New Questions

May 9, 2007

When ‘making a name’ as a calligrapher and artist became a prerequisite to selling my work, things became difficult for me. I knew that I’d rather spend my time making art than promoting it in order to sell it. But in the 80’s and 90’s  alternatives were few; the concept of the artist also having to be a savvy business person was taking root.

I have always felt that art and commerce were two different worlds governed by opposite sets of principles.
The marketplace runs on outer appearances, quick results, short term thinking, competition and ultimately the conviction that everything has a price.

However, when I was working alone in my studio I would be immersed in an another world where symbols, discovery, renewal, connectedness, and the sacred reigned. The work created was made for the joy of it,  and the meaning it brought me.  How does one put a price- tag on this kind of intimate experience?

My way out was to remove my fine art from the direct marketplace and to make my living with graphic design and other skills. But I have never stopped struggling with the need to find a balance between the soul qualities of art and the need to survive in a commercial world.

I guess where I am now is asking another set of questions that have less to do with the polarity between gifts of the heart and money. I ask,’Where do I want my life energy to go, to build what? Do I want to support the endless and damaging consumer chain? Or do I want to spend my time helping to build new, sustainable forms so that art and heart qualities can flow into the world and help heal it?’  (More on this in the post about Authentic Business,  April 19, 2007  in the category Art and the market).

One Response to “New Questions”

  1. These are excellent and thoughtful questions; I struggle with authenticity every moment, every day — on one hand trying to live life as authentically as possible while on the other hand not letting that pursuit turn into a cliche and not making money into an evil thing. I have simplified it in my head (perhaps too much) — if I lived in a tiny village and made something pretty, I might trade that for corn, the work of someone else’s hands. I don’t think the act of trading one’s energy and pursuits for sustenance is inherently evil; it trading one’s own self or soul — that is, “selling out,” or changing yourself — for sustenance that becomes inauthentic.

    Thank you for the link to the Neil Crofts book. I’m sorry I can’t tell you where I found your blog — I bookmarked it a few weeks back, I think.

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