I’ve been thinking recently about this artist life. The artist of today lives in a world that continually entices him with the false idols of celebrity and fame. We all would like to have a career of a Picasso or Matisse. I wish sometimes I could live it in a vacuum, without this artificial influence. It would allow me (or any artist) to create work of a much more personal nature. There would not be the underlying agenda of gallery approval, or the need to create something more “sellable”. There would only be the artist, his muse and whatever he felt the need to express through his art.
This is what the Impressionists did in the mid 19th century. They were drastically impacted by the invention of the camera, a tool that could capture a moment in time. It changed everything. Artists were no longer needed to record an event or capture the portrait of a wealthy patron. They were not going to make a living through their art, so the artists experienced a freedom their predecessors never had. The freedom to follow their Muse. Lautrec painted the prostitutes at the Moulin Rouge, Manet painted scenes of the common Parisian, Van Gogh, well, you know what he painted. These artists were not going to make a living through their art, and they resigned themselves to a life of poverty. Look at the incredible art they created.
So, back to my original thought, the artist’s life. In the 21st century, we have an endless variety of media available for visual expression (thank you Mr. Duchamp), and we have the immediate availability of many platforms (facebook, pininterest, Sacchi online, etc.). Today’s artist experiences sort of a “future shock” reaction. Too many choices do not make this life easier.
These are the things I think about when I have no idea where to go next. Sometimes I think my Muse is as conflicted as me.