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July 2009
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Replying to the Robert Genn post on Aggressive artists

From Steve of ACE:
Here is my reply to a recent letter from Robert Genn on Aggressive Artists. I have severely edited it, there is much I would like to add. Here is the link to his letter, I am reluctant to copy it here.

I will try to keep this short, but I am a bit offended by this letter. I feel like a kid sitting on a bank fishing with a cane pole and a worm when a fly fisherman with a $400 rod and hand tied flies walks by going “Tsk, tsk.” The days of working for a corporation like IBM from when you leave college until you retire with a pension are over, and correspondingly, the “gallery system” of an art career with the artist being above and removed from the “commercial” portion are probably over, at least for the majority of us. We can’t all be big league players, but it is nice to make a career out of doing what you love.

Our work may not hang in museums and may not meet some critic or other artists standards, but when one of my wife’s clients leaves our studio in tears after picking up a portrait they had commissioned, she has made a connection with another human that artists hanging in museums may have never done. And after all, don’t we all espouse art as “communication?”

An interesting thing about selling your work. It no longer sits in the studio and you create more. And that’s how you get better. So I can work to being on “top of my craft” by getting out and selling my work, not sitting in the studio or hiding behind a tree.

By definition, you can’t that there aren’t any undiscovered geniuses. They haven’t been discovered, so unless you know all the geniuses…

He quotes Edward Bulwer Lytton:
“It is astonishing how little one feels poverty when one loves.”

Regarding the PS, I would like to know how Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the Lord Lytton experienced poverty in his life. Also not that the Bulwer-Lytton Ficton Competition is named after him. It rewards bad writing.

Woody Allen also said that eighty percent of success was just showing up, so get out of the studio and into the “real” world.

I am currently at a show, it is not an art show. I am painting and selling my paintings. Directly to the people who will hang them in their homes and enjoy them. I am trying to “sell out” my art while I am here, so I don’t have to load back up and take it home.

Stephen Filarsky – Plein Air Painter
Equestrian Landscapes

And my reply to Steve’s comments:
Robert Gen has, in the past, made some good points….but I do not subscribe to him simply because he reminds me too much of my college professors…(who, years later are painting exactly what they told us not to paint, sculpt, create btw)

There is more than a small amount of Guru in many of his posts- Sort of like the Beatle’s guru from the late 60′s and 70′s…the “what is art and why do you need to make money and why are we here?” crowd.

In other words, his thinking is HIS thinking yet it has the power to hurt and dissuade artists from creating on whatever level they wish to create. It is one reason why I will not allow critiques and snide comments on the AP …NO ONE should have the power to act like today’s media and attack someone else’s way of life or way of creating art.

And yes, it is easy to preach “art for art’s sake” when your belly is full and your bills are paid without effort on your….so the quote by the English lord was, in my opinion, stupid.

Now, I am off to the real world of the working artist……..maybe we should just keep it our secret?;)

2 comments to Replying to the Robert Genn post on Aggressive artists

  • This is great stuff. When I was younger I distinctly remember the time when all my artist friends started to stare the CAREER question in the face. They needed advice like this, that’s for sure.

    It also reminds me of a story Dianna sent us a while back. She was told early on that a career in the arts was impossible, so went a different more financially secure route. Then a little later decided to “chuck it” and pursue her true passion — art!