I realize this morning why I’m feeling stuck.
I just found out there is no Santa Claus.
Part of my muddle comes from reading an odd little book called The Awful Truth About Selling Art by Dan Fox.
Mr. Fox shows us one way artists can be successful–I paid $15 for this book, which took me about 20 minutes to read. To be fair, you can probably get it second-hand.
Fox’s book is caustic and cautionary, explaining why most of us will never get into a major art gallery and why most of us will never be a rising art star. (For one thing, I’m now too old to be an emerging artist….) He also explains why we shouldn’t want to get into a major art gallery.
He goes on to tell us how none of the other ways of marketing ourselves and selling our art will work, either. We’re left with perhaps having some modest success as a “local” art-in-the-park level artist, or teaching or suicide. (Just kidding, there are a couple of other choices available.) (Oh, wait, no, there weren’t.)
It’s incredibly discouraging, yet pretty much what I already knew about selling art.
On the other hand, I didn’t become an artist to become rich and famous. (Okay, I was hoping to become a little bit rich, and a little famous….) I do crave some kind of success, even if I’m not sure what that looks like right now–especially in this economy.
So how to have wild, audacious, fabulous dreams and goals for our art, knowing that in reality, most of them will never come true?
How do you avoid letting this become an excuse for not making art? (“I’ll never sell my work anyway, why make it??”)
How do you let go of outcome, and yet still have goals?
How do you figure out what it is you want to achieve, and then accept you might never achieve that?
And then go make art anyway?
It’s sort of like when I first found out there was no Santa Claus. I remember thinking I knew it was too good to be true, but it had been fun to pretend it might be.
Just because there is no Santa Claus, that doesn’t mean we should quit striving for goodwill, peace and love in the world.
If I can figure this out, maybe I’ll have a place to rest my brain while the rest of me makes wall hangings this year.
I have a funny feeling that, if I work on my artist statement, that may give me a clue.
P.S. Actually, I think I just found everything I need in the January 2009 issue of Oprah magazine….