Things are getting more and more eccentric at Casa de la Swain. Changing styles in my textile work, falling in love again with painting and photography...and then there is the ever illusive quest for continuing creativity through working with Eric Maisel. Still on the road teaching, posting now at the Ragged Cloth Cafe and taking the pledge to keep handmaiden up to date.

Monday, September 26, 2005

An Artist Responsibility

After the goofy hair post, which I am sure you enjoyed immensley, I am back to the philosophy session. Deb at RSR just don't read any further, I don't want you in the floor in a fetal position. So here's the deal, it all started when Nicky posted a marvelous, thoughtful post on authenticity. If you haven''t had a chance to read her post, get there immediately.

To summarize, an artist must remain true to their own vision and voice; regardless of what the market-driven world is pushing us to do. In light of her thoughts, I decided to list a few things that strike me as an artist responsibility. Take it for what it's worth....kevlar vest back from the cleaners.

An artist is responsible:
To bring their own voice, loud and clear to their work
To only themselves and not the viewers
To constantly play, explore and observe
To quit worrying about what other people will think of their work
To give up the idea of perfection...the nemisis of creativity
To follow the work where it leads them, not force the work into a piegon hole
To devote as much time as possible to their art
To evoke some response from the viewer whether good or bad
To stop making art in your head and start making art in the world
To remove from your life people who don't support you in your passion
To remove from your life people who suck you dry of your creativity for their own use
To be passionate, dedicated and slightly obsessive about your need to create

Add comments as they come to you...thanks Nicky for waking us up to how important being authentic really is.


Debra said...

Ah, Gabrielle...

In another life, I would cross-stitch this for you to hang in your studio...

Instead I'm going to print it out and hang it in MINE.

Micki said...

Hey Debra,
I was thinking the same Thing.

Gabrielle, you always know how to put things just right.

Pat's Place said...

I don't believe it's our responsibility to evoke a response in others... We can merely offer our version of our truth. What happens after that is totally out of our control and certainly NOT our responsibility as to what or even IF the viewer gets anything out of it. I'm not even convinced it's our responsibility to SHOW our art to anyone else. But I do believe it IS our responsibility to CREATE.
Just my opinion...

gabrielle said...
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Deb R said...

I only end up in a fetal position if I have to talk about the philosophy of making art myself. Hearing (or reading) other people talk about it can sometimes be interesting. :-)

I agree with absolutely everything you said on your list. Every item. But I've just never felt the need to quantify it like that. Being an artist isn't what I do, it's who I am.

For me it's enough to say "I do what I do because I have to. Because I have something inside that needs to come out and be expressed, and this is how I choose to do that. If it wasn't this, it would be something else, because I can't not create."

It's great when other people "get it", but I'd do the work even if they didn't. I always have. To me, that's so fundamental I find it almost baffling to discuss it. Like asking, "why do you eat?"; "why do you laugh?"; "why do you put on a coat when you're cold?".

I'm afraid my basic, very non-intellectual gut response to that would be a blank look and the thought "well, duh!". I feel exactly the same way if someone asks "why do you make art?". Seriously.

No flames from anyone, please! I'm not trying to stifle the discussion. I admire people who truly enjoy looking that deeply into their motivations. I'm just not one of them. So I hope you'll all understand when I wander away from the discussion to go scribble in the corner with my crayons. :-)

Teri said...

Hi Gabrielle,
I agree with everything that you said. I try not to take myself too seriously as far as art is concerned. I don't think I could go into making anything with the thought that I might sell it. I make what I make to please myself and myself only. I do tend to be a perfectionist, but it just slows me down, so I am trying to get over myself. I do spend a lot of time thinking and planning what I am going to do..the most fun I ever had with a quilt was one that I fused and had no plan in place before I started it.. you'd think I would take something away from that experience. I am a work in progress.

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