Blog Archives

Pearls from artists* # 433

Chatting with Jenny Holzer.  It looks like she did not want her picture taken, but she was actually waiving. VIGIL: Jenny Holzer and @creativetime

Chatting with Jenny Holzer.  It looks like she did not want her picture taken, but she was actually waiving.

*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

…Two positions exist, the artistic and the commercial.  Between these two an abiding tension persists.  The eighteenth-century American painter Gilbert Stuart complained, “What a business is that of portrait painter.  He is brought a potato and is expected to paint a peach.”  The artist learns that the public wants peaches, not potatoes.  You can paint potatoes if you like, write potatoes, dance potatoes, and compose potatoes, you can with great and valiant effort communicate with some other potato-eaters and peach-eaters.  In so doing you contribute to the world’s reservoir of truth and beauty.  But if you won’t give the public peaches, you won’t be paid much.

Repeatedly artists take the heroic potato position.  They want their work to be good, honest, powerful – and only then successful.  They want their work to be alive, not contrived and formulaic.  As the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch put it:  “No longer shall I paint interiors, and people reading, and women knitting.  I shall paint living people, who breathe and feel and suffer and love.”

The artist is interested in the present and has little desire to repeat old, albeit successful formulas.  As the painter Jenny Holzer put it, “I could do a pretty good third generation-stripe painting, but so what? 

The unexpected result of the artist’s determination to do his [sic] own best art is that he is put in an adversarial relationship with the public.  In that adversarial position he comes to feel rather irrational for what rational person would do work that’s not wanted? 

…Serious work not only doesn’t sell well, it’s also judged by different standards.  If the artist writes an imperfect but commercial novel it is likely to be published and sold.  If his screenplay is imperfect but commercial enough it may be produced.  If it is imperfect and also uncommercial it will not be produced.  If his painting is imperfect but friendly and familiar it may sell well.  If it is imperfect and also new and difficult, it may not sell for decades, if ever.

Ironically enough, the artist attempting serious work must also attain the very highest level of distinction possible.  He must produce Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov but not also The Insulted and Injured or A Raw Youth, two of Dostoevsky’s nearly unknown novels.  He is given precious little space in this regard.      

I daresay, this last is why I devote my life to creating the most unique, technically advanced pastel paintings anyone will see!

Eric Maisel, A Life in the Arts:  Practical Guidance and Inspiration for Creative and Performing Artists

Comments are welcome!

Top Instagram Posts for 2019

New Year’s Day is almost here so I decided to depart from the usual.  Here are my most popular images posted on Instagram in 2019.  

6E2143CA-2CB1-440C-8F38-D7D76DB72883

With Jenny Holzer – she’s waiving hello – at Rockefeller Center

C7E15454-0E3D-4319-BC3F-2E3E0C7E7751

Photo: Izzy Nova

724E32A8-5B9D-41C5-9D0F-C52C9DE934C4

 

BC8AC66D-732B-40E8-8467-1E6F80C7AFFA

Photo: Izzy Nova

 

0C660AFA-DCF7-4344-AFA6-B08E016A217E

Photo: Izzy Nova

B3F70DA8-383A-4C52-BEEA-7F60C6018094

 

F0EC4224-F131-49C2-9A34-C90CB01E83A3

More than 49,000 now!

Please consider following my work at https://Instagram.com/barbararachko_artist.

Comments are welcome!

%d bloggers like this: