inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #51 of 145: Cupido, Ergo Denego (robertflink) Mon 31 Jul 06 05:25
    
>Do you fight the system? Change your work to fit the mold? Expand
that little piece of your work that already fits the model until it’s
*all* you’re doing? Stop trying to break into the “fine art” market
with your work at all? Or what?<

It may be useful to go into the psychology associated with dedicating
your life to the muse while finding public recognition pleasant.  It
reminds me of the social action advocate that gets voted into office
and finds that he/she eventually becomes part of the system that was
objected to.  

There must be a longing to follow the muse, free from mundane
considerations.  This may be reinforced by the idea we have that this
is how the "great" artists of the past lived.  I tend to doubt that it
was ever that way to any extent. 

Perhaps we are hobbled by insisting on an idealized narrative of the
past.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #52 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Mon 31 Jul 06 08:59
    
Robert, I'm not sure anyone is insisting on the idealized narrative. I
think we're in the difficult phases of developing a new one -
musicians being the most obvious example.  

<It may be useful to go into the psychology associated with dedicating
your life to the muse while finding public recognition pleasant.  It
reminds me of the social action advocate that gets voted into office
and finds that he/she eventually becomes part of the system that was
objected to. >

Isn't this a romantic notion in itself? Why shouldn't an artist expect
to be able to make a living by doing what they enjoy?  Why should an
engineer who enjoys their job be different from an artist?   
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #53 of 145: Debbie, not on the Well (bumbaugh) Mon 31 Jul 06 09:10
    



Ted,

I love how you raise the issue of our priorities in education. As a
parent, it's a struggle to get the arts the attention they deserve
despite study after study that reveals the overall benefit to ALL
learning when the arts have a welcome home in the curriculum. But
sadly, I see the bias against art often coming as much from parents
who see their children as 'unartistic' as from the administrators. I
can't imagine how we alter this trend.

Debbie Zeitman
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #54 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Mon 31 Jul 06 10:50
    
Chris raises a whole bunch of good questions in her Post #50:

<If you choose to fight [the system], who/what would you fight?>

Well now, that’s exactly the problem, isn’t it? When the problem is
system-wide (or perhaps society-wide), confronting it may bring up a
romantic image of David vs. Goliath, but it doesn’t bring up a lot of
successful strategies. 

Personally, my tendency is to not only avoid setting up an adversarial
relationship, but to avoid any relationship at all. What if some large
proportion of the artistic community simply said, “Enough!”?  What if
some large proportion of the artistic community simply didn’t
participate in the gallery game? I’m reminded of that bumper sticker
from the Vietnam era: “What if they gave a war, and nobody came”.  (Of
course that precipitates an obvious next question, but one thing at a
time…) 


<Stop trying to break into the “fine art” market with your work at
all? --- Or perhaps wait until the market has caught up with what one
is doing.>

I doubt that “waiting for the market to catch up” would work – by the
time it caught up, your work would have moved on. On the other hand,
stepping off the MOMA-bound treadmill works perfectly well for some
artists -- David Bayles stepped off twenty years ago and continues to
make ground-breaking art that he has, over time, slowly introduced to
the larger world on his own terms. (His new self-published book, “Notes
on a Shared Landscape”, achieves a truly ground-breaking integration
of images & writings about our relationship with the Western
landscape.)


<Change your work to fit the mold? Expand that little piece of your
work that already fits the model until it’s *all* you’re doing? ---
Does this imply that all work that gets into galleries fits the mold?>

In a sense, the problem is one of self-fulfilling prophecies: work
that gets shown *becomes* the mold for work that gets shown.  Of course
the model for what-gets-shown does evolve and change over time, but
for a variety of reasons -- almost all of them grounded in economics --
the needs of the artist and the content of the artwork don’t
necessarily rank anywhere near the top of the list as driving forces
behind such change.


Chris’ last two points are particularly provocative:

<Is there a way to exploit the tension between one's muse and the
market?>
Now *that's* a yummy question – but I can’t quite get a grip on what
*form* a possible answer would take. 

