11/14/08

hype

Even I have heard of Shepard Fairey, thanks to the now infamous Obama Poster. I know someone who bought that poster earlier this year and within months it has turned into an Ebay Monster. In fact, Fairey is become his very own iconic figure as his iconic images plaster the virtual art world. Didn't I hear recently that he is now going to be working with or for the Obama people? When I take a look at his other iconic works that are now sizzling in the art world I am left wondering what I am supposed to feel. I'm clueless. At least the Obama poster even if I am not apt to go ape shit over words telling me what to think or believe do make sense on a general level.

You'd have to have your head under a large rock not to notice that in the last few years t-shirts and posters seem to rule when it comes to online selling of artwork. It is all about image rather than the object. Tod said it is a flat world, a 2D world. Everything is online, its flat.

There are times I wonder if I shouldn't force myself to change what I am doing just to ride out a wave that is going strong. Could I even do it? Do I want to? Not really. But we are talking survival here. Logistically, I'm a 47 year old unhip female who wouldn't know how to make iconic if you hit me with it. I still don't get it. I'm still left feeling completely dull and dead inside when I look at this stuff. It doesn't illicit anything warm in me or live. As an artist what am I trying to convey with what I do and the bigger question is, HOW do I get that message across to people and have it mean enough that they get excited by it?

I've pretty much just been plugging away with my art and showing it on my website, blog and in brick & mortar galleries. Not doing the big hype thing. I'm not that kind of person, and my art, while some could argue stands for something in that 'green scheme of things', isn't something I have been able to objectify into any conclusive importance. Would I want to be in Fairey's shoes right now? No fucking way. I don't envy the stardom and obvious success he is having right now. I envy perhaps his ability to do something that people relate to with such fervor. I don't necessarily want something I have done to be replicated hundreds if not thousands of times and plastered all over the internet. It isn't my style. It would feel like a false balloon of importance. It's good that people are united and brought together, but to put all of that energy into a poster doesn't sit right with me. I know, it is symbolism. I have a problem with all that I guess. I see it as a lack of identity and the lack of individuality. I don't want what everyone else has. In fact the more everyone wants something chances are the more I will make sure I do not have it. The latest and greatest still feels weak to me unless it serves a real purpose in your life.

It does bring up many thoughts for me. For someone who is collecting as a means to an end (financial gain) I can understand more about the importance (?) of snagging this work up. It bums me out that I don't understand the hype, the hyperbole over trying to nab what everyone else is. Is this any different than the beanie baby frenzy? What am I not getting here? Why not own a one of a kind real piece of actual art? As for these posters, I get it that there is a message in them. I'm not THAT stupid. I'm a hard sell, but not stupid. The line gets blurred between the 'art' and the actual person or thing. You get fixated on the thing, in this case, Obama, and I have to wonder if that doesn't create unrealistic idealism. I'm probably getting in over my head on this, but this is where I offer it up for understanding and other people's views.

It frustrates me I haven't found my niche in the art buying universe. As an artist I keep standing at the high dive and looking at the pool and thinking,'I don't want to dive in that pool'. My art isn't an easy fit, I will grant you that. But I know enough about what is out there and what I do to say it is unique and of lasting value; perhaps not in a historical way such as the Obama thing, but on a more subtle level. It's not just me putting a rusty thing here and a rusty thing there. The journey started when I gave up trying to live a life that wasn't working. My art stands for what can happen when you stop forcing things to happen. That's a pretty big message in my book.

*I'm talking about ART here not politics. I get it that the Obama posters stand for so much more than what my art stands for. I get it. Half the time I don't think I convey what I really mean in any of this....I'm new to all of this. It's very daring for me to try to talk about art and meaning, let alone someone else's' art and meaning. I'm just exploring my thoughts and sharing where I am at. Mostly I'm frustrated and it all goes back to just trying to find my people or my way of making it. I might sound jealous envious of Fairey, and I suppose I am. I'm envious that people 'get it' and I don't know how to get people to get what I do.

7 comments:

Ellen said...

The poster is a logo of an emotion, it's topical, and in an age of immediate ideas that get transferred all over the web, it's a thing to have until the next thing whizzes by.

In a way you have more to think about in the kind of art you do - aesthetics and function (if you're making a clock for instance) and how it all fits together in your vision. Give yourself a boost and look towards great architecture and design instead of bothering with pop culture. Trends only make you feel empty. And they come and go like the tide. One of my favourite quotes (OK, that I stole from TV!- Weeds) is "Let your freak flag fly!" So what if you feel different from the masses, who cares about the masses. They made Thomas Kinkaid mega popular for god's sake.

self taught artist said...

oh my freak flag is gonna fly.....
and i agree with you. i shouldn't care. i try to educate myself and learn, figure out how i can survive and then i run into art or artists who are 'making it' and can't help but to compare (and come up super short)what they are doing both artistically and marketing wise and get all frustrated. would i care about ANY OF THIS if i were making a few hundred a week selling my art? hell no.

deb said...

oh it is a low and negative energy week I feel, be happy that at least you ARE making art, i seem only to be plodding away at making money with my 9-5. Art hasn't even entered the picture this week... i REALLY feel like a fraud, you are talking and walking the walk at least. I think popular is overrated and trends fade, and what's in today is out tomorrow, that's how we train 'em in a capitalist world! Buy stuff, buy new stuff, buy newer stuff, buy the newest stuff, and all of it goes in the landfill, except the small amount we rescue...

Sheree Rensel said...

Paula,
I am not getting the connection. I don't think of the Fairey Obama poster as being fine art. I see it a piece of graphic design.

I don't see the point of comparing apples and oranges. That poster is what it is, just like a logo or a soda can label. It does its job via tame advertising propaganda.

I never thought of comparing it to fine art or art in general.

I mean, I wouldn't compare what I do to a bumper sticker design either. Not the same animals, but both deserving to live in their own worlds.

self taught artist said...

I don't think I mentioned the word fine art anywhere...ummmm
talking about iconic art, posters, collectors, arts' value, what sells and why. thats all. (his older works are being GOBBLED UP by collectors)
go to ebay and look at faireys work and notice everyone is selling more than just obama posters. all of his andre the giant stuff and obey stuff...and on the internet
everyone is buying posters/prints and other flat art.

gigi said...

For the record, "Obey" was very cool when it came out and probably still is pretty cool. But don't you think it would be more productive/less stressful if you keep your head down and focus on you and what you do instead of that guy or anybody else?

"My art stands for what can happen when you stop forcing things to happen."

Remember that when you hit a snag or start comparing.

self taught artist said...

you know gigi, I think it is good for me to be exposed to this and take time to understand and be knowledgeable about other artists, art and the market. every since I wrote this post I have felt opened up, more aware. I need to know that people are making it in other ways, THEIR OWN WAY. isn't that what shep has done? It makes me curious and interested, who knows maybe i will gleen something from it that will be useful. I feel hungry to know more and this is at least different. It's my 'education' I never got. Yeah it frustrates me sometimes but thats what spurs me on.
good to hear from you stranger :)