Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Further Thoughts on Popularity...

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who left a comment or wrote privately expressing their thoughts on popularity in response to the blog post about the subject. It is indeed a prickly subject.

I think for most creative types, especially ones who live off of their artwork, there is always a dilemma between the business side and the creative side. Most artists and craftsman work alone and are one-man-armies who are forced to wear many hats. The "publicist hat" being one of them. I know many artists who would be happy to be squirreled away to make their work without contact with the outside world. But as my friend Margot Potter says, "You can't eat glitter." Survival is paramount and putting yourself out there is definitely a balancing act.

When I speak about not wanting to be popular, I'm addressing the situation when the balancing act goes wrong – when the hype becomes more important than the work, when being the "IT" person replaces being an artist.

For me, it is more important to be true to yourself, to believe in your work and what you make, and to always be genuine. It's easy to lose sight of this. At one point, I was entrenched in the fine art world and I found myself pandering to the desires of collectors and socialites. It was getting to a ridiculous point where I was pimping out and promoting work that I hadn't even made yet. (Work I have still not made to this day and doubt I ever will.) Sure, there were fancy cocktails, trips to the Hamptons, and expensive commissions... but it was all hollow and I felt gutted. I was compromising myself. Somewhere in the jumble of all that, I realized it was more important to listen to my own voice, my heart, my soul and that through hard work and commitment to my craft things would work out. Things would be okay. I may not be a celebrity artist, but I am happy with who I am. Fame, celebrity, and popularity are ephemeral and fickle. Chasing after them is like grasping at ghosts and illusions – one is bound to fall on their face.

5 comments:

Adventures with Millie Making Jewelry said...

You sound very grounded! The phrase "starving artist" always prevented me from putting my all into my art...maybe I'm a wimp?! I'm inspired by those that stay true to their art! Truth and honesty are foremost in expressing yourself and the results are from the soul...follow your heart and create something fabulous today as you always do!

kvk said...

Wow, I go underground for a few days and come back to a wealth of articulate and insightful postings. You are so wise and aware and gifted. "If an empire is built on matchstick connections, it'll undoubtedly crumble and burn." Deep breaths being taken here.

I love your Lady of the Castle piece, but I'm on a woven thing right now, so no surprise there.

As for the realm of faerie - I'm just discovering the work of Catherynne M Valente. Do you know her work? I'm barely into the first book of The Orphan's Tales and feel like I've come home. Best thing about finding her now - she's had time to write the 2nd volume.

many blessings - kvk

Marsha Neal Studio said...

Andrew, Your insight and point of view are always appreciated... I enjoy how expressive you are with your words, artwork, and sharing bits of your life (love the family and food pics!) with those of us out here in blog land...

There are so many choices to be made in life, and it is difficult to always stay the "true" path of how you think your life should be. I think in today's life, with how fast things happen with technology, that path can sometimes become a bit blurry.

It is good to be able to hold the key to your own life to change your mind and path when you feel you have gotten a bit away from where your heart wants to take you.

I always appreciate your insights to things in your life... Keep the course Andrew!

paula best said...

andrew....your writing and thoughts are inspirational and honest and pure. just like always. i love the way you express thoughts that for me are sometimes hard to put into words. you are my blog hero....still. :-)

Rebecca said...

I think you are right - it is very much a balancing act. If you're not popular enough, it can be hard to continue doing what you love. And that term 'popular' is a very loaded term... Perhaps it is actually a balancing act between pleasing yourself and pleasing others and hoping that there is a path to be found which achieves both with integrity - which is after all what life as a whole is really all about!