- Thinking this morning about the differences between painters and sculptors; how “the world” supports painters with an infinite number of how-to books and magazines and galleries and this and that and other stuff, and how there are, give or take, five books about how to be a sculptor, all published by Dover and written before 1960, and that’s it. Plus one magazine that’s too obtuse to read and certainly is no how-to in the sense that Water Media or Artist or anything by North Light is a how-to. (Plus the British WoodCarving magazine, which is fabulous.)
- It is not lost on me that the vast majority of those how-to books sit on bookshelves unread; certainly unused, as do most of the tubes of paint sold in sets this time of year, and maybe even most tubes of paint period. It is also possible that some of the energy of 3D people is absorbed in woodworking books–the casework and furniture people, and perhaps even the turners. Clay people have some more resources than wood. Acknowledgment made.
- What’s this about?
- Somehow 3D scares people an a way that 2D doesn’t? Primitive art is full of statues; could be they just lasted better than whatever flat art they made back then. I’m not an archeologist. But I am also a painter, certainly a colorist, and it galls me no end that I am forced to carve my canvas before I can paint it.
- I talked to a fellow sculptor about this two weeks ago; he advised me to stick to sculpture; there are fewer of us and way too many painters in Vietnam churning out cheap oils. More competition in the flat art world. Perhaps. Said he worked in 3D and I certainly (can) think in 3D and why force myself into a thought-form that’s not natural? In the end it would be just as uncomfortable as my current day-job. (Not true all the way to “just as,” but I get the point: My day-job involves working with ISTJs when I am an INFP.)
- However, if we all followed this model, the Sistine Chapel would have a sky-blue roof.
- So. I’ve been writing for 4 hours about this already this morning, trying to work it out for myself. Finally that quiet little inside voice piped up that said, “Both. You are both.” Sculptor and painter.* # Some ideas come to me, admittedly not many, in the form of flat art. They need to birthed in that form, regardless of the problem that I don’t know how to paint flat art. Other ideas, many more ideas, are clearly intended to be sculpture, and I need to carve those. And it’s not my call about which is which, and it’s not my place to ignore the ideas that arrive in a 2D vision.
- You can’t kill some of the ideas that come to you without polluting the source. For today, the flat art ideas gestate in their own notebook and one day they’ll get painted or collaged or some how given more life.
- Pragmatic thought: A friend brought his Ramrod Taskmaster (personal forklift) over to help move a mature camellia yesterday. In no time at all, he also cleaned up my woodpile. This is a $10,000 tool. A) Either I sell enough sculpture to be able to afford my own Ramrod Taskmaster (on top of the mortgage and insurance and disability and etc I’ll need when I’m a full-time artist) or B) I’m going to have to find a different form of art before I’m 30 years older. There are plenty of very old artists in the world. None of them does/did his or her own heavy lifting.
- *Sad but true: It took me 17 years the first time, and 13 years the second, to learn I can sing after a) my 8th grade teacher said someone in my trio was flat and I assumed she meant me and b) my choir director frowned when she looked my way too many times. It only took me 10 days to recover from being told I shouldn’t be a painter. This is progress. (An aside: How do musicians gestate their ideas, and do they worry about form–vocal vs. instrumental, different instruments, solo vs. chorale?)
- #Clearly, I am also a writer, but I take that so much for granted that I don’t even think about it.
- This week’s accomplishment has been to open an eBay store, Karen Tiede Studios, and stock it with merchandise. Wish it were as simple as writing that sentence, but after a few false starts, I figured out enough of a routine to ease the pain and loaded my available rugs and a few carvings to the site. I have no idea whether this will actually increase the sale of my art, but it’s certainly simpler than learning how to add a shopping cart to my site and eBay is where the traffic is already. Trouble is, merchandise in stores is listed at the end of any search, so it doesn’t get a lot of visibility. Need to work on my store keywords a bit more and hope to improve results from google et. al.
The next awareness, however, is that now I can pay a bit more attention to art forms that have not sold well / at all in the local markets, given that I am presenting my art to a global audience. People around here see the shell flowers and the baskets and think, “I can do that,” and then they never do, but they don’t buy my art either. I am hoping I can reach a market that might have a place for my art but no means of finding the material–apartment dwellers with balconies, for example, or people who don’t ever get to beaches with shells. The same holds true for the rugs. I have given over an entire room to the processing and storage necessary to stockpile the inventory it takes to knit an interesting rug. Anyone can make one rug from a pile of old t-shirts, but not everyone can collect 10 pounds of teal and turquoise fabric and make my latest log cabin creation.
Anyway, I can’t get to the spring shows because of the knee surgery, and the annual cost of a basic eBay store is still less than a weekend at the Sanford Pottery Festival. A worthwhile experiment. And it will get easier, and I’ll learn to write better copy, in time.
Originally written March 17, 2007
Closed store July, 2010, due to increasing frustration with eBay’s rules, updates, and general headaches trying to keep items in the store. Also, PayPal made it a whole lot easier to offer e-commerce options on my site.
Amazon reviews. MySpace. Tribe. GoodBooks. Blog listings. Widgets. And under, or over, it all, making art. Finding a voice, and finding a market. Will writing reviews on Amazon drive anyone to my website (yes, they have; keep doing that part). Stop, breathe, and remember that once I’ve learned a new tool / venue / approach, it’s easy(ier).
(Brand new-to-me blogging software, too, and I hate right-and-left justified text and I can’t figure out how to turn it off. WordPress’ template pages are not available this morning; supposing it’s the regular weekly maintenance window. Put up with this for a while.)
Trying to be clear in this swirling maelstrom of ideas and possibilities that surrounds my conscious time, which ones have heart, which have potential, and which can actually be brought into tangible reality without huge investments of unrecoverable time and money.
I just took the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment. My results didn’t change very much from the 1.0 version. People familiar with the assessment may note that “creativity,” per se, is not one of the 34 strengths in the list. My own creativity arises out of Maximizer and Strategic, with a nod to Input along the way. I inhale information; I see possibility in many many things, and I have the wiring to figure out how to take the possibility and make it happen. I wonder how creativity in other people is rooted and whether there are any patterns shared among artists in different media? And then, how would I figure that out? Not a driving research issue for me today, but one of those questions to put on my “if I won the lottery and/or had funding to pursue interesting questions with no hope of renumeration” list.
Why, or do I at all, care that you know what I’ve read? As noted in a different post, I rarely post a review on Amazon if there are more than 10 reviews already, or if my comment won’t affect anyone’s buying decision. However, that rubric means any book that’s late to the party gets ignored in the larger web world. It’s possible someone might be interested in what I’ve read; might find one’s own inspiration in a book that already has a pile o’reviews on the big A. In the lingo of Tipping Point, I’m a bit of a book maven. I should probably take some action on this, then.