Monday, July 23, 2007

They're Not for Sale, Not in that Way

When you're a creative type you get used to people thinking you're crazy. Well maybe you don't get used to it, maybe you just come to expect it. Someday you hope someone will understand you, but until then, you create because you must. And you don't always know why you create. You just know you have to.

Last weekend I watched the movie Must Love Dogs. I fell madly in love with John Cusak's character. He was miserable and broke and a bumbler, in other words, he was perfect. He made wooden boats. He made them in a way his heart called him to do. His closest friend couldn't understand because he hadn't sold any.

I think all artists understand this. Somehow your art is not real to your friends because you haven't sold any. Or a friend thinking they are being understanding, says, wow, you could sell that shit. Don't get me wrong, money is nice. And lots of money even nicer. Of course artists want to be recognized, but an artist creates because he or she has to. Without creation, they suffer. I know when I have neglected my creativity for too long, it is like dying and my soul withers and droops.

John's character is finally offered money for his piece of art. But the character wants to cut it in half. John says to the guy, "It's not for sale in that way." He turns him away even though he is broke. His friend is mystified.

I know the feeling. I love my art. My paintings are like my children. I am sure most artists will tell you they love their art. A couple of years ago I was unemployed. I sold almost everything I had to survive. Luckily, I had a lot of stuff. I hard yard sales, I sold books, CDs, pottery, lamps, my sofa, and paintings. For cheap. My apartment was empty. But hey, I was grateful. I was determined to keep my roof. Better to have a roof with no stuff than stuff with no roof.

Three little paintings I did not sell. They were influenced by milk glass. I'd post the pics of milk glass that inspired them, but I sold it all. Milk glass is very collectible and can be found for cheap and it looks great juxtapositioned with modern pieces.

At one of my yard sales, a woman bought one of my paintings and several of my framed photographs. She really loved my art, but didn't want to cough up much money. That's ok, I know the deal with a yard sale. She had blisters on her feet so I went to my apartment to get some bandaids. She asked if I had any other paintings to sell. I brought more paintings down with a heavy heart and the bandaids. She wanted all of my paintings. I began to feel like I was being taken. Then she said to me about the three pieces inspired by milk glass, "I think I will take those home and finish them." "Finish them?" I was aghast. "Yes, they need more paint applied," Now granted, I often add more paint to a painting later, sometimes even after I have thought it was finished. But I would never alter anyone else's artwork.

I was broke, but I told her they were not for sale. Not in that way.

Paintings Inspired by Milk Glass
2005, 14" x 18", acrylic and pencil on canvas board


Vineeta said...

your posts are really touching. And you have a way with words. you say your truth well which has a way of making the reading rewarding :) thanx for putting down here- things that people find tough to talk about.

Anonymous said...

I understand this completely. Wow. I'm glad you hung onto these - I think you hung onto yourself in the process.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin