For the first time, well, ever, I included a business card I created for my Etsy store and my blog in my annual Christmas cards. I mean, its there, why not let everyone know, right?
I received an email from the wife of my college roommate who decided to look up my Etsy store and was surprised. She had never heard of any artistic talents. When she mentioned it to her husband, my old roommate, he observed that I always made him look at what I was doing when we were roommates. The difference, I was a Journalism-Advertising major and we had an ad a week to create. Poor Larry, he had to put up with me ALL day Sunday and had to follow just about every step of the process unless he fled the room. Back in 1966-67 there were no computers, desktop publishing and all that. Instead we had to draw our ads and that included the item, and the headline fonts as perfectly as if they had been typeset. I know Bodoni forwards and backwards. Maybe it's that detailed training that haunts me still.
When he finally bothered to look though, he was stunned. This was what his old roommate was doing now? Really? WOW!
That comment could be something said for a great many of us. Some start early and either succeed or more often are defeated and migrate to something that puts food on the table. More than one artist has muttered that critics were failed artists. Others often defer what they really want to do, live their lives and then when opportunity presents itself try again. As Scott Adams observed, we may need to fail a few times to finally succeed, learning along the way. Read enough biographies and you will see that those that succeed have one common bond to success ... their paths are all different. Some like Van Gogh had to die first. Jackson Pollock did manage to become famous but just before his death had run out of ideas. Yet, in his death, spectacular as it was, he became an icon of the post-war era. He was well known, but understood? Probably not.
That email and another toting the new" artists on the Artsy.net web site gave me pause. Who are these people? WHAT is this art? IS it art? Every era tries to distinguish itself from the era before. Yet, how many of these artists will survive this 15 minutes of fame. The one basis that tends to be ignored by critics (who many feel are failed artists themselves) is the appeal on the public at large.
Looking at their web site and their "Must-See" exhibitions for 2014 I find myself beginning to question what art is. Where is it going? Will it be 3D? I can remember seeing the very first holograms. You went into a room with cameras shooting all sides of an object. After we left, the floor had to settle for hours before the shooting, remotely of course, began. A look at the photos and the artists above gives you an idea of what is happening now. Will anyone of these make a mark? Or, is it simply the 15 minutes of fame as Andy Warhol observed. I certainly can't make any predictions but it sure will be fun to watch.
Have an idea? Non-traditional? Give it a try? Why not. All you can do is fail and in every failure are the seeds of another idea!
Happy New Year!