If the artistic process is just as important as the air you breathe—so much so, that the process alone fulfills you—then the title holds true indeed.
But what happens when you desire to take your work to the next level, only to find that to your chagrin, no one gives a sh*t?
It’s a harsh reality to say the least. Art institutions are a business, and function like any other. They govern over who “makes it”, based on how much revenue they can get from their stamp of approval. It takes a selected few in the art world hierarchy to determine if someone’s piece is worth sponsoring, and a handful of others to give it a critique of a lifetime.
Nonetheless, it’s understandable why any artist would want to submit their work to art institutions and galleries; partly for recognition, but mostly, to make a living from what ultimately gives meaning to their life. After putting in a great amount of heart and soul (not to mention, time and money) into the creative process, who wouldn’t want to make a living from their passion? I think many want that opportunity.
Yet I find that, after a while, I get lost in trying to create something deserving of an audience, or a price tag. I then begin setting unrealistic expectations, which eventually puts an end to the process altogether.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t promote my work. I do; marketable or not, because who is considered a great artist is relative. Artists give birth to another manifestation of themselves; a visual representation of ideas, experiences, or anything that fuels them; the skillful retelling of an old story, or a creation of something even beyond their own grasp.
Art simply cannot be defined nor its value quantified; only analyzed by way of curiosity and admiration. Even then, we–as viewers—only get a glimpse of the artist’s visceral genius, leaving us inspired and yearning for more.
The catalyst of process is inspiration. And that’s what truly matters to me. Not a gallery representation or a receipt for a million dollars (though both would be nice), but the fact that a remarkable force within created it. Some people might love your technique; and others will feel they wasted an afternoon trying to make sense of it.
Additionally, art is another way in which the soul expresses itself, and that form of expression, like most, only strives to exist. It allows us to share our internal world, and to encourage others to explore their own; driving us to ask questions and seek answers on the issues that affect our lives. And that is pretty powerful.
Regardless of the medium of choice, what guided us to create goes beyond anyone’s knowledge of what art is or isn’t. It shouldn’t influence our creative process, but be the impetus that keeps the momentum going.
And if you submit to a gallery and get that generic rejection letter, don’t be discouraged—just immerse yourself in your work like you don’t give a sh*t, because someone eventually will.
Virginia Vasquez is a Certified Meditation Instructor, Holistic Health Practitioner, Writer, and Artist based in New York City. She enjoys exploring the symbolism that reveals itself throughout our daily lives and inspires us to live authentically. She’s also an advocate for freedom of expression, creative or otherwise. Pay her a visit at: www.suryahealing.net and www.virginiavasquez.com.
Editor: Andrea B.