cataloging myself

The problem with having a library degree on top of an art degree is that I am constantly wanting to put things into categories and neat piles. This can get frustrating when you are trying to do it to yourself and your own work. What shows should I apply to? Who is my market? Where is the best place to sell my work?

It can lead to basically comparing yourself to everyone else - a dangerous road to go down. and throw in a heavy dose of art school indoctrination and you can find yourself saying, what's the point? it's all been done, hasn't it?

So I was really energized reading a piece of writing by one of the professors I work with (it's in this month's Professional Artist magazine, article by Matt Daub). The overall theme is about making your mark in the art world, but he had some good insight on the different ways that it can be done.  While his approach was toward fine art making, I can see a definite parallel to anyone making anything.

Here's a summary of his nice neat breakdown of some the basics in this thought process ... (to note, I'm not sure if the visuals are exactly the best representation, just the first that came to mind and most easily recognized)

"The most highly regarded artists are those who invent something never seen before, 
a new way for us to encounter our world and experience art ..."
    Jackson Pollock

    "then there are artists who break no new ground but still possess a singularly keen vision with enough insight and creativity to distinguish them from others working in the same fashion ..."

    Van Gogh

    "some artists are more pedestrian, yet through their discipline, diligence and 
    persistence have left behind a body of work that we cannot ignore..."

      "others may be recognized primarily for their stunning virtuosity of craft ..."
        Leonardo Da Vinci

        "some lack craftsmanship but are refreshingly original in concept ..." 

          "and finally, some have no formal training but create obsessively with a 
          point of view so unexpected we have to take notice..."
            Adolf Wolfli

            While I'm not sure if I feel like I fit into any one of these groups precisely, defining these little groups is somehow reassuring. The world of marketing products is a whole different animal, but we're all trying to make something original and worthwhile.

            So what do you think? too confining? too conservative?  what's the point of labels anyway?! just make the work already!


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            wayne miller said...

            Interesting and thoughtful post Karen. I often thought about the "already done" thing way back in college days. Now it's not that its all been done but that Everyone is an artist! Or thinks they are. Which is much more democratic yet much more difficult to measure as to any sort of quality. And then there's the relentless self-promo of this age! It's all so tiring in a way.

            DPLblog said...

            Multiple people have told me that it takes 5-10 years to forget everything you learned in art school and finally become an artist. I feel like I'm just starting that wave now, ha ha. It's all about being honest.