Monday, September 20, 2010

The ProstitutionofArt blog

I just realized after posting about The Body - Nothing Else blog that I neglected to post anything about The ProstitutionofArt blog, which also features one of my works, Bitch. The overall ProstitutionofArt blog is also well worth checking out - there have been some incredible discourse, performances and projects posted. It will culminate in a show at Mobius along with Signs of Our Times.

Check Out This Blog

I have recently connected with several other artists online through various blogs and was invited to submit something to The Body - Nothing Else (Women Artists Changing Bodies). There is some amazing content posted and I'm honored to be included among the many phenomenal women artists worldwide.

I sent along some of my more recent menstruation artworks and a statement about why menstruation art is important. Feel free to check it out here:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Art of the Week: The Fine Art of Failure

I recently formed a Rock Band 2 band called The Fine Art of Failure in order to compete in the Battle of the Bands competitions. My intention is to strive not to do the best but the worst at the battles I compete in, since the bottom band gets a lot of face time by appearing as "who to beat" when you first enter a battle. I have posted low scores in 7 battles thus far.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wake Up Call to Artists

I know I typically post more advice and content directed towards staying positive and taking chances, but today I'm going to address some things that really irk me about some artists and behaviors that I have encountered.

The world does NOT revolve around you.
Drop the egocentric attitude; it is not an asset. People are NOT happy to go out of their way to work with you and are NOT going to worship the ground you walk on. No one wants to make an exception for you - the rules were established for a reason so do your best to abide by them and don't expect that people will be happy to bend them for you. Artists are a dime a dozen and there are a lot of talented, creative people out there, so recognize the fact that your s**t stinks too and that you're one among many. Don't get me wrong - ego can be a good push to keep going and can draw attention, but make sure that it doesn't draw the wrong kind of attention.

Be true to yourself.
Stand by your convictions and never apologize for your art. Don't let others (friends, family, teachers, contemporaries...) push you around and tell you who you are.

Work to better yourself.

Don't be too harsh on others by being quick to judge and point out others' shortcomings in order to feel better about yourself. It is easy to point the finger and place blame elsewhere, but it is more productive to engage in some introspective criticism. Just be sure that it's constructive criticism by taking action to improve areas you are weak. Don't dwell on your weaknesses & insecurities as a means of dissing yourself, but rather work to overcome them.

Show some respect.
Abide by the Golden Rule and treat others the way you wish to be treated. Be gracious and express your gratitude for others' generosity. By disrespecting others and treating them like little more than expendable garbage, you disrespect yourself as well. Take responsibility for yourself and recognize that others' sole purpose in life is NOT to serve you.

I recognize that I have ranted about several of these things time and time again, but I continue to be frustrated by how many artists fall into these patterns. I am tired of talking to artists who are only interested in talking about themselves, or who complain incessantly about traits in others that they too express (as if they're somehow exempt from criticism).

Most of all, I'm tired of being treated disrespectfully by so-called-friends who seem to think that I enjoy going out of my way to support and serve them while both of us know that they never intend to reciprocate. Friendship is a two-way street, and I am sick of others seeking my help when they wouldn't otherwise give me the time of day if they don't need something from me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This Week

This week I will be participating in the Alton plein air event in conjunction with the Mississippi Earthtones festival. The plein air event officially starts at noon and participating painters will be painting throughout the park and surrounding region. The event will culminate in an Awards Ceremony at 5 PM.

The Mississippi Earthtones festival will also include an arts & crafts fair, food vendors, environmental awareness outreach programs, live music and a new feature in which sculptors will work on site on collaborative pieces using scrap metal pulled out of the river.

Mississippi Earthtones Plein Air Competition
Riverfront Amphitheater
Alton, IL
Sept. 18, 2010, noon - 5 PM

Don't Be Afraid

It has been brought to my attention again how many people live in fear, so I will revisit the idea of the necessity of fearlessness here.

Artists must learn to be fearless. We cannot let things like rejection, self-exploration, being in the public eye, and opening ourselves up to criticism loom over us. We cannot be controlled by our fears of not being liked or not being accepted. To be professional and to be able and willing to engage in the public arena, we cannot be governed by that - it is just too much baggage.

Art aside, it is of no benefit to live one's life in fear. What are we so afraid of? It bothers me that there is so much fearmongering out there. Don't drink the water! Don't talk to strangers! Don't trust the government! Don't trust your neighbors!... The list goes on and on.

