As sure as I’m sitting here glazed over staring out my window things never remain the same. ‘Change’ has been the overriding theme in this year of mass killings, and of course I expect we’ll continue to see an ever-growing number of lunatics hell-bent on murdering us “Crusaders.” However for this particular dialog, I’ve embraced change and hopefully can articulate what it has meant to me and the catharsis that is my art.
Mostly by choice or coercion or perhaps a little bit of both, but I had to go a different direction. My four years at “Artists on Santa Fe” has been a good run filled with memories, good times, and a few collector’s items. This included friendships but more importantly, it was a good place to reawake in me a long sense abandoned and buried dream of being an artist. Either that or it would merely be a continuation of those priceless sotted moments in time when judgment is defined by foggy recollections of what I expected from my efforts there.
While working hard to find a voice I became increasingly disillusioned as most there (old studio) were eager to help you but only for a price. While oblivious to the majority of artists housed in the old auto-parts warehouse, the place is void of energy with collective atrophy toward anything fresh and new.
I compare art to religious dogma and those hypocritical evangelists selling redemption for cash and box seating at the stadium. Even devout and spiritual artists transgress to some degree, and willing to wager my next check ($89.00) they’ve buried some licentious act so deep they’ve actually forgotten the ugly episode. These are the moments in our lives when nobody was looking—we actually sought out shameful behavior destined for the grave. These things on a subconscious level affect one’s work and good or bad contributes to who we are.
I moved to the Rino (River North) Arts District in NE Denver in the completely renovated Dry Ice Factory that includes two galleries and 30 studio spaces. My space includes a skylight, something I’ve never really had before and can’t believe the difference it makes. With the exception of a couple of geezers like me, most of the artists are younger and haven’t had their dreams crushed yet. That said, there are a few there making a decent living with their art; keeping the dream alive!
I love the energy but was poignantly taken back to my own experience some 35 years ago when I heard my young neighbor Bennett bemoan “Why in the fuck do I continue?” Without saying another word he walked out the door. Personally I think Bennett is very talented and hope he doesn’t quit.
Unfortunately Bennett is typical of many young artists that measure their worth by how much money was earned selling their work. There are thousands of artists armed with liberal arts degrees scratching out meager rewards for hours of labor and frustration poured into their work. They can’t understand why patrons don’t realize this and why they’re unwilling to pay $2,500 for the work. It’s much like professional sports in that a very small percentage of athletes make a living playing their sport.
The fact we’re ushering in a brand new year filled with uncertainty, I thought that the two or three of you still reading this bibliotaph would be interested to know I took Bennett aside and explained that he should do his art for himself first…..if it’s really good work it’ll get noticed and good things will happen. When we shut the door on monetary rewards as our only motivation and work solely for the personal pleasure a finished piece brings, uxoriously we’ll forever be cleansed ready to open a new chapter in ‘life’s rich pageant.’