Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm an artist...what does that mean? Does it mean anything?

photo © Keri Smith

So I had a very intriguing conversation with my friend Nancy. We were talking about the Getty and going there to do research. Somehow it struck me. Why is it when some people ask me what I do for a living, I think to myself that being an artist isn't really anything of importance? I don't always think that. But sometimes I do. I project that certain others are going to think "oh....she's an "artist". That's ridiculous. " But then when I think of the Getty and the collection of art there - I think " that place is so important. " Why is that place that carries other people's artwork so important - but I am not as important to the world as an artist as those others? "
Of course I know a lot of things I could / should say as to why it's important to be an artist.
I remember Daniel Vosavic on Project Runway being asked why he should win Project Runway.
his answer was something like " Because I have a unique vision. "
That was really all he said. But it was very true. He does and I love his work. It is inspiring to me. I'm sure he doesn't make his work to inspire me. He makes his work because that is who he is. He has to.
I also was so inspired by the art during Obama's campaign. The Hope Poster, And Will.I.Am and his song "YES WE CAN" and the video that went with it. Brought me to tears.
Artist's who inspire me off the top of my head:
Frida Kahlo
Remedios Varo
Leonora Carrington
Francesca Woodman. Why did she kill herself?
Justin Timberlake- yes really. especially when he is on SNL!
James Fee
Dorothea Tanning
Keri Smith
Andrea Scher
Alison Kaplan
Nancy Haselbacher

Oh there are so many - and I didn't even touch on all the photographers yet!
maybe my next post will be dedicated to them!

Anyhow - My point being is that
this belief that takes up space in my head sometimes
Low self esteem is so boring. B.O.R.I.N.G!!!!
I'm over it.
I'm also over all of those people who think that art and making art is something lower on the totem pole then what they do.

I AM AN ARTIST!!! - you got a problem with that???!!!

I remember coming to a realization while on a spiritual power journey in Mexico many years ago.
I realized my artwork is important because:

Because I was given the gift of "seeing".
It's a gift. A treat. A talent.
It's given to me.
I should use it.
Because it's the thing I do well.
And I enjoy it.

I enjoy digging, researching, looking, experiencing, slowing things down to really notice, being in the moment, being involved in a process with my hands, eyes, and heart. All at once. It's an amazing feeling. It's a bit like tennis at some moments. All of your senses have to be aligned and you need hand eye coordination. and you also need to "know" when the right moment is to make a mark, or hit the ball or take the photo.
It's a full contact sport. It's relaxing and meditative. It's exciting. It's working with the unknown. It's a spiritual practice.
It's a way of observing and documenting the events that occur on the inside and the outside of my life. My life.
My observations of the world.
My friend Nancy and I are trying to come up with a different way of saying " I'm an artist " that gets right down to the essense of what that means for us and what our artwork is.
What an assignment that is!

I'd love to hear from any of your artists out there - why you make art. Why it's important to make your art. And what your artwork means to you.

( and yes - I mean photographers, crafters, knitters, cooks, bakers, anything you consider a creative living. )