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Apr 11, 2019
Don’t you just wish you could touch a work of art in a gallery or a museum? There are all of those strokes on the canvas or a shiny metal of a huge sculpture that moves when you breathe on it. Sometimes you can even see fingerprints in the surface of a clay pot. If you could only see if the size of the artist’s thumb matches your own…
BeepBeepBeepBeepBeeeeeeeep…back up, ma’am.
Mark Rothko left specific instructions that he wanted his paintings to be seen up close, 6” away to be exact. Then the Viewer would be enveloped by the massive, deceptively- simple blocks of color. As you stood there almost touching the painting, you would be in another state of mind and wrapped quietly in his blanket of emotion.
When I saw my first Rothko, I could stand that closely. No alarms were installed in the museum then, and security guards spent most of their time asking (no…ordering) Viewers not to touch. I wasn’t THAT close, just trying to guesstimate 6” from my nose to the canvas.
Now, alarms do the work for them, and the guards have to resort to cruising through Facebook to pass the hours.
Next time, you’re in a museum, shock them by asking, “Hey, what’s your favorite piece in this exhibit?” You might be surprised at how they perk up! They know more about that show than anyone realizes and would appreciate the distraction. After all, they’re not guards at Buckingham Palace who would lose their jobs if they smiled.
Nevertheless, I still don’t think they’re going to let you touch a work of art no matter how much you schmooze and fake interest in their artistic opinion. Oh, that’s just a hunch…not that I’ve tried it or anything…
BONUS post: Nah...I'm not an Air-quote Artist Either
There are Artists and then there are air-quote Artists. The “Artists” are those who make a ton of money selling themselves, may or may not be good at creating art and will be remembered in an art anthology somewhere forever.
Then there are the rest of us…no, this isn’t a pity-fest. We’re obviously not the Top 1%, and it’s just the reality of the average working Artist. We make a few thousand selling our work, may or may not be good at creating art and we will probably never end up in an art history book of any kind.
What do we have that air-quote Artists don’t have? We have a big fat inventory of work! For every piece that sells, we probably have five more that didn’t sell and ten more that hit the garbage can.
That’s OK, we say, as we ungratefully take on the role of underdog. We’re having fun. Uh…to an extent, that’s part of it, but the fun is only a biproduct IF in fact you classify our work as “fun” (ooh…air-quote fun!)
It’s more of a reward for busting butt in the studio. It’s a self-pat on the back for taking precious time away from life to make something, anything, that gives us that warmth inside.
Yes, it would be great to share that goo-goo feeling with someone else, but just looking at art is not the same as generating a product. Fingers touching the oozing acrylic as it washes from a brush…scratching a surface with a straightened paper clip to form a line…falling in love with a tool for the sheer joy of ownership.
Silly to some, but hey, we could have worse quirks. If you live with us on a daily basis, give us this precious time to play. We may not be pulling in the big bucks or the fame, but we’re so gosh-gee-whiz happier for it.
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All materials used to create my original paintings are Artist Grade. I use Golden acrylic and Ampersand panels...all Artist Grade. Even with my art students and peers, I am a fanatic about them using archival materials if they plan to sell their work even if it is just to family and friends. A customer should expect their art to last for centuries and mine will.
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