Sunday, August 30, 2020

The burden of the artist.... a product

The burden of the artist is a product. A common question I hear students and fellow artists ask, " So what do we do with all this art? " Performing artists, dancers, actors, singers and musicians have to practice their craft constantly: exercises, lines, steps, chords etc but they don't produce a physical thing, a product. It is invisible and then visible in the final dance, song or performance. Artists, especially those who go into their studios everyday and are prolific are faced with the burden of "What do I do with all of this work?" Even those who enjoy relative success in sales face this conundrum. The problem is exacerbated in the pandemic. 

Artists need to make work now more than ever. Even if you are in a gallery, sales have
dropped off dramatically. What is the answer? Do we stop making work? Work on paper? Repurpose art that falls short into collage? Give art away? Throw art away? Many artists work out of tiny spaces
with no storage. I used to work out of our laundry room. It was 4 by 6 ft and the washer
and dryer took up a third of the room.

I just learned about Luchita Hurtado, an artist who died at 99 and became a sensation in 
her 90's. Her art was rarely exhibited until the 70's and then only sporadically in small
venues. That did not daunt her. She worked on her art at night when everyone else was 
asleep. She said "Art was a constant, a need, like brushing your teeth." It is also our legacy. Our son, Alex's response to these musings was, It is your legacy, it lives on through all the work you give to us, to everyone you love, the work you have sold and donated. He is right. So keep making art and keep brushing your teeth!