Paintings by Dianne Mize

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Birds of a Feather

I've always had trouble getting along with artists who accept and adopt status quo.  Seems we humans have a habit of latching onto whatever cultural attitude is currently in fashion without pausing to question whether that attitude has anything at all to do with who we are and what we really believe.

I remember in the early eighties a new artist taking residence in our community brought with him the attitude that his choice of subject depended upon what people liked.  To him, it was a waste of time and materials to choose subjects that might not delight his viewers or that didn't have some guaranteed response reaction.  If a painting weren't apt to sell, then to this artist it was worthless.

He and I had several lockings-of-the-horns about this notion.  I contended that we artists owe it to ourselves to respond to subjects that speak to us, that whether or not the resulting painting sells is insignificant.  He argued that an artist has to make a living, that if he chose my way, he might as well go back to the corporate world and be a Sunday painter.  I argued that as artists we risk stifling any chance for growth if we allow our intention to be anything other than our own inner drive.  He argued that I was being unrealistic, pedantic and snobbish

And on the argument went for years to follow.  He went his way.  I went mine.

It's still raining in north Georgia.  Hope you have a happy Tuesday.


Gaye Sekula said...

I see his point but have a hard time respecting it. There may be a happy medium there somewhere but I am in total agreement with you.

Sharon Wright said...

Have to agree with you, Dianne. I have been the way of 'painting to sell' and found it soul destroying. Now, I paint what I have to paint, very happily, my only concession being to pick paintings for exhibition that I think are most likely to appeal to others. They don't, though!