After some thought on the historical question of what Art is, I have noticed the ever-increasing distance from identifying the image as Art, and more of a realization of the Artist being the Art.
This is something that an Artist needs to realize. That the image they create will never perfectly reflect the Art. The closest they can come to this is a self-portrait, however, this only shows the outside of the container for the Art.
I was thinking yesterday of the imbalance of the Art world, with just a few Artists making a living while the vast majority never ‘makes it.’ I think the confusion over the difference between the images created by the so-called ‘Master Artist,’ and the highly skilled painter causes breaks in the Art community.
I concluded that the first step was the empowerment of the Artist. Artists have a reputation for never being happy with their Art. Art is supposed to reflect the feelings of the Artist, but being an image or object is doomed to never be a perfect mirror.
So the Artist needs to stop focusing on perfection. The Artist needs to forget the comparisons to other people’s Art. Because the main difference I see between the ‘Master Artist’ and the highly skilled painter is confidence.
This is why I cut off with my view that I wasn’t good enough to sell Art, and started to attempt to sell my Art. If I don’t stand behind my work and say it is good enough… the Art that isn’t for sale never sells. All my life, no matter how much people told me I was talented, I didn’t put out any effort to sell my work. I just didn’t think it was good enough.
I think this is a common problem with Artists. Where we compare ourselves to other Artists and perceive somehow that we are lacking in that magic quality that makes the ‘Master Artist.’ This is encouraged by constructive (or nonconstructive) criticism unless your style happens to match that of the instructor, your work gets used as an example of what shouldn’t be done.
Yet, Art is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder. What makes it Art is such a mixed up and contradictory thing, that chances are the Artist who gets pointed out as using the right technique is having just as much trouble with confidence.
Why? Because perhaps they were not painting what they wanted to paint, but what they felt was good Art. Yet, there could be many different reasons. There is a certain ‘realness’ to the ‘Master Painter’ that is hard to imitate.
A successful Artist is one who follows their passion. They are bold enough to speak their mind or somehow create their mind. Even if they too are a bit confused as to what good Art is, they continue to do Art that makes them feel alive. People are drawn like a moth to that confidence, wishing they were just as bold.
So if successful art needs confidence, and the entire Art education system teaches the Artist to compare and contrast with others. The system often fails to produce people who are confident enough to attempt to sell their work.
When I was in Art School, I was shown a diagram where the majority of people starting out in the Arts are female. As the position transfers from student to teacher, to Professor etc, the majority are males.
I think this is not only because the Art world favors males, but it favors them because males more likely have been raised to have confidence in their work. Or at least they are raised to fake confidence.
So Step One: Is to take the Artist away from being a perfectionist who is never satisfied with their work, by showing them the Art is the Artist. Then to help the Artist see they are good enough to make money from their work.
I got to this point by studying a whole lot of spiritual teachers, who use New Age terms to teach people to be empowered. For the need for confidence and lack thereof isn’t just found in the Art community.
I have tried my best to explain what teachers like Bashar, Bentinho, and Matt Kahn have taught me with a kind of logic those outside of the New Age/Spiritual Community can understand.