fest was not exactly the best art forum, but I did want to show these pieces to the local folk that live in the town that the art was about. I got to talk to various people about Sharon Springs and I even sold a couple of pieces. As I put things away in boxes to bring down to the Elephant Bistro in town, I really felt the urge to just put this work to rest. I have already shown it and I actually am tired of it all. The Bistro, however, really wanted to have some pieces hanging in their restaurant, so I brought them down there. Regardless of this strategy, it does feel like it's the end of an era. It's the end of the Sadler era and it's time for me to move on to new ideas and formats.
I felt badly about not selling more this weekend and I had to sit back and think about reality.
The one thing I did sort out over the weekend is my own thought process, which isnt' working right.
I do art to express myself and as I do this, I could care less what anyone would think of the completed work. I go for a particular "look" and when I achieve it, I toss the canvas aside and move onto the next unfinished puzzle. When I feel I have completed a body of work, I take it to a gallery to show/sell. I take these artworks and present them to the public where I now expect them to like it---no, love it-- and perhaps even purchase it. 
When I create, I could care less about anyone else. But afterwards, I am trying to sell to someone else, and honestly, what nerve!! I expect them to like my viewpoint, and the way I presented it, and also to buy it and love it like it's there own. I am looking to be rewarded for being me. No wonder it's such a bummer when art doesn't sell, or when someone doesn't exactly like what you do. You really put yourself on the line. There's no way to avoid this I don't think. 
So there are 2 ways to go on from here.
1. Cater to the public. Figure out what sells, figure out what people want, and give it to em. Not sure if this is anywhere near as personally satisfying. But, if out society decides merit upon how much money we make, then this is definitely the answer. Lots of money = good artist.
2. Do my own thing, and suffer the consequences. If it sells, good. If it doesn't, who cares? I got my satisfaction out of the creation anyhow.

My new husband says that art is my therapy and that I probably would stop doing it if I did it just for sales. I tend to agree. But this doesn't help the wallet! And somehow this whole sales thing seems to tie into the money thing. And the money thing ties into the self worth thing. And the world goes round.


LoneStarLibrarian said...

Last year I came to the realization that my collage art matters to most to me. The recognition comes and goes, and the money hardly ever. Then shortly after that realization, a digital gallery curator awarded me a solo show, and that recognition felt like lagniappe. Aha, here was someone who thought my art mattered or at least found it worthy of recognition. But nothing sold. Have you ever noticed there's always more art than people know what to do with?

The love of image-making has been with me since childhood, it's so deeply ingrained. Do we have a choice? For whatever reason, our souls speak color, shape, and line language. We speak it to ourselves and sometimes to others. Creating collage from the whole wide world of paper scraps, etc. feels almost godlike. It sounds egotistical, and maybe painters, novelists, etc., feel this way too? But I don't mean it that way.

For me, it feels like collage/mixed media is simply the largest playground for my imagination. I, too, go directly from one collage to the next. I've usually come across scraps for the next two or three just making the most current one, you know? I love the way a new theme or series sneaks in and I recognize some obsession I have visually manifested. The richness!

I blogged yesterday about the art/money conundrum, but I forgot to say one thing. I think artists are feeling the pinch, the lack of sales, due to the proliferation of mass-produced artistic and decorative stuff for sale in big retail outlets. Ridiculously cheap stuff that probably won't hold up long (I've seen fancy gilded picture frames that are little more than styrofoam stapled together, etc.), but no one cares. They will throw it away and go buy something new. So where does that leave us?

I have enjoyed your blog these last two years, and could relate when you felt the need to purge your collage files and turn to paint. Something new will find you again, fascinate, absorb and drive you towards a new creative angle. Thank you for sharing all the agonies and astonishments of living a creative life.

When I retired from public library work 2 1/2 years ago, it amazed me how very quickly I "fell" into a major obsession with collage. I had done them on and off all my life, but finally the time came to really hone my craft. I want to keep l earning more about other related crafts, especially printmaking.

Anyway, I've never left such a long comment before, so thanks for firing up my need to share and commiserate.

"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination." - John Lennon


Julie Takacs said...

How nice of you to share your thoughts. It is really a strange cycle that we tend to set up for ourselves, thru validation via sales!
Chris says I do it for therapy. He may be right, as many themes that get the most passion out of me are my own personal triumphs and interests....
It was great to hear about someone else who also puzzles over the reason why we do what we do. And the John Lennon quote> Priceless!!!


Monkeybrain said...

I wish I had more time right now to post a longer comment. But I will encourage you strongly NOT to see validation through sales. Your work is awesome! Your blog is inspirational. You have been supportive and inspirational to me and others. In my mind, that's more important than money. You didn't (and don't) start doing artwork to make money; you did it to express and create (like we all do). If you want to make money, you could get a minimum wage job and it would pay more that art (if you count all the time). I had the best year I've ever had in sales and still ended-up not making a profit. It's virtually impossible to make money in the art world. I think that those who do are as common as lottery winners. We hear about them, but not about the THOUSANDS of artists who don't "make it". People enjoy your art; your blog is a great forum for a number of creative minds. You are a success!!! Oh yeah, the money thing...screw it! ;-) If it gets to a point where you really need more money, you'll do something creative about it. Keep on keepin' on Julie... please ;-) You're my "art sister" and I kinda like our family ;-) Oh crap, I have to get back to work. Peace and love,

Julie Takacs said...

haha steven you kill me.
I am not quitting, by any means
I am observing my quirky behavior and by doing so, sharing this phenom with you and the world.
Relax amigo!
we ARE art. that won't change!

Eva said...

I think Best Wishes are in order. Much happiness to you on the bridal front!
And make what makes you happy. It is the road to "success" - whatever that is.

Montreal & NY said...

I just want to present my collages, I'm sure you would like.. :)
Nice blog btw!



___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.