And so much of this is directed at women. I cannot even begin to express my frustrations at receiving many emails from concerned friends and other women warning me about some serial rapist killer practice that they read about online (all but one of which I've found to be false when researching it through Urban Legends). I recognize that there is no real reason for me to get worked up about it, but I think the fearmongering directed at women especially bothers me because it feeds into outdated idealogies that women need to be sheltered & protected or are somehow to blame for evils that befall them by not being cautious & shielded enough. I personally cannot abide by fostering that and try not to perpetuate that cycle.

Am I afraid? Of course I am. Fear is a gut reaction, an instinct that all of us have; we must learn not to be controlled by it. Regarding fearlessness in art, I've noted before how my high school art teacher likened showing one's art to hanging oneself naked on the wall, and I feel that is an appropriate comparison. By nature, showing art is very vulnerable.

But overcoming that fear is necessary to truly thrive as an artist, and it has always been my greatest hope to do so, both for myself and in order to to help others who are more cautious. I feel that I am finally getting there, since my bravery of self-expression is becoming one of the most remarked upon things about my art and about me as an artist. I want to show myself to be brave and fearless as an example for others to come out of their shells and to explore themselves and their art in new ways.

"Only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, September 13, 2010

Never Apologize for Your Art

I have a magnet on my fridge that says, "Never apologize for your art." I have had this magnet since before I graduated from Webster University. It has become a mantra of sorts, and I find strength in the sentiment when I'm taking leaps of faith into the deep end, like when I'm pursuing taboo subjects, creating institutional critique works, offering social and/or political commentary or generally just being "out there".

But so many artists are unsure of themselves and their art. I've written about seeking approval and fear of rejection numerous times before. But still several artists that I know downplay themselves and their work. I continue to find people apologizing for their art. They seek approval, want to be liked, and fear that they and their art aren't good enough.

But making excuses only further justifies and reinforces existing insecurities. It is of no benefit to hide behind the words, "I'm not good enough" because that can become a way of life unto itself. Negativity will foster more negativity. If you're certain that you're not good enough, then take action and instead ask, "What can I do to become good enough?"

If you're insecure about technique, enroll in classes or workshops and practice, practice, practice. If you're insecure about concept, then sketch like crazy, work out your ideas in multifaceted ways and brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm. If you're insecure about your place in the art world, then go to galleries and museums, study other artists and research, research, research...

Most of all, if you're insecure about yourself, don't reinforce that by telling yourself and others that you're not good enough, that you're more of a hobbyist, that you're not an artist... There are plenty of other people out there who will jump on the opportunity to criticize, so it doesn't behoove you to be your own worst critic. Instead work to be someone whom you feel would inspire you. Take action and take responsibility for yourself and say, "I can do it!" and "I will make it happen!"

Action always speaks louder than words, and if you hold up what you want to be and strive to follow that example, you can feel better about yourself for having done something other than hide behind your insecurities. And, while getting out there and making it happen, you'll likely find that you're better than you were giving yourself credit for.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This Week

I have artworks in three shows opening this week as follows:

View of the Missouri Landscape
St. Charles County Arts Council
7443 Village Center Dr.
O' Fallon, MO
Sept. - Oct. 2010
Reception: Thursday, Sept. 9, 4 - 7 PM

Art Journaling Showcase
Northern Arts Council
27 S. Florissant Rd.
Ferguson, MO
Sept. 2010
Reception: Friday, Sept. 10, 7 - 9 PM

In Transit
218 North Main St.
St. Charles, MO
Sept. 2010
Reception: Saturday, Sept. 11, 1 - 4 PM

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Mourners 10

Today I drew from The Mourners exhibit for the last time. It has been a wonderful experience and a great show and I'm glad that I did it. And now I have 20 drawings to show for it too.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Art of the Week: The Mourners 9

Unfortunately The Mourners show is almost over, but I think I'm going to make my goal of 20 drawings from the exhibition. Here are two from today. When I started this endeavor it had been a long time since I'd drawn much, and I can see the improvement now that I'm getting back into it just over the course of these pieces.

This is also my Art of the Week post this week as I haven't had time to be in the studio between hanging two shows, helping some friends, and trying to get a bunch of stuff organized and put away after picking up work from so many places last week.