Thursday, May 7, 2009

Time Taken

In my insomnia, I have catching up on some other blogs. Jeane Vogel recently pointed out some interesting thoughts on process and value on her blog in her post How Long Did That Take to Make? It is well worth reading because it really points out some of the biases and value judgments that we as viewers have. Most people who would ask, as Jeane points out, genuinely just want to know more about a piece that intrigues them.

That said, I have been guilty of asking. It is a very difficult topic to breach politely. But I don't equate time spent with monetary worth. I'm not interested in passing a value judgment based on how long an artist spent creating something, and often when I do so I feel that the artist is underselling themselves not asking too much.

Given the diversity of media I explore and my background in fiber art, I may be genuinely curious as to how long an artist has taken to create a work. A lot of people simply don't appreciate the physical effort that goes into creating artwork, especially fiber works, and I think that a better understanding of this can foster a better sense of appreciation. And even more people don't understand or appreciate the time taken to develop and hone a skill to the point that it seems to come as naturally as breathing. Or the time taken to conceptualize an idea before making it manifest. Or the history and authenticity bestowed upon carrying on traditions to keep a culture alive and remember our ancestors...

I'll admit that I can be way too nosy sometimes. I've been curious as to how much artworks and other objects weigh or how they are transported, especially if they are large, heavy or fragile. This doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the artwork or object on its own accord, but typically shows that I was wowed by some particular aspect of it, like its size or intricacy, and want to know more about it. As an artist, I find that this sort of nosiness can be a way of connecting with other artists and talking about process. Between artists, such discussions can help us to come to a better understanding and appreciation of each other's working styles. We all stand to learn a lot from one another.


Jeane Vogel said...

I agree -- between artists these discussions can be enlightening. For the general public, I think it still might be value-laden. Nice piece.

ChaoticBlackSheep said...

I totally agree Jeane. I think that this is unfortunately value-laden for many people, especially among members of the general public trying to make small talk about something they don't fully understand or appreciate. And thank you for the compliment - you were my inspiration. :)

Anonymous said...

You don't need to apologize for asking a reasonable question. Artists (including myself) must come to terms with the pure fact: if you want to make money from your art then you must learn to talk about money, time and any other aspect of your art business.

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