Thursday, February 12, 2009

What Artists Need

Dear Sherrie,

Yesterday I took part in an advisory panel. This is where a couple of somewhat respected artists take a look, one artist at a time, at the work of up-and-comers. For each half-hour interview, my accomplice Janice Robertson and I were presented with three originals, digital assemblies of recent work, and the artists themselves to talk about their goals and aspirations. Many wanted to know if they were ready for galleries. Some were looking for higher status in some organization or were wondering about more workshops and seminars. Most were simply asking, "What do I do now?"

I've always been suspicious of advisory panels, but artists seem to want them and not all artists are masochists.

Over the afternoon and evening we looked at beginner wanderings, wild imaginings and remarkable, professional accomplishments.

Funnily, we advisors often found ourselves telling one artist to stop painting big and to move to smaller works, while others were told to give their small stuff more power by painting bigger. Some are advised to paint "looser," others "tighter." So it goes.

I'm not a believer in critically picking at works here and there. I rather like looking at artists' general direction and trying to see what they might wish to become. A few observations were clarified by yesterday's encounters:

Artists need to learn to be their own best critics.

Artists need to go to their rooms and hone their styles.

Artists need to fall in love with their own processes.

Artists need to march to their own drummers.

Artists need to constantly ask, "What could be?"

Almost all artists need to further sensitize themselves to their subject matter and their passions, as well as to the further possibilities of their chosen media. They need to think ahead and work their plans. They need to be impulsive and audacious. Artists need to be--artistic.

Best regards,


PS: "Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't." (Erica Jong) "In those days he was wiser than he is now--he used frequently to take my advice." (Winston Churchill)

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