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Topic: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Replies: 55   Pages: 4   Last Post: Oct 15, 2003 12:03 AM by: Gabriel Combs

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Lauren DeSteno

Posts: 1,520
From: Minneapolis, MN
Registered: Oct 19, 2001
Re: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Posted: Oct 11, 2003 1:35 AM
  Reply

> > Dialogue. The "lurkers" that follow my posts get
> angry when they can't find my most recent entry
> because they need to scroll through a bunch of
> chitchat ( that's what AOL is for).

Too bad for them. This is not your personal performance space. This is an online forum, content dictated by members, not solely by you.

Want an online performance? Get a blog.


lauren

Lauren DeSteno

Posts: 1,520
From: Minneapolis, MN
Registered: Oct 19, 2001
Re: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Posted: Oct 11, 2003 1:48 AM
  Reply

Okay, back to the task at hand.

Honestly, I have no clue if a "serious artist can earn this sum" solely from the sale of their artworks. I don't think it is such a bad idea for artists to have a "day job" or a related career in the arts.

I think of the many stories that I have heard about musicians and artists in South Asia - stories where the artists literally starve and bang on the door of the master artists and gurus EVERY DAY for YEARS just to start learning their craft. That's some serious dedication. Most of the western artists that I admire - and who are also making a living - have similar stories.

I often feel that in the US we have an attitude that anyone should be able to make whatever kind of art they want, and make a living at it.

And I have to ask, why? Are we owed something? What's the deal here?

-lauren

Michael Fallon

Posts: 201
Registered: Jul 3, 2003
Re: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Posted: Oct 11, 2003 11:26 AM
  Reply

edit

Ray Rolfe

Posts: 3,263
From: Northeast Minneapolis
Registered: Sep 5, 2001
Re: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Posted: Oct 12, 2003 1:01 AM
  Reply

I was an artist, and it was worth it. But i'm not dead yet. So I coined a new term for myself. A "Dreamist". Sure I keep making art, but its the natural artistsy of the dream. Goodbye.

Lauren DeSteno

Posts: 1,520
From: Minneapolis, MN
Registered: Oct 19, 2001
Re: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Posted: Oct 12, 2003 1:14 AM
  Reply

> Lauren, first off, I don't recall dismissing your art
> as not worth considering. Perhaps you can remind me
> of when I did this...

I debated about posting this, and how much, but I don't have your current email to resolve this question offline. My apologies for off-topic posting again.

"The mnartists.org community isn't prepared to accept the viewpoints of a critic who is interested in posting on the site (or I'm not prepared to deal with the flak I get from my postings). And I suspect you would not be prepared to accept what I'd have to say about your work."

I hadn't read the email in awhile so I mis-paraphrased a bit, but I didn't mean to misrepresent you.


> Most of my
> critical writing then ruminates on what the work says
> to me. The problem with looking at most student work,
> of course, is students are generally learning the
> formal properties and have not yet thought much about
> what they want to say.

True, true.

> But
> likely in a few years it'll be a different story...

Good, I'm glad you think so.

> Ok, here's where I bring it back around. I'm just one
> vote in matters of art, as I mentioned above--though
> a rather well-informed vote. Each person who looks at
> an artwork has a vote, and that's it, one vote. The
> trick for being a successful artist is to make art
> that compels a lot of people to vote for it. It's
> pure politics, a popularity contest--and yes, it's
> not fair unless you happen to make art that a lot of
> people like and want to vote for by buying it. And as
> in politics, or in any endeavor, there's a lot of
> competition out there demanding the votes of a small
> audience.

At first read, I really liked this explanation, but I think it fails to mention that not *everyone has an economic vote when it comes to art - we can all say we like a work, but we cannot all afford to purchase a work.

This is especially ironic in light of the fact that (in your own words, and I agree with them)


> our
> culture romanticizes the artist's life even at the
> same time as it ignores the fact that working artists
> have an impossible task--to make a living. The hard
> fact is it's not easy to make it as an
> artist--particularly a fine artists seeking to live
> off the sales of his/her work.

So, how can artists that can barely make a living afford to support works of art? Where - and how - do they get their vote?

I would also say that foundations that support artists have multiple votes, or very damn big votes, because they can commission works (not just buy a finished product) and can support multiple organizations, which in turn support multiple artists. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing, but it does throw off your "one person, one vote" idea. I haven't really solidified this argument yet, though - please feel free to pick it apart and give your opinion. (That goes for everyone here, too, not just MF.)

