Friday, March 29, 2013
A Better Artist
It was a long personal battle trying to figure whether it was necessary to invest the money, (but I feel like more sacrificial is the time, where I won’t really be able to work on my career directly, it’s probably a short sighted perspective - I need more patience (bc this is indirectly enhancing my career), by the time I get out I’ll be 35 or really close to it) and time to go to into a MFA program. Ultimately, I decided to do it under the banner of “In the end I just want to be a better artist”. As you join a program that term “better artist” starts to get defined in strange ways you never imagined, or maybe have imagined but not in the concrete ways it has been manifesting. What you start to realize is an institution is inherently, by way of history, structure and those involved - who share what they know which happens to be a particular world, is connected to a very particular art world, the high art world of museums and galleries. The paths of all the alums seem pretty well paved, a familiar path of the same galleries, vying for the same old scholarships and awards. In these terms the idea of a better artist starts to be defined first by figuring out what good art is. A lot of times when you’re looking for a what, you have to ask who, because depending on what culture you want to enter, the powerful in that particular group gets to put meaning to terms. So as I learn about this larger, or maybe smaller but more influential, maybe not influential but more powerful, maybe not more powerful but more rich, definitely more rich and probably better well connected into the things that influence mainstream culture. And as I consider the things I value as far as my art, life and career I do want in on this elite, art world. Why? Because that’s where the money is and I do want a sustainable career, earn at least enough so that I could live in a giant warehouse, and I do want to be able to influence the greater mainstream culture. I’d say 80% of me doesn’t want anything to do with that world but there’s still 20% and I’m justifying that by saying I’ll get in, get what I need from it and then get out quick or stay in it use it in unsanctioned ways to achieve things on my agenda and subversively alter it. And because there’s even that remote 20% that wants to be in the elite high art world - “good art” then becomes defined by them (those who run this world), and ultimately “better artist” is further defined by that version of “good art”. Because if the art world were run by a bunch of 3 year olds then what they consider “good art” would certainly be different. So oftern times I feel like in order to get my 20% I need to impress that rich and influential. I know I know they say dont think about it, work freely, but reality is those that are there to objectively help shape my practice have this filter on their eyes and in their words that are colored by The Art World.