<Is there a way to sustain one's work, and serve the culture outside
of the marketplace?>
Yes. (What? Now you don’t *want* my answers to be shorter?)
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #55 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Mon 31 Jul 06 10:53
    





<<<Is there a way to sustain one's work, and serve the culture outside
of the marketplace?>
Yes. (What? Now you don’t *want* my answers to be shorter?)>>


Got any juicy examples?
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #56 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Mon 31 Jul 06 11:13
    


<In a sense, the problem is one of self-fulfilling prophecies: work
that gets shown *becomes* the mold for work that gets shown.  Of
course the model for what-gets-shown does evolve and change over time,
but for a variety of reasons -- almost all of them grounded in
economics -- the needs of the artist and the content of the artwork
don’t necessarily rank anywhere near the top of the list as driving
forces behind such change.>


And I think that is part of what I was seeing at PhotoSF.  I think
that is why that Ken Robinson quote hit me ('If you are not prepared to
be wrong, you'll never come up with something original.')
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #57 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Mon 31 Jul 06 13:24
    
<<<Is there a way to sustain one's work, and serve the culture outside
of the marketplace?>>>
<<Yes. (What? Now you don’t *want* my answers to be shorter?)>>
<Got any juicy examples?>

Well, just to put in a shameless plug for the book whose title frames
this Well interview, finding a sustainable and rewarding pathway to
artmaking is the central theme of “The View From The Studio Door”. 

That book opens with a broad overview, looking at how we make sense of
the world in the first place, how we make sense of art, and then --
working its way down into the day-to-day world – asks just where art
fits (or doesn’t fit) within our culture and our educational system and
the art world. 

From there -- and allowing for some meandering side-paths -- the text
increasingly focuses in upon finding strategies that will allow us, as
individual artists, to continue making art in an uncertain world.
Basically, the last chapter asks, “OK then, what exactly can be DONE to
make this a more hospitable world for ar and artists?” 

And while I hate to spoil the ending for you, the answer I’ve found
lies in the creation of thriving communities of artists. Such
communities need not challenge the powers-that-be in some adversarial
fashion – they can simply bypass that traditional framework altogether.


The Well is one such community.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #58 of 145: Tell your piteous heart there's no harm done. (krome) Mon 31 Jul 06 16:23
    
If I might jump in a little late...  I haven't finished the book(I've
been busy writing music and painting and the day job), but to address
the 'does art matter/too much math' thread as well as the current one: 
we are taught math(and some of us intentionally learn more than most,
it was my major before switching to chemistry) because that's how you
make your way in the world.  Or being able to prove that you can do
algebra is how you get the grades to make your way in the world, and we
are, as a species, in every culture IMHO overly concerned with making
money.  Not every culture is as materialistic as modern America, but to
a certain degree they all are.

Art doesn't matter.  Those Dead White Males are remembered primarily
for their paintings of other DWMs and/or their women and children.  Or
religious iconography or other 'useful' artworks.  Durer traveled
around to art and craft shows selling prints and they were bought and
saved because they are 'useful' as articles of the faith that the
bourgois of the time hoped would assure their continued existance.  I
love Rothko and Miro because they(among others) stepped completely away
from this paradigm.  But they lived at a time and place when people
with money wanted to shift paradigms.  IMHO, I persist in abstraction
against the overwhelming surety that I will expire before that happens
again.  I buy Van Gogh calendars so I can be reminded that he died
utterly unknown as well and it is only freak fascination that has
driven his prices so high.

I choose to believe that this is an American problem largely, or at
least a San Francisco one, and I am planning on moving to the UK/Eur in
the next 5 or so years.  I have no gaurantees that it will be better,
but the last time I was in London I noticed that on the weekends
artists hang their works on the northern fencing of Hyde Park, all the
way down from Queensway to almost the Marble Arch.  You won't see
anything like that here.

If I sound irritated with the situation, I am.  It may be largely an
American problem, but it is essentially a human problem: lack of
imagination, no sense of fun and no need for beauty for beautiy's sake
in their lives. 
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #59 of 145: At least they had cool uniforms: (oilers1972) Mon 31 Jul 06 16:52
    
Hello Ted!

My first question was going to be about how you deal with the
economics of being an artist, but therese beat me to it.