> But here's the thing, no matter what happens to
> you the art will go on. People will never stop making
> it, no matter if you give up or become successful or
> become embittered, so it comes down to your own
> personal choices. Ask yourself, am I an artist? If
> yes, then just accept it and do what it takes to keep
> it happening and stop worrying so much. If you can
> say, at the end of your life, I was an artist and it
> was worth it, then that's enough.

This is a nice statement, too, and from a level of personal responsibility/personal choice, I agree. I do believe in dedication and tenacity; I do believe they will be rewarded, and I also believe that amazing works of art (and even works solely for the pleasure of the artist) will exist despite a lack of economic reward. However, I cannot ignore the fact that a very talented person may "give up" art making or become embittered because certain other people have "access" to organizations and institutions that they will not have.

Personal choice? Yes. Systematic institutional injustices? Yes again.

lauren

Ray Rolfe

Posts: 3,263
From: Northeast Minneapolis
Registered: Sep 5, 2001
Re: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Posted: Oct 12, 2003 2:49 AM
  Reply
old time sears.gif (10.6 K)
PT Sears.jpg (58.5 K)

OK OK OK PULL YOURSELVES TOGETHER PEOPLE. Amazing work of art alert @ now!
We don't have time for petty conflict. Some thing special can happen right this moment but only if you want it and work for it. Even the smallest motion will do.

Ray Rolfe

Posts: 3,263
From: Northeast Minneapolis
Registered: Sep 5, 2001
Re: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Posted: Oct 12, 2003 5:28 AM
  Reply

50 to 100 million dollars. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Yes, but not just one serious artist. ALL OF THEM TOGETHER.

Michael Fallon

Posts: 201
Registered: Jul 3, 2003
Re: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Posted: Oct 12, 2003 9:06 AM
  Reply

edit

Lauren DeSteno

Posts: 1,520
From: Minneapolis, MN
Registered: Oct 19, 2001
Re: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Posted: Oct 13, 2003 6:44 AM
  Reply

> Thank you for setting the record straight. This is an
> example of how artists are generally prepared to take
> whatever a critic says in a negative way.

Seriously, though, "And I suspect you would not be prepared to accept what I'd have to say about your work." How the heck else am I supposed to take that? Sounds to me like you think I'm not ready to have it torn apart, or be told that it's still just student work. Anyway...


> People can "vote" on an artwork without purchasing
> it.

This wasn't immediately clear in your scenario - you said:

> The
> trick for being a successful artist is to make art
> that compels a lot of people to vote for it. It's
> pure politics, a popularity contest--and yes, it's
> not fair unless you happen to make art that a lot of
> people like and want to vote for by buying it.



> Institutions are made up of individuals. An
> institution like the MAEP is made up of highly
> competent and dedicated individuals.

Absolutely. I agree with you, and I'm not picking on the MAEP here. However, since you continue to bring up the MAEP, I will use them as an example. I do think that we need to acknowlege that votes from certain people, groups of people, or organizations can have different values. The vote or collective votes of the MAEP panel carry more weight than, for example, a group of random folks waiting at a bus stop. This is in part because we vote for this panel to represent our vote and hold them responsible for giving "us" quality programming.

The MAEP panel has authority and agency; the random folks at the bus stop do not.

So, if the bus stop folks like me, yay for me. If the MAEP folks like me, chances are I get a nifty show at the MIA, a nice line on my resume, and a chance to make a living at this thing called art.

I certainly don't think that the MAEP is rigged or stacked against anyone - but we have to recognize that their "vote", in everyday terms and eventually economic terms, holds power.

So, to bring this back around to the thread topic: Yes, everyone has a vote, but to make a living you need the votes from folks with power, $, agency, and authority.

lauren

Ray Rolfe

Posts: 3,263
From: Northeast Minneapolis
Registered: Sep 5, 2001
Re: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Posted: Oct 14, 2003 1:39 AM
  Reply

I vote for you...

Gabriel Combs

Posts: 1,497
Registered: Jun 16, 2002
Re: 2. Do you think a serious artist can earn this sum?
Posted: Oct 15, 2003 12:03 AM
  Reply

Many
Artists
Strive

Though
Starving
Frequently

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