Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thursday Thoughts...

“Please keep demonstrating the courage that it takes to swim upstream in a world that prefers putting away for retirement to putting pen to paper, that chooses practicality over poetry, that values you more for going to the gym than going to the deepest places in your soul. Please keep making your art for people like me, people who need the magic and imagination and honesty of great art to make the day-to-day world a little more bearable.” 

Shauna Niequist

I struggle sometimes with the notion that one should be able to make a living from art. That somehow our work is available on the open market for people to pay for as a commodity. That what we create from the heart should have some commercial value that others should be willing to pay for. I am not fond of the word 'should'.

I often have difficult conversations with myself around the purpose of art-making; the purpose of exhibiting and so on and on and on.

But it is quotes like this that can keep me going; keep the fires burning and help me understand what it is that we do.  We aren't here simply for commercial exchange. We are here to make things of beauty; things that provoke thoughts and ideas; things that make others feel...

I think we sometimes forget that we can appear to have the keys to the magic kingdom. That we can seem to be the folk who can offer others moments of hope and beauty and magic. We can forget that people need these things in their daily lives - that the things we can do and make offer people a salve to the ordinariness or mundaneness of life. When they don't have time or skill or energy to create - we can offer them those things.

So we should listen to those who ask us to keep on making our art...


A fragment of "silence helps no-one", a book about family violence.  Maybe I just need to keep making art like this in case it might help one person...

And it is all a picture of grey, which leads me to Jennifer and Julie's ongoing monthly search for the rainbow and other colours. Having exhausted the rainbow, here we are at grey...

22 comments:

  1. I very much appreciate your Thursday thoughts ... they are provocative in the best way.

    This one moved me to think that the ultimate luxury might be to create art without the need to "make a living" while so doing ... to be able to give it away or keep it at will.

    But then I thought, what if I hadn't been able to purchase pieces of textile art (as I did from Jude and Grace) that lifted my own work to the next level? And there is this: my home is filled with pottery, paintings, and furniture that I most likely could never have created myself, for want of talent and/ore time.

    So I am moved to agree with you whole-heartedly and say, "Thank goodness for those who make a living from their art ... they (you included) have filled my life with beauty and given me joy beyond words."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Liz, I think it's a forever kind of conversation...one that I will have with myself forever! Perhaps like everything in life it's about balance? But yes, Please please people keep making art and poetry and beauty of four souls...go well.

      Delete
  2. Have you read "The Gift" by Lewis Hyde?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's on the bedside table Mo - dipped into but not yet consumed!

      Delete
  3. & this one meshes well too
    "Considering the ways in which so many of us waste our time, what would be wrong with a world in which everybody were writing poems? After all, there's a significant service to humanity in spending time doing no harm. While you're writing your poem, there's one less scoundrel in the world. And I'd like a world, wouldn't you, in which people actually took time to think about what they were saying? It would be, I'm certain, a more peaceful, more reasonable place. I don't think there could ever be too many poets. By writing poetry, even those poems that fail and fail miserably, we honor and affirm life. We say "We loved the earth but could not stay."
    - Ted Kooser
    via Whiskey River
    http://whiskeyriver.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/considering-ways-in-which-so-many-of-us.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was sheer beauty in words Mo. Indeed, what could be wrong with a world in which everybody were writing poems? We need the makers and creators and writers and dancers and painters and stitchers...go well.

      Delete
  4. There are so many ways to life life...but to live without art would not be the way I'd choose. It adds colour (grey or otherwise), and nuances that lift us from simply placing one foot in front of the other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true Jo - it adds so much in so many ways...

      Delete
  5. "So we should listen to those who ask us to keep on making our art..."
    Yes, yes, yes - agreed! I really liked this quote & your reflections on it...things that have been on my mind much lately.
    And the idea that you could make a difference in the life of even a single person with your art is certainly reason enough to continue. (I think those of us who place an importance on making/creating know just how "useful" - and necessary - it is...and on so many levels.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's all in there isn't it Lisa? The truth for the makers and the truth for those who appreciate and need it. We sometimes falter, we sometimes struggle and then we find our way again. Go well.

      Delete
  6. Stepping in here to thank you for sharing your thoughts on this art making, art selling life we have all chosen. A really well known artist at a conference told me that he was told only 5% of the population can see or want art as we know it. It helped me relax on all my gallery, exhibit business and settle into the making and accepting those wonderful moments when I meet up with a person who 'sees' me. So I sell about twice a year and find other ways on the income project.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree about the pressure to sell and make money - and how validating to think about the 5% who get us. I love those moments when what we do reaches out and touches somebody - our 5% person just melts and falls in love with our work. It's oftentimes worth it to bear witness to that moment I think. I certainly do work-work for my main income!

      Delete
  7. beautiful post, words that are so true

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kate - it was a beautiful quote to ponder...

      Delete
  8. wonderfully thoughtful post, including the comments here. I think we all wrestle with this question, all of us who make things and do or don't sell them. Thank you for sharing these words, and the beautiful image from your book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sharmon - it is an ongoing search and conversation, I discover different things about making and selling and what it means to me quite often. I struggle to understand it all sometimes, but I love the journey!

      Delete
  9. Fiona....I completely understand your struggle and also the conclusion you come to through the reminder of this beautiful quote. As I move into new realms after school that perhaps takes me right back into the studio, I am coming to the same place. The people who reach deeply to make artistic works in whatever medium have a gift to share with others....a necessary one. I'm in the middle of taking a three part branding workshop, which isn't what it sounds like. The gist is that it gets you to understand the "why" of what you do because that's what people resonate with and that's what comes through in the work, if you are honest and if you are passionate. This TED talk by Simon Sinek is a great example that was shared in our class....I think we can make a connection with what we do as artists.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action

    Hope all is well in your world! Cheers, Patti

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely to hear from you Pattie. It is an issue for deep contemplation I think and we all have to find our way to the right answer for us, at different points in time. Your renewal with the studio and what that means will be fascinating! I shall follow up the TED talk, and I agree about honesty and integrity - the things we get passionate about, move others. Go well.

      Delete
  10. A great reflection, thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, and for enjoying m pondering...go well.

      Delete
  11. Agree, this is something we all struggle with & you've articulated it beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Linda - I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I seem to come to grip with things, they slide away again and I have to have the conversation with myself all over again! It's a fascinating ride for sure; but I know I just have to keep doing and making what is right for me...go well.

      Delete

I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.