That leaves my second:  I myself am a pastelist, poet, and occasional
prose-writer.  For the last couple of years I have felt that I am, in
general, too unintelligent and not nearly well-read enough to go on
being an artist and that I must pull back and spend as much time as
possible reading a variety of books (poetry, literature, and 1960s-70s
history to name a few) in order that I might have an improved
intellectual base from which to work.  I might not use such information
directly in terms of subject matter but I do feel that the more
knowledgable I am about various subjects, the more that will naturally
come out in my work.  In short, I do not want to feel that I am an
artist because I am too stupid to do anything else.

What are your feelings on this issue?
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #60 of 145: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Mon 31 Jul 06 17:45
    
Much slippage, while I was working on the answer to 

“What makes my art MATTER?”

I was just paralyzed by this very question--asked from a slightly
different perspective—in the photography conference here a few days
ago.  Seeing it here again in this context bring up such a morass of
frustrations, desires, and compulsions that I hardly know where to
begin.  

I am a visual artist—always have been, always will be.  The urge to
create runs strongly in my family, mostly from my father, who has
painted, does photography, and now calligraphy is his foremost love. 
My siblings all have a creative outlet—quilting, sewing, photography. 
I probably spent more hours with a pencil in my hand growing up than in
any other single pursuit except sleeping.  And yet today I am a
physician by profession, and rarely draw more than doodles in the
margins of lecture and lab notes.  

What happened to that original all-consuming enthusiasm for making
art?  I do not want to suggest that the world is suffering from a lack
of Mona Lisas I would have created if I’d gone down a different path,
or to make anyone feel guilty that they didn’t make the world safer for
my art, or to imply that I am unhappy with what I do; I just want to
explore how that enthusiasm was channeled into more socially acceptable
paths.

One problem was that my sole subject for most of those years was
horses.  This was approved as an early enthusiasm—when I was three
years old and showed my siblings scribbles of “horsies!”, they were
praised.  When I was in 2nd grade, a kind teacher clipped images of
horses from magazines to share with me, and directed me to horse books
in the school library.  By 7th grade, though, I was expected to have
“grown out of it”.  I was nicknamed “Horse” and teased by other
students and even teachers (gently, but still, teased).  

When I was in high school, I observed the things that my classmates
were producing in the drawing and painting classes—endless cubes and
globes and shadows and designs—very off-putting.  I wanted to do
representational art, already knew a bit about perspective and light
and composition, and didn’t want to take what seemed like a giant step
backwards.  I did get encouragement from a ceramics teacher, who was
enthusiastic about my clay horses, but that wasn’t enough.  Dad (the
engineer and art-hobbyist) reminded me that the cliché of the starving
artist is more than a cliché, and said that art would lose much of its
joy and spontaneity when produced on deadlines and to suit the taste of
those who pay for it.   And I really did enjoy biology and
science—drawn into it by, again, the love of horses, reading about the
genetics of horse breeding and the biology of veterinary medicine.

In college, drawing felt isolating; I’d put all those hours by myelf
in the room working on in a picture, and then what to do with it?  How
to share it?  Friends would say, “Wow, that’s terrific, now do you want
to go see a movie?”  On the other hand, when I made a batch of cookies
or a special soup, it could also be creative, and shared, and the
positive feedback was strong and consistent. I took one figure drawing
class at Berkeley, because I wanted to practice drawing faces and
figures, but the  professor wanted us to produce “art”, and my figures
were criticized as isolated, not integrated into the scene, the whole
picture, the canvas.  It was not a happy experience.  So the drawing
all but stopped.

By the time I was in medical school I would hide my sketches when
people were glancing at my notes.  I was still cooking, however, and I
had discovered photography.  Photographs of family, friends, flowers,
Yosemite—they could be shared with others, and there was no
discouragement about the “wrong” subjects, and slides were cheap.  They
could be social--I could take pictures at parties and on group
outings.  It was even “useful”--I could take ID pictures for the co-op
and document events for family and friends.  But even so, the feeling
of “now what?” recurred.  I’d spend a lot of time shooting landscapes
and macros and be very pleased and want to share the images, but even
best friends would have to be bribed with a good meal before they would
sit through a slideshow of the latest pictures, and the feedback would
mostly be “very nice, and what’s for dessert, and can we go out now?”

