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Omphaloskepsis Blog

I have my statement figured out for now...

Jun 26, 2011

BarryMcGee.jpgGraffiti artist and gallery artist Barry McGee “uses layered paint and graffiti to provoke urban street life in a gallery setting.” -Cynthia Freeland

So tell Bryce, Kate, why your art is important...says one very important patron to me, of another. Here is my answer, more or less. Keep in mind that I’ll be speaking it–they’ll be hearing it–not reading it, so it will come out differently each time, but with practice it will get better and easier.

I use the tools of classical painting to provoke emotions in my audience they might be more likely to associate with theater. For example, I think great painting can be funny. And, that great painting can provide the sense – not the sight, but the sense – of another world so engulfing you feel like you're in it. I don’t settle for less than an extremely high impact experience for the viewer.  In our era, painting can make do with lesser aims, but what should we be asking of painting that goes the distance?

According to the great advice of my coach, asking a question at the end will draw the other person out and keep the conversation going.

If the circumstances warrant, and I want to give a slightly longer answer, I can remove the question at the end and add this:

To go the distance as a painter, you need to step outside received ideas. Writing about Francis Bacon, John Russell said there has never been a great painting that made people laugh. I disagree. I think that humor is the most potent tool we have to disarm the viewer, and leave a viewer vulnerable to fertile, emotionally complex and difficult concepts that are anything but funny.  I see this dynamic in the work of Lawrence Weiner, Dana Schutz, and Twyla Tharp, who all use humor to make great art.  I feel that many of the deepest and most unusual experiences in art -- all kinds of art -- are only available because the artist has led you to them through emotions that are provocative but, (at least at first), acceptable.

I was also reading an interesting article on an art business blog regarding how an artist can handle well being out in public. The article offered advice and pertinent information to crafting a statement like this. It said that it’s not east for artists to relate to people in this way for many reasons but you can overcome the challenges by doing three simple things: 1.) A well rehearsed and brief scripted intro to your work, 2.) a commitment to be accessible, 3.) a continuous video loop about you and your art. I took this last piece of advice to be figuratively speaking but the author probably means it literally. However, if you do the first and are networking, just keep it on a repeated loop.

This week I submitted my Arts Innovator application. It’s a 25k award. I applied based on my experimental work like Mother May I...? and the tattoo performance piece I did for the CoCA marathon as well as the unsupported skin paintings that evolved from that which I installed in my studio by draping over pipes and allowing to pool on the floor.

I’m also working on my Betty Bowen Application and the Conductive Garboil Application. This time I’ve followed the advice of Gigi Rosenberg, and gratefully have a team of people reading the application essays, two for each.

Then today I built my google profile! which did not take long at all and was fun! My next big business project is to get my business software database, Flick!, all set up with my painting inventory and artwork provenance etc.

But what about making art?! So the big thing is, I believe, is setting some goals for getting some paintings complete. I have the Nonordinary Reality Painting Series that I would like to complete. I think I need to buckle down and get it done. I work best if I set the goal and work towards it. The distraction is that I have many other ideas that I’m very excited about and would like to pursue as well. But perhaps if I just push through, I can move onto these other ideas. So here are my goals:
First Thursday is in approximately 2 weeks. I would like to have my next NOR painting near completion by then.
I would also like to have a small loose but attractive study complete as well
Each painting takes about a month to complete, however I would like to complete four by the end of August, including 2-3 small studies of each painting. I have a sitter available to me 3 nights a week, I’m going to use that time. Those are my painting goals for the NOR series.

Google Profile
Gigi Rosenberg, The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing
Make the most of your public appearances
Artists Trust
Betty Bowen Award
Conductive Garboil
Barry McGee
But is it art? by
Cynthia Freeland
John Russell
Gustave Flaubert

Category: Art Business

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