Friday, July 17, 2015

Hard Life Lessons from (or for?) an Elder Artist, pt. 2

***In order to protect the privacy of V the artist, no photos will be used in this series of blog posts***

In Hard Life Lessons from (or for?) an Elder Artist, pt.1, I introduced my readers to V the artist and her difficult situation.

It hasn't changed. The more I speak with V, the more I question the motives she uses in order to, in the catch phrase of our era, achieve her dream. Recently, she told me the story of receiving a phone call from a mega-celebrity after tracking down his mother in a California nursing home. He was polite, but not amused at this invasion of privacy and also not interested in taking ownership of V's artwork, which had been her primary focus...finding a celebrity who would take ownership of she and her late husband's life's work, create an exhibition space/gallery for it, and also fund the publication of a memoir book and possible movie/documentary about their lives.

Dispersing the work is not an option, nor is selling it. V wants her moment in the spotlight, the accolades she feels she deserves for spending a lifetime in front of a canvas, brush in hand. She's completely unwilling to yield here. I was initially so concerned about her quality of life and how to help her that I didn't see the truth behind the reason she contacted me.

She didn't want friendship, companionship, or someone to help her sort out things and find a better living situation. She wanted someone to help her track down private addresses of the rich and famous in hopes that she could achieve fame and wealth by grabbing onto their coattails. If they took an interest in the art, in other words, they would promote it, and her. And this was not a new idea. V and her late husband had been doing this for years; she has celebrity addresses going back at least a decade. 

As much as I want to help V, I can't get on board with this particular plan. Most artists I know accomplish what they work for by working for it - showing art at every opportunity, promoting themselves, doing whatever it takes to get their work visible to others, usually all while raising families and/or working part-time/full-time jobs. They are certainly not trying to skip all of the above steps and achieve greatness through a celebrity's name. And let's not forget the 5-figure price tags that clearly show V is not interested in common folk having her pieces; only the wealthy could afford these kind of prices for art, which has resulted in a lifetime of paintings and drawings stored in file cabinets and closets.

I have come to believe that art stored in closets and file cabinets because high price tags aren't being met is somehow wrong. Art is for everyone. Every home should contain pieces of original artwork. Art should be a part of everyday life, not something persons can only see in museums, high-ticket items available for purchase only to a select, elite few. 

In V's world, artists are a small, distinct group, placed high on pedestals, celebrated for their vision and interpretations of the world around us. But I don't live in that world, not anymore. I was headed there at one time, but then I realized it was a fast track to making my art less accessible to the people who really seemed to love it, who would value it in their homes and lives. It would result in my art being stored in file cabinets and closets, which is not what I want.

And so, from years of growing as an artist and a person, and my recent re-connection with V, Art is for Everyone was born. This Facebook page serves to promote the art of myself, and hopefully in time, others, not to make us famous or wealthy but to get our creations out of the studio and into the world. I'm very excited about seeing what happens, and hope you'll follow along!

And stay tuned for updates on V. She has now shifted her focus from celebrities to the top 200 American Art Collectors. I have more hope that this might bear fruit, though she recently told me she would die with all of her paintings before she'd split the collection up. I'm not sure even the most enthusiastic collector wants 50 paintings by the same artists. So we'll see how it goes...

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