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Are You Attached to Your Art?

May 5, 2009

got-art

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Let me preface these thoughts by telling you that this isn’t a new train of thought. I was asked this question in slightly different wording by Seth Apter in his The Pulse artist survey last year. The survey of 94 artists on a range of questions was showcased in his blog over the next few weeks and later became a zine.

I ordered this zine from Seth and it stays on top of any reading material that I might happen to be interested in at the time, so that I can refer to it when I need inspiration, or just need to feel I’m not so alone as an artist in my aspirations, struggles, inspirations, habits, and goals. It’s printed no-frills style on plain paper in courier font with no illustrations (but a great cover!)  This turns out to be no drawback whatsover, because it is packed with pages and pages of wonderful reading and links to many exciting artists’ blogs and websites. I highly recommend it. And Seth’s blog — what a wealth of inspiration.

Now for the question: Are you attached to your art? Seth worded it a little differently. He asked “Can you Part with Your Art?”

The answers were as varied as the artists who contributed. I was reading through that section just this morning, and had a realization that relates to my own work and resonates for a few others, I believe. Several artists likened their work to their children. I’ve heard this before, from other artists when we are discussing this subject.

My gut response to the question is that of course I can part with my art, and that it’s not at all like parting with my children. My ease with letting it go is one way I can get it out into the world to enrich the lives of others, to make a little money for myself so that I can keep doing my art, and to make room for more creating.

But this morning I had to think of it on another level. I realized my art is a little bit analogous to having children and watching them grow, and then proudly releasing them out into the world, to make it a better place.

Because of my current situation of having such a huge inventory of large, overgrown children paintings that have come back home with no place else to go right now, I feel like the parent who can’t let go, and whose children are overstaying their welcome. These paintings need to grow up and get out of here. Somewhere, anywhere!

I’d like to know how you feel about attachment to your art.

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2009 8:16 am

    I still have a couple of paintings I made when I was like 6 or 7 years old! So my answer is a resounding yes.

  2. May 5, 2009 8:18 am

    I have one of yours from that era. I’m definitely attached to that!

  3. May 5, 2009 8:54 am

    I was once told that if you can’t let go of a painting …then you haven’t painted enough! I work in originals only.I must paint ..no prints ..so once they are sold ..they are gone.I believe that my creativity is ongoing not just a one time inspiration …gotta go paint!

  4. May 5, 2009 9:12 am

    I do have some pieces that have hung on my walls for years. There are 3 or 4 that I will not part with. As far as the rest, including those that have rested in drawers in my studio, I do feel it is their time to go out into the world. I feel I need room to keep creating. The weight of so many pieces is starting to wear me out.

    Now, as far as your recent postings go, if you can’t sell them, perhaps you can eat them. They do look quite tasty.

    • May 5, 2009 9:23 am

      I think that if we work enough, the time eventually comes when we need to free up space (physical and psychic) to be able to create more.

      Kim, I love your quilt art. You could do tops forever and just roll them until you needed to finish them. Hah! I should talk. That would never work for me. I’m not good at revisiting things.

  5. May 5, 2009 9:31 am

    There are some pieces that I might be sad about them leaving – but for the right price I’d get over it.

    I do have a few that simply are not for sale – because I am attached, but mostly I make and hope the work finds it’s way out into the world.

  6. May 5, 2009 9:52 am

    Like Lisa Call, I can let go of certain paintings for the right price and feel good about it. But, right now there are a few paintings in my home that are definitely NOT for sale.

    Currently, I’ve been trying to get to my storage locker because I do have lots of large works there that need to find it’s way somewhere…whether to sell, rent or paint over? I guess leaving them there is somehow holding onto them. But, lately because I’m creating new bodies of work and expanding, I know that those older works need to find a new place.

    It’s great timing M for this posting as I’ve been wondering if other artists REALLY have 100’s paintings stored away somewhere….

    The evolution of my work is important and holding on to the earlier works are really interesting to me….and,,,there’s that crazy fantasy that when i’m in my 80’s there’s gonna be this retrospective at the MOMA!!!! LOL! and then, I’ll call myself Sassy Goldman!!!

    We shall see what happens with letting go of my older paintings. I do resonate strongly with letting them go out into the world and it is a great compliment when a work is sold….

    • May 5, 2009 10:03 am

      Cyndy, I can honestly say that I don’t have any that aren’t for sale. But as long as they are here with me they make me smile. I guess eventually I’ll retire a few to my personal collection for that big retrospective!! 🙂

      But the rest will have to be dealt with eventually. Like you, I have a lot of older works that are losing their relevance to my current work. So that’s a dilemma. Rolling is a good way to store them, but that’s not an option for your encaustics.

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