Today, with the growth of the web and digital photography, suddenly
it’s possible find lots of people interested in sharing each other’s
images (like the photography group on the WELL), and to get critiques
and feedback without having to bribe them all first.  My pBase site has
just ticked past 100,000 hits in 2 years—I’d probably had less than
10,000 “hits” in 20 years of taking and sharing slides and prints. 
I’ve spent hours critiquing and learning from other photographers on
dpreview’s forums, the WELL, and flickr.  I’m spending more time with
photoshop and less time cooking, and no time drawing or sculpting. 
With the instant feedback of from the LCD of the digital camera, my
images have gotten consistently better.  I looked back at some of my
first film images a few months ago, and noted great consistency of
theme and sensibility—I’ve always wanted to capture these same things,
but now I have the tools to actually do it, more predictably than ever
before.

But then, the question:  why do we do it?  why does it matter? 
Especially for those of us who are not making a living from this, where
a financial drain rather than income.  I found that question
paralyzing, and left it dangling unanswered, because I didn’t know
why—how could I justify this thing that I do?  Why has this become such
a passion that I am pursuing it to the neglect of other interests?  

I can only answer that I cannot *not* do it.  That creative urge has
been channeled from one path—drawing and painting and sculpting
horses—to another—photography, especially macro images of flowers and
insects—by a desire for approval and social conformity and economic
practicalities, but it *will* find an outlet, regardless, because it
must.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #61 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Mon 31 Jul 06 17:52
    
<My first question was going to be about how you deal with the
economics of being an artist, but therese beat me to it.>

Actually, let me post a reality-check addendum to my earlier response
to therese. I typically pursue a whole motley array of art-related
activities simultaneously -- writing, photography, architectural
graphics, digital restoration, teaching, publishing – and it all looks
pretty good on paper. But viewed from a slightly different perspective,
it’s equally true that the income from all my efforts combined comes
to less than what my wife brings home from her steady job as a social
worker. It’s *Frances* who single-handedly keeps our family afloat thru
those periodic downturns that leave my high-flung Renaissance-Man
artmaking visions all sitting there together on the ground like a row
of lead balloons. 

I didn’t have (and didn't *need*) that safety net when I was younger
-- *that's* why the gods gave young people the gift of idealism! But
later on -- maybe about the time the big Four-O rolls around -- if your
ship hasn't come in, that idealism all too easily (alas) turns to
bitterness. I've seen it happen to more friends than I care to admit.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #62 of 145: Tell your piteous heart there's no harm done. (krome) Mon 31 Jul 06 18:01
    
"I can only answer that I cannot *not* do it."

That's it.  I tried not doing it for a couple or few years and I was
going crazy.  It's alot easier to ignore a chemistry degree than to not
paint or write music.  But it is stunning how little this work matters
to anyone.  I have been asked, "Why do you need to sell your stuff?"
and, "So, you're looking for some recognition then?"  Of course! and
Because it caosts money and time to make this stuff that you want me to
give away!  It really is quite stunning this lack of depth.  It's as
if $30 million Klimpts have moved art even farther away from most
people's understanding of what it's for and if it matters.

slip
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #63 of 145: Tell your piteous heart there's no harm done. (krome) Mon 31 Jul 06 18:05
    
Of course that $30M Klimpt was a painting of a rich white woman.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #64 of 145: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Mon 31 Jul 06 18:09
    
Yup.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #65 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Mon 31 Jul 06 20:29
    
Thank you, Diane, for your wonderful long contribution to this
conversation! It would probably take me another three days to put
together a reply that does justice to your offering, so I thought I’b
best get in a quickie reply, if only to say “A Real Posting Soon”….

One thought, though: I wonder sometimes if we’ve adopted entirely the
wrong PREMISE for questioning our own artmaking. It’s entirely natural,
of course, to ask oneself, “Why do I do it?”, but I fear that often it
only occurs to us to ask that when the work is being ignored – and
more specifically, when it appears to have no value in the marketplace.
What if we asked, instead, “Do I really need for my work to be
saleable in order to feel good about making it?” Remove that little
worm of ambition (or guilt) from the equation, and it can free up a LOT
of creative energy.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #66 of 145: Tell your piteous heart there's no harm done. (krome) Mon 31 Jul 06 21:05
    
Well, not to get bogged down here, but it's not so much a question of
'saleability' but of some sense that people appreciate it enough to
want to take it home, to even ask if it is for sale and at what price. 
This doesn't happen very often.  I have had a *few* people ask about
buying things but I have also spent an afternoon with no one expressing
any interest at all.  Even friends(as pointed out above) just don't
seem to know what to say.

