Monday, January 11, 2016

Who's life is it anyway?

“To award prizes is to attempt to control the course of another man’s work. It is a bid to have him do what you will approve. It affects not only the one who wins the award, but all those who in any measure strive for it.” 
― Robert HenriThe Art Spirit

Robert Henri-Tam-Gan

New Year, new beginnings, new directions...

Recently I was talking with an artist friend. The recipient of a lot of prizes and honors, he surprised me when he said he was veering away from the competition circuit, to forge his own personal path to a successful art life. We talked about how disappointing it is to see the elitism that seems to have developed among some of the award givers and recipients and how this has led to a select few who are repeatedly awarded wins even when their work is less than outstanding. While recognizing that contests and plein air events work for some artists to bring their paintings to the attention of collectors and gallerists, he decided that he is not going to rely on the subjective opinion of judges to determine his critical and financial success.

When you look at all the variables that go into judging and winning art competitions, you could drive yourself crazy looking for the answer to why some paintings win and others don't. And you can throw yourself way off course trying to change everything you do in order to be includes among the honored. I admire my friend's clear minded pursuit of the direction that means something to him personally, individually.

Before jumping on the bandwagon with the rest of the hopeful crowd, it's worth asking what artistic success looks like. You may be wasting a lot of time, money and energy on contests and accolades that don't serve you. 

It's your own personal adventure. Don't let anyone else dictate it's direction.



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