Wednesday, December 16, 2009

the colour of success

so here's my Q (big question):

what does "success" look like for the [christian] artist?

i suppose i could ask what "success" looks like for the artist in general as well but, like the masthead says, this is "an exploration of the arts, faith and whatever else crosses my mind."

i will be the first to admit that it would be great to be able to make a living (and by that i also mean a profitable living) from my art. regardless of what you may think about thomas kinkade or precious moments i would dearly love it if my work was emblazoned on every possible printable surface or interpreted as any number of kitschy objects: framed prints, plates, towels, stickers, magnets, t-shirts (actually, that might work!), mugs, placemats, table runners, bibles, paperweights, snowglobes, tattoos...a cornucopia of delights. it would be wonderful if everything sold and the work was collected by patrons and museums. if there were catalogues and monographs and films and interviews. let's be honest: it would be. i'm no van gogh but i'm also no damien hirst or jeff koons (or kinkade). after all, the making - while hard work, and often tediuos - is fulfilling. it is both my responsibility and my joy.

and, if i am honest, i would also admit that i want the madding throngs to come and see my work, and to await new work with excitement and anticipation; to come and be transported, transformed, deeply and profoundly moved. and that happens on occasion. someone is moved to tears. someone feels a connection to something spiritual. someone is challenged to change their ways. someone recognizes something in themselves and finds freedom. someone finds comfort and healing. someone is astounded. someone is inspired. someone experiences joy. these things have happened and, i trust, will continue to happen, and they are wholly and deeply gratifying. and i suppose that is "success". i just want more of it. i'm greedy like that.


JAAROSH said...

I was reading up on avant garde the other day to work out what the phrase actually means. I think it is basically work that challenges. Challenges old art ('cutting' edge), or challenges the viewer 'politically' (i.e religiously morally politically etc)

Can you challenge people in any way with a merchandised place mat?..

Damien hirst's work in vitrines isn't merchandise. I think it challenges the viewer though. I think the diamond skull is conceptually very challenging too (i.e the concept that he paid for it..) what happens when he sells t shirts with the skull on though? I guess he is making it available to people...

I guess sucess directly relates to your aims doesn't it? which varies for me with each work sometimes.

Mark wallinger said his 'a real work of art' would have been more of a success if the horse had run better...


techne said...

yeah - the term avant-garde is actually a military term referring to the front edge of the army that engages the enemy. the avant-garde takes ground no one has before...of course, the idea of the avant-garde is a modernist one and one that i think a lot of artists don't much engage with anymore.

and i do, in fact, think you can challenge people with a placemat - i think that has more to do with the work than the format (and i think that would be an interesting idea - which, btw, i am employing in an installation next year).

while his work is absolutely different from kinkade's, hirst is similar in that he is a consummate marketer of his own work or brand. it's just for a different audience. i love his stuff. and i quite enjoy the art persona he presents. he has said some interesting things about the relationships between science, art, religion, commerce...

i agree that what constitutes success for an individual piece can change, but what about success on a larger scope? what about success for your entire body of work? what does that look like?