A: It was my longtime assistant, Barbra Drizin’s, idea and more than I’d care to admit, I was resistant. I said, “I am much too busy to write an ebook!” Barbra went on to explain that we could start with material I had already written for my blog, expand on it, add reproductions of my pastel paintings, etc. With her persuasion, I agreed! Barbra made the initial selections and together we added and revised text, organized the material, and worked out countless details. I asked my friend, Ann Landi, to write a foreword and Barbra found an editor to put everything into Amazon’s ebook format.
Now I am extremely pleased that my ebook FROM PILOT TO PAINTER is available not only on Amazon, but also on iTunes. It is based on my blog and is part memoir, including the loss of my husband on 9/11, insights into my creative practice, and intimate reflections on what it’s like to be an artist living in New York City. The ebook includes material not found on the blog, plus 25+ reproductions of my vibrant pastel-on-sandpaper paintings, a Foreword by Ann Landi, the founder of Vasari21.com and longtime critic for ARTnews, and more.
Comments are welcome!
Q: You had a terrific interview published in the July Issue # 44 of “Art Market.” How did that happen?
A: You know, my business strategy is to get my work onto as many websites as possible in hopes of eventually reaching the right collectors. ArtsRow has not gotten me a sale yet, but wow, what press! The print copy of “Art Market is gorgeous.” I was stunned by the quality of the reproductions, the layout, and the fact that the publisher did not cut any of my 18-page interview!
This is how it happened. I cannot remember if Paula Soito found me or vice versa. Somehow we connected, I sent my work for her ArtsRow website, and shortly after, she asked to interview me for her blog. Paula deeply connected to something in my work or my bio. I may be mistaken, but I do not believe she asks many artists for an interview.
As I do with every interview request, I enthusiastically said, “Yes!” Paula proceeded to ask great questions. I prepared my written answers to her questions as though I were writing an article for “The New York Times,” because once an interview is published, you never know who will read it. And we had no word limits since the interview was being published on her blog, not in print.
So last spring my in-depth interview was published on Paula’s blog. Sometime later she let me know that she had met Dafna Navarro, CEO and Founder of “Art Market,” and was arranging for our interview to be published there. I thought, “Gee, that’s nice,” thinking there’s no way they will publish the whole article. When I received my print copy in the mail I was thrilled! Not only did my interview look great, but it was sandwiched between a piece about an exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum and one at The Whitney Museum of American Art! So, of course, I am sharing it with everyone and encouraging people to purchase a print copy.
Q: All artists go through periods when they wonder what it’s all for. What do you do during times like that?
A: Fortunately, that doesn’t happen very often. I love and enjoy all the varied facets involved in being an artist, even (usually) the business aspects, which are just another puzzle to be solved. I have vivid memories of being stuck in a job that I hated, one I couldn’t immediately leave because I was an officer in the US Navy. Life is so much better as a visual artist!
I appreciate the freedom that comes with being a self-employed artist. The words of Louise Bourgeois often come to mind: “It is a PRIVILEGE to be an artist.”
Still, with very valid reasons, no one ever said that an artist’s life is easy. It is difficult at every phase.
Books offer sustenance, especially ones written by artists who have endured all sorts of terrible hardships beyond anything artists today are likely to experience. I just pick up a favorite book. My Wednesday blog posts, “Pearls from artists,” give some idea of the sorts of inspiration I find. I read the wise words of a fellow artist, then I get back to work. As I quickly become intrigued with the problems at hand in a painting, all doubt usually dissolves.
I try to remember: Artists are extremely fortunate to be doing what we love and what we are meant to do with our short time on earth. What more could a person ask?
Comments are welcome!
Of course, when people said a work of art was interesting, this did not mean that they necessarily liked it – much less that they thought it beautiful. It usually meant no more than that they thought they ought to like it. Or that they liked it, sort of, even though it wasn’t beautiful.
Or they might describe something as interesting to avoid the banality of calling it beautiful. Photography was the art where “the interesting” first triumphed, and early on: the new, photographic way of seeing proposed everything as a potential subject for the camera. The beautiful could not have yielded such a range of subjects; and it soon came to seem uncool to boot as a judgment. Of a photograph of a sunset, a beautiful sunset, anyone with minimal standards of verbal sophistication might well prefer to say, “Yes, the photograph is interesting.”
What is interesting? Mostly, what has not previously been thought beautiful (or good). The sick are interesting, as Nietzsche points out. The wicked, too. To name something as interesting implies challenging old orders of praise; such judgments aspire to be found insolent or at least ingenious. Connoisseurs of “the interesting” – whose antonym is “the boring” – appreciate clash, not harmony. Liberalism is boring, declares Carl Schmitt in The Concept of the Political, written in 1932. (The following year he joined the Nazi Party). A politics conducted according to liberal principles lacks drama, flavor, conflict, while strong autocratic politics – and war – are interesting.
Paolo Dilonardo and Anne Jump, editors, Susan Sontag: At the Same Time
Comments are welcome!