self taught exhibition

so i went to the show last night at the wynne home arts center where i got to see three REAL THORNTON DIAL work.  WOW!  some of his pastels similar to what is on the left.  i like his mixed media assemblages and sculptures the best but i'm happy to see whatever i can from his hand.

the Dial work was part of a private collection. it was interesting to hear a talk about the work of 'self taught artists'.  i sometimes get a little ruffled about all that talk, as i am self taught but sometimes i think i'm not considered a 'real' self taught artist by the 'true self taught collector' and why? i've been told its because i have a website, because i've been in galleries, because i'm relatively normal and sane and wasn't making art when i was truly fucked up.  because i am familiar with other artists and the general art world.  and mostly, because i want to make a living from it.  as if that somehow dissolves my self taught standing, as if self taught artists are supposed to be totally blind or ignorant and willing to suffer miserable lives instead of making a living from what they create.  god knows i'm just as poor as they are.  i dunno.  its best i dont think too long about it all.  i dont belong in that world i guess but i also dont belong in the taught artist world.  it's all just semantics to me and rubs me the wrong way.

i couldn't help but feel a little ruffled too hearing the definition of a self taught typical artist:  someone who wasn't educated in art (me).  someone who came to art later in life due to an accident or some big change in their life (me).  someone usually a little crazy or obsessive compulsive  (used to be and some might argue still am)  someone who usually works with found materials because they can't afford to buy things (me).  someone who usually has one person interested in their work who helps them/supports them/ a patron if you will.  (i have tod but not a wealthy patron). 

neither is better. art is art, whether you learned it yourself, learned it from a school or a mentor or your pet pig.  i think it sucks to be judged by your education or background.  i got a little exhausted there, the lower back was tired of standing, the body on alert as this was the first real art gathering i'd been to in huntsville and i was finally able to see that yes mabel, there ARE real people here who like, appreciate, and buy art in huntsville.  matter-o-fact i sold my little wood tray twice.  i hear before they could put a SOLD on it someone else tried to buy it.  go figure.  my little dinky redwood tray made from cast off wood from a build site.  the woman who wanted it for the gift shop loved it on the wall so i loved it too.  and apparently so did a few other folks!  its a good sign, i'm ready to dig my hands into my piles of scrap wood again.  maybe make another tray or two and definitely more wood assemblages (see post below). 

tod went out afterward as we were invited out for drinks.  i just wanted to come home and be alone.  i had a smile plastered on my face for 1.5 hours and had exceeded my small talk limit.  besides, i have more art to make.  i'd like to think that i can get lost again doing what i love and not what i hope/think/want to show/sell.  recently i had that epiphany that it is all to easy to lose site of the direction your art heart wants to go, case in point that wood tray that sold.  the first one i made was small and i messed it up.  called it the fuck up.  gave it away to a friend who apparantly loved it while i was hard at work on a larger, better one.  then i got all judgy about it.  didn't even put it on my website and had it on etsy for awhile but thought nah, no one will buy this.  and then i take it to the art center and the woman loved it and wanted it on the wall.  when she put it up i realized it is more art than a tray and it looked pretty damn cool.  i have to stop defining what something is and play again.  do you know i didn't even sign that tray that sold? i find that quite wonderful.


Cynthia said...

I love that little tray! So glad you sold it! I wish I could've made it to the reception but it just didn't work out. I'll have to go by and see the show. I don't think you're all that normal and sane....HA! ;-D

Nellie's Needles said...

Well, that was exhausting! All of it ... the good moments as well as the stressful ones. Now maybe some balance can be recovered by being alone to "play" with your "stuff" to make whatever pleases your eye.

paula said...

well cynthia, what can i say, you get to see parts of me i keep under lock and key :)
hope 'i' didn't exhaust you nellie....
and yeah, playtime again, gonna dig out my big puzzle towers i was working on last year, finally gonna go for it.
and the wood....and who knows what else.