Wednesday, February 25, 2009


So I think that I want to focus more on discussion on the Tiger Strikes Asteroid blog rather than it being a diary of things we've seen, so I will be posting more about different topics that relate to artists rather than posting music or show reviews. If you want to see posts about that, you can go to my old blog, Watching Paint Dry.

I've been reading Letters to a Young Artist, and there is a part of Gregory Amenoff's letter that I've been thinking about:

"...LET YOUR STUDIO BE YOUR SANCTUARY... When your work leaves your studio and moves into the world, its character changes. One doesn't need to consult a Marxist to understand that art is a luxury commodity. You learn to live with this fact (and find ways of justifying it), but in the studio, things are different... If the marketplace finds its way (siritually) into that studio you have abdicated your essential power. Keep your studio clear from concerns of the marketplace. You might have to dance with the wolves but you can still keep them near the door."

Now, granted there is no marketplace for my work, but i still find myself stressing out about art-career related things while I'm working. I don't paint differently or anything, but sometimes it immobilizes me, and often times it makes me grumpy and less likely to enjoy working, mumbling something about getting ready for my retrospective at my U-haul storage space.

I realize that a lot of artists are perfectly happy to just create and could care less if they show in New York, LA, Berlin, whatever, but that is a choice that they make. I've chosen to try to have a "career" in this horrible game.

What do you guys think? Do you have strategies for clearing your mind of all the stress-clutter that comes with trying to be an Artist?


Caroline said...

I know the feeling. I try to push those thoughts out of my head, how I don't know. When it comes down to it, I think we have to be content to just make the work, regardless if anyone ever sees it... (stop!!!!) ... I mean, knowing that we're doing what we have to do. Career stuff is stupid and elusive anyway. If you keep going something good will happen.

Alex Paik said...

I think I'm too cynical because I really don't believe that if I "keep going something good will happen." To a certain extent I have to push my work as far as I can and only focus on that in the studio, but at the same time, there are at least 100 artists doing something similar to me and making similar quality work. And I wonder what my edge is and if I'm doing enough to push that edge.

For what it's worth, I think us starting the gallery is a great start :)

gierschickwork said...

One of the worst things for me to do in any part of my life, and especially in my art work, is to watch my heels to see who's keeping up with me or who might be getting ahead of me. That is when they will, if no other time. And I find the most important person to push the edge is me. So, I keep going, doing my best to (1) perfect my craft and discipline and (2) know my competition. Not worry about my competition, but know them. The second one is what I'm worst at, (partially because my tendency is to not give a darn) but I've gotten better. And I still think it's important. It reminds me a bit of my dad's traditional eschatological language of knowing the times rather than strictly interpreting them.
Additionally, I've found I do however much career stuff I can handle, and farm out the rest. There are so many other better managers than me. Good discussion.

Alex Paik said...

"One of the worst things for me to do in any part of my life, and especially in my art work, is to watch my heels to see who's keeping up with me or who might be getting ahead of me."

Tim -- I do this far too often. It's so easy and damaging for me to compare myself with others or even compare myself with where I think I should be.

Lauren Whearty said...

I think that the most important thing to realize is that art is more than a mere commodity. People besides artists believe in it. Everyone has to sell their work and themselves in order to survive. I believe that if you are passionate about your work, and that you do believe in progress and social change through art, you will have sanctuary in your studio and out. There will always be markets and trends, these things are also in flux.

"A few minutes earlier, Jose had been talking about the incongruity between the day’s financial news and the auction frenzy, and ventured an interpretation: “When the empires fall — Roman, Greek — all that is left is the art.” "