A: If I may speak in the most general terms, several qualities come to mind that, for me, mark real artistic achievement:
- firm artistic control that allows the artist to create works that simultaneously demonstrate formal coherence while responding to inner necessity
- the creation of new forms and techniques that are adapted to expressing the artist’s highly personal vision
- an authentic and balanced fusion of form, method, and idea
- using material from one’s own idiosyncratic experiences and subtly transforming it in a personal inimitable way during the creative process
- the meaning of the thing created is rigorously subordinated to its design, which once established, generates its own internal principles of harmony and coherence
Comments are welcome!
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A: What to charge for my work is a complex question. The prices of my pastel paintings take into account many tangible and intangible factors. Here are a few:
My thirty-year-long exhibition history.
The costs of maintaining a studio in New York. My overhead goes up annually, but I do not raise prices every year to offset these expenses.
The countless hours of labor, cost of art materials, framing, photography, transportation, foreign travel, etc. that go into creating a painting.
Costs for marketing, social media, advertising, website design and upkeep, ongoing education, etc.
Somewhat less quantifiable factors such as my reputation as an artist, the real demand for my work, goodwill, the fact that I work full-time as a professional artist, etc.
Comments are welcome!
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* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
The first steps of a creative act are like groping in the dark: random and chaotic, feverish, and fearful, a lot of busy-ness with no apparent or definable end in sight. There is nothing yet to research. For me, these moments are not pretty. I look like a desperate woman, tortured by the simple message thumping away in my head: “You need an idea.” It’s not enough for me to walk into a studio and start dancing, hoping that something good will come of my aimless cavorting on the floor. Creativity doesn’t generally work that way for me. (The rare times when it has stand out like April blizzards). You can’t just dance or paint or write or sculpt. Those are just verbs. You need a tangible idea to get you going. The idea, however miniscule, is what turns the verb into a noun – paint into painting, sculpt into sculpture, write into writing, dance into a dance.
… I’m often asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” This happens to anyone who is willing to stand in front of an audience and talk about his or her work. The short answer is: everywhere. It’s like asking, “Where do you find the air you breathe?” Ideas are all around you.
I hesitate to wax eloquent about the omnipresence of ideas and how everything we need to make something out of nothing – tell a story, design a building, hum a melody – already resides within us in our experience, memories, taste, judgment, critical demeanor, humanity, purpose, and humor. I hesitate because it is so blindingly obvious. If I’m going to be a cheerleader for the creative urge, let it be for something other than the oft-repeated notion that ideas are everywhere.
What people are really asking, I suppose, is not, “Where do you get your ideas?” but “How do you get them?”
To answer that, you first have to appreciate what an idea is.
Ideas take many forms. There are good ideas and bad ideas. Big ideas and little ideas.
A good idea is one that turns you on rather than shuts you off. It keeps generating more ides and they improve one another. A bad idea closes doors instead of opening them. It’s confining and restrictive. The line between good and bad ideas is very thin. A bad idea in the hands of the right person can easily be tweaked into a good idea.
Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life: A Practical Guide
Comments are welcome.
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