I do remember one point in the book where you talk of relying on one's
community/friends.  I must admit that I probably snorted at that.  I
am currently writing some music for string quartet and tympani.  My
tympanist friend has told me he will bring together the quartet to make
a performance happen and I'm happy about that, but he really has no
interest in following the development of the piece.  The only feedback
I get is from my own ears.  Luckily enough I like what I produce and
that is what has kept me doing it for all these years, but if I were to
rely upon some community for feedback or collaboration(such as the
journals created by you and your friends), I would have given up long
ago.  Not because of negative commentary, but utter apathy.

Of course I do occaisionally get emails like this:

"Kevin 

Your photographs and your paintings and your music are ludicrous. 
Your blog is a total waste of time, as well."


(from someone I don't know)

Well at least they looked around enough to find the blog and the email
address.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #67 of 145: Tell your piteous heart there's no harm done. (krome) Mon 31 Jul 06 21:24
    
The above is to say, of course, that I wish I could find some
community of like minded artists, but have been unable to do so so far.
 I fear that days you described above are gone.  I hope not, but fear
so.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #68 of 145: putting your geek boots on (marvy) Tue 1 Aug 06 04:47
    
Am I an artist? I sit here, on the first of the month, terrified yet
compelled to hit the Chase web page and see if I made a living this month.
My main agent, Corbis, direct deposits my royalties at 8 am the first of
every month. And though I, like Ted, cobble together my living from many
different sources, lately stock is the main one. Sometimes it's enough for
the upcoming month, sometimes not so much.

Digital photography has changed my life, enabling me to shoot pictures that
I later sell. Is this art? Kind of, but maybe not. I don't know, I sure
don't think about it as much (or at all) as many of you around here. But I
go out and take pictures every day (which I never did before I went digital)
of pretty much whatever I want, and make a (vague, uncertain) living from
it. But that makes it commercial photography, I suppose. So maybe the shoots
that don't sell are art.

Do you have to call it art to be make it art?
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #69 of 145: therese (therese) Tue 1 Aug 06 06:14
    
I've loved reading the stories some of you have been willing to share
here.

After five years of daily practice in writing and photography, in what
I consider an extended graduate course of my own design, I feel like
I'm just beginning.  Initially, I thought five years would be the
deciding time for me -- giving me enough time to see if I could make
it.  I was applying a business model to my efforts.  The money factors
are real, and they need to be addressed, but it's the work that's
driving me. I'm ready to give it another five years. 

In reading Ted's book, I realize that my community of artists is
relegated to on-line communities.  That may change, though, right now,
I find that I really get lost in the work and time just evaporates. I  
find I guard my time like it's a precious commodity, because it is.

I know I will need to change hats and start thinking in terms of
marketing myself.  I was surprised by my deep reluctance to think of
the photography in terms of dollar value. I've been lucky enough to
sell some photos off the wall, but if I'm to support myself in the
future, I will have to come up with a better plan. Right now, I'm not
too worried about it.  I have a few fallback positions that I'll take 
when necessary, all in an effort to continue doing what I want to do.

Ultimately, it's not about selling my work or getting recognition,
though those are fine goals; it's about having enough resources to buy
time, so that I can spend my days doing the work that I love doing. I
feel very fortunate to have had these past five years; they have gone
by so quickly.  

Ted quoted Annie Dillard in his book, 'The View from the Studio Door.'
I find her inspiring, too.  This quote is from her book, 'The Writing
Life' --

"There is no shortage of good days.  It is good lives that are hard to
come by.  A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough.  The
life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The
life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its
passage sweet. Who would call a day spent reading a good day? But a
life spent reading -- it is a good life."
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #70 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Tue 1 Aug 06 07:06
    

<Ultimately, it's not about selling my work or getting recognition,
though those are fine goals; it's about having enough resources to buy
time, so that I can spend my days doing the work that I love doing.>

I couldn't have said it better.  I'm you with you!

<Am I an artist? ....Do you have to call it art to make it be art?
>

Wow, Chris, reading that kind of blows me away.  While I understand
why and where the questioning comes from, I am also aware of the strong
role you play in the Photography Conference here.  Not just the
technical chops and years of experience, but the sheer joy you take in
the well-made image, whether your own or someone else's.

