What have I learned today (Whilt) ?
Always listen to your friends, even, or – especially when you disagree. My wise, experienced friend has the enjoyable approach of Renoir who was quoted to say to his dealer: I want to paint stunning pictures that you can sell for very high prices… When having a little argument I would say to him: Don’t talk to me money, when art is on a table. He would answer: I hope, you will grow up one day and adopt more commercial approach. I would never get what he meant, I would consider myself to be simply ‘above’ that.
Yet, adopting ‘more commercial approach’ for an artist translates into adopting the ‘professional’ manner – it’s inscribed into the nature of ‘being professional’ (making living out of the occupation); and one can hardly think about any great artist (except maybe for bohemian outsiders) who would leave his talent and his work at the mercy of a pure chance … Old Masters would cherish and indulge their patrons, modern professionals would publish books, teach, join/launch movements and artistic groups, make friends with influential intellectuals… Contemporary, 21st century artists are found behaving like skilled entrepreneurs, some of them even adopting the business terminology and way of thinking.
To blame Michelangelo for serving the popes so timidly? To blame Renoir for his (quoted) shameless approach? To blame X or Y today for seeking the attention at all costs? It would be like blaming Chopin or Beethoven for their eager seeking out any decent opportunity to play, to perform their art before an audience. What would their music mean (if anything at all) if they had been ‘above’ any self-promotional activity?… After all, what really matters is the triumph of the great art – in most cases – made possible and enduring only because of its creators’ strength of will, intelligence and an ability to keep their vain at bay.
And, as in life – what helps to distinguish between the ‘lost’ and ‘won’ (at least, morally) cases are the intentions – you agree to serve the market out of love/passion (for your art, for art in general) or out of greed, vain – that’s the difference (yet never so B&W as you may know for an experience).
Therefore, I know that I need to start that ‘more commercial/professional’ thinking now and I need to improve in it just as I keep improving in other skills, which make artwork possible. I would like art to be become an actual force , transforming and influencing my life in the real existence, at least, to the extent that it shapes my personal, inner life.
As a talented poker-player, I know, would say: Good cards in your hand is not everything, is what you will do with them, that matters. Even great cards mean little, when you lack imagination and knowledge, and you don’t have decent opponents to accept your challenge… Well-said… Guess, I’m ‘growing up’….