I Am Not Going to Try to Sell You a Painting

in blurtart •  2 months ago 

purple.jpg

Nothing New Here Besides Maybe Those Purple Bags 2022. Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24" (Sold yesterday morning to my chagrin.)

Art is rapidly confusing me. I don’t know where I am or where I’m going with this modern day painting repetition. Is it a pastime for the delusional dreamer, outcast, rank failure of the social experiment? I can’t even tell if I’m a creative person any more, or if I ever was. And does it matter? Am I trying to impress, entertain, self-elevate? This morning I awoke with the desire to walk west with a backpack and good sneakers. But then I immediately thought about my age and bones, and if I’d get too dizzy on the road after my heart got pumping. And then my mind jumped to the mountains and a rustic cabin without any people around. But that will cost money. Lots of money. What could I do to make lots of money? I am useless to the real world except as day laborer, or ticket-taker, elevator man, very short order cook… My wife is “working” in an office in the town, as I am “working”, like any person is who is moving their fingers and toes and circulating blood. However, like billions of other human beings crummying up the planet, her work movements make money. She’s invested in the system, and it pans out, financially, although there are many trade-offs. For one, she’s locked down geographically, indoors, in perpetuity, while the brilliant spring sunshine greening the trees in the breeze is relegated to evenings and weekends—but only if clouds play nice. There is no walking west, nor a mountain cabin in our future.

Unless I sell a painting for an exorbitant sum. Then hope sneaks its little weasel nose in on reality, and I rise to levels of self-aggrandizement that only the best delusional fools of history have achieved.

You might already know how I price my work. There’s an equation I use that I think is fair and could be universal if we exterminated the billionaires.

Price = [W(wage • hours worked)] + M(materials + overhead) + Element “X” (W + M)

But I rarely follow it. Especially when it hangs in a Plebian gallery, all nicely framed and ready to share the mark-up spoils with the business owner—all for the generous rental space of painted wallboard so that equally confused passersby can view and judge and never buy, subjectively.

I give away paintings, or ask for a silver dollar, or bow my head way low like a beggar while taking money from a nice person who thought my equation a fair assessment of work by a living artist. I literally feel a rush of shame overcome me whenever I make the money exchange. That’s just not right. My gut instinct swears that art for sale ain’t art worth selling.

Oh and then there are those cheeky self-promoting painters who sell prints for $500 to middle class home decorators. That self-assurance makes my head spin, especially if the scam works for them. “How do they let their minds get away with it?” If that’s “the business”, then I want no part. But then I’m not so delicate either. You pay me $500 for something I made, and I’ll throw an old-fashioned ditch digging into the bargain. I like a good bit of pain with my creative work.

That’s the artist as masochist, and a big part of why I am leaving the world behind. More on this in a bit.

Art is not for sale, but we make it so because kings of old and billionaires of now have turned it into a horse race hobby amongst themselves, buying and selling to see who’s house is best. Museums and “high end” city galleries play along, and the peasant painters continue to embarrass themselves pretending their time will come. Yet we all know that for every single artist breakthrough, there are 10,000 left begging. Which, to me, means that the system is wildly dysfunctional. Not even a system, really. Might as well have the artist collect grass clippings and try to sell clumps at a Major League baseball game. One lucky vendor in a million might discover a rich dandy who’ll buy his grass to be ironic in order to impress another rich dandy, and then the two gigglys take it back up to their box seats and sniff it. However millions of grass-clipping mound makers will be left out time and again, and better find another use for their grass, or quit altogether, and join the Marines.

Art is not for sale. Not as a commodity anyway. The creative act does not end with the last coat of varnish. The “buyer” needs to continue the process, which will never see an end if the art has any intrinsic value. That’s a huge burden to put on someone for taking art expression from another and shouldering it. A kind of love act that can’t cost a cent. The new soul responsible for the life of your expression better love it, or you enough to manage a wall hanging for a lifetime. The middleman money is just an old-fashioned ritual and an annoying third wheel to take on any art venture.

So I am getting out of “the business”. I hope to officially break away by midsummer’s night and challenge myself thereafter to seek a life worth living. Time to abandon the Internet, and its unsocial social media. Maybe I’ll write letters again and send them with paintings because I shall always express myself gratuitously. I want to feel good and take in the beauty of what life I got left in me. I desire a wonder that stimulates, and mustn’t always end up expressed as a painting that strangers likelikelikelikelikelikelike in 2.5 seconds or less. I want very much to like you, and for you to like me, and I realize that can only be nurtured through society. So I’m not going recluse, just pre-Internet, like Thoreau or Kurt Cobain. Or even like that unknown fella you never heard of because he shut up when the time was right.

I plan to keep my studio and myself seated in it. I might even make it a local hot spot with an outdoor summer concert series and Thursday night garden parties. I live in beautiful suburbia, beside a Great Lake, and the sun is shining today. Just walk around back, and look for the Fuel Gallery sign. I’ll keep a bottle of good bourbon by the door. And if it’s a nice day, we’ll sit in the shade and sip. Peruse the studio for something to take home, and we’ll meet again as soon as you are ready.

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  ·  2 months ago  ·  

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