I still remember the day I opened your website to those magical images
of the local football team.  And then you sealed it by your
description of the day those images were made.  That wasn't commerce -
and that wasn't even glory - those images were made *inspite* of the
odds.

 
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #71 of 145: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Tue 1 Aug 06 08:18
    
>enough resources to buy time

Struck here by that phrase, which has come up over and over in my
recent adventures in job hunting....if you want to do research of any
kind in addition to seeing patients, you first have to write the grants
that will fund your salary to *buy time* from clinical duties.  That's
exactly the way that people put it.

When society doesn't support what you really want to do, you have to
figure out how to buy your time to do it, whether by living cheaply so
your time is cheap, or trying to make your time expensive enough that
you can earn enough in your work time to have enough *not free* time to
do what you want to do, or finding something that it will support and
hoping that is enough.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #72 of 145: Ted Orland (tedorland) Tue 1 Aug 06 10:29
    
I’ve always loved that Oscar Wilde quote: “When bankers get together
for dinner, they discuss art. When artists get together for dinner,
they discuss money.”

The question I finally decided that I needed to confront (about thirty
years ago) was whether I’d rather complain more about not having
enough time, or about not having enough money. That’s when I stepped
off the 9-to5 job circuit. Well, I didn’t have enough money when I was
working fulltime, and I don’t have enough money now – one big
difference, however, is that nowadays I can put everything down and
walk out the door on an instant’s notice whenever life beckons. By my
accounting, artmaking beats banking hands-down!

Since adopting what I think I earlier called a life of economic
levitation, there’s rarely been a time when I could look at the
calendar and know predictably where the next month’s income would
materialize from. And yet, miraculously, it does. Well, usually. The
real test, I suspect, is not whether you can survive a feast & famine
existence, but whether you can live with the uncertainty. 

I’ve also come to understand that it’s usually only when I look back
-- often YEARS after the fact -- that I can see clearly how much I
actually HAVE accomplished. 

On a day-to-day basis, for instance, writing has got to be the most
monumentally unproductive endeavor conceivable! It took about eight
years for David Bayles & me to write “Art & Fear” -- nearly a decade of
work without a penny to show for it (and no assurance during all that
time that there would be any return on the time once it was done). If
we’d been viewing that project as a business venture, it never would’ve
happened. Ditto “The View From The Studio Door”, which has taken
another eight years to see the light of day.

But those two books weren’t money-making projects – all that’s just
cream on top. The true test of your match with any profession --
including art -- lies in whether or not you enjoy the drudgery it
involves. Or more accurately, whether you view the work it involves --
cleaning the brushes, wedging the clay, wrapping stuff for UPS,
revising the text, whatever – as a burden, or simply as part of the
craft. I know we all grouse about many facets of our artmaking, and we
all know we’re under-recognized (and universally underpaid) for what
we’re doing right now today – but then again, how much money would
someone have to offer you in trade for your promise to never make art
again?
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #73 of 145: Andrew Alden (alden) Tue 1 Aug 06 10:40
    
Boy, that's a good question.

I have a writing sideline that makes me happy, including the maintenance and
drudgery, and some money-making contracts that help make the sideline
possible. When I raised my rate on one of the contracts, the client said,
"Are you sure about this? In my experience a rate hike means you want to
drop the client." I replied that no, the rate hike meant that I valued the
client enough to make the relationship sustainable.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #74 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Tue 1 Aug 06 11:12
    


Now THAT'S a provocative response.
  
inkwell.vue.278 : Ted Orland - "The View From The Studio Door"
permalink #75 of 145: Kindness does not require an infrastructure (chrys) Tue 1 Aug 06 14:34
    
“When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss art. When artists
get together for dinner, they discuss money.”

While clever, and sometimes appropriate, I think that quote misses the
point.  It seems to me what creative folks discuss is the need for
*resources*, how to pull together what they need to support the work
they wish to do. And as Diane describes, this doesn't only happen to
painters, sculptors, photographers, filmakers, etc.) 

Even in high tech, whole companies have been formed by disgruntled
employees - feeling stifled and frustrated by the limitations of
whatever corporate entity they worked for - going off and starting
something new.
  

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