Tuesday, August 28, 2012
"Do you ever look at stuff someone else has made and think "wow! I wish I'd made that!", or read about someone's success, either artistically or in the business side of their art, and thought "damn, I could have done that - my work is that good, why don't I get the big rewards?"
And there were lots of answers about why or why not people feel this and lots of people confessed that they get down on themselves when they see what other people are able to do. This is a discussion that drives me nuts. This is an attitude that drives me nuts and this is what often makes me want to go to my studio, stop reading the internet and never associate with other artists again.
Since when is making art a competition? Well, maybe since people started competing for acceptance in shows or for prizes. But is that really why you do what you do? I don't think it is for most of us, and really I don't think that is the envy the discussion is about. It seemed to be more about wanting to be able to do what other people do. To have their lovely life and their wonderful work. This is so self-defeating and so unworthy of each of us. Most obvious, of course, is that no one really knows, least of all from looking at a blog, what another's life is like or how many failures you don't see on the way to the terrific piece that was posted. But what bothers me the most is that this kind of envy diminishes the person who you envy. It says, "I want what you have," without acknowledging what has gone into it. It supposes that the person is lucky or magically "talented"—not that they have worked, studied, put in the time, made the mistakes, embarrassed themselves, struggled, sacrificed and continue to do all these things that finally show in improving their work. It is not a compliment to be envied. It is not a compliment to be told you are lucky to be talented. It is a compliment to be admired for your dedication and hard work. I am tired of the idea of "talent." Study and practice and lots of both are what produce competency. Talent is a myth.
Thus endeth the sermon.
Now, about that piece at the top of the page. It's a piece called "Rockin' and Rollin'" that I made in 2000. I am thinking about entering it into the HFD Rhythm and Hues show, despite the fact that it is 12 years old and looks nothing like what I am currently making. I've always liked it. Nothing in the rules addresses how old or new the piece must be. I think it would fit the theme. Is that crazy??