I received an email yesterday for an offer to buy a painting that was in the last show I did. This is what the email said:
“Hi I saw this brilliant painting of a field of sunflowers at sunset at the Riverdale Y show this past August. It is so full of energy – fiery like nothing else! And also very moody.”
This is why I paint. I want to engage the viewer to feel the emotion of the painting. My art comes from my soul and my life. My art is not a hobby. That is why I have to give it value and not underprice it just to sell. This painting had a lot of attention and people would try to bargain it down. I wouldn’t do it because it would have taken the value of it down. I can use the money but who I am is invested in that work of art. Money can’t be the issue in my art.
Today I realized that the pain of my childhood neglect and abuse is the value of my art. I dealt with a very painful childhood by staying in my room for hours drawing and shutting out the world. I don’t want to get into details but it was a very lonely life and I did try to kill myself at the age of 8. So it was bad. My mother left me with my grandmother who had mental illness and she would yell or hide in the dark kitchen ignoring me. She never fed me until my mom came home from work. This is when I went into my world of fantasy and started to stay in my room for hours drawing. I had no friends because they were afraid of my grandmother and it was a hoarder house. So this was my art school training. Self taught talent that got me accepted into the High School of Art & Design in 1966.
I must value my art. I have always put myself down because I never went to college. I never pursued my art and blocked it out for 30 years. Now I am out of the cave and have seen that my work is really good. Why would I undervalue it. It is very emotional to me and it is created not just for money but as the expression of who I am from the depths of my childhood pain.
my friend Carla has smashed her artist block and has created the latest painting in Van Cortland Park!!!
Okay this may be a strange title but I have experienced this when I was in my artist block for 30 years.
So here it goes. When I gave up my art I did it in a big way. I not only stopped creating I stopped going to museums and art shows. I couldn’t look at art. It was too painful to see what I had stopped doing. In those years my goals were to survive financially and find a husband to support me.
I was such a lost soul. Empty. I took jobs that I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t care about the job just the paycheck. I couldn’t keep jobs. I was not good at administrative work. My mind was not wired to be organized. I never wanted a job that was too responsible. I wanted jobs where my desk was far away in a corner and all I would be required to do was small. I didn’t even want to answer phones!
So I had no self esteem and I needed to get rid of the pain. Drinking was an option and antidepressants too. But a better thing was shopping! I needed to have my outsides looking good. I was always buying clothes. I made sure I never wore the same outfit twice in a week. I wasn’t making a lot of money at these jobs but I used credit cards to shop. I blocked out the consequences of having to eventually pay the bills. I never made enough money to pay them back. I had awful credit card debt and ended up in bankruptcy!!
The need to look good took me down. I was filling my empty soul with things. When I broke my artist block something big happened in my brain. Creating art put me in a zone that filled my empty soul. I was lifted to another dimension. My self esteem and confidence improved. I got myself back.
Today my world is BIG. I used to love things and use people. Today I love people and use things. Creativity has given me a purpose in life. I connect to people through art. I no longer think about my selfish needs. My fear of people has been lifted. Through my art I have been able to bridge cultural barriers. The big picture of art is that barriers can be broken.
So I believe that people are today are chasing designer labels trying to mask the fear of reality. Women who are living at poverty level yet wear a $2000 handbag. People have been brainwashed by designers that in order to fit into society they have to wear their clothes. The truth is the designer is getting free advertising from the consumers. The world is broken. Greed is in charge. Looking good is more important than connection to people. The sickness starts even in grade school.
Creativity can bring people together. Creativity makes life bigger. Creativity is not frivolous. We need to make it a necessity. Get it???
My 5 ft Portrait done at the Art Students League
I am not going to review this book as I have not read it yet. However, yesterday I listened to David Kelly’s TED Talk on Creative Confidence. Essentially he is saying that creativity is not just for artists but everyone. As children we are born with natural creative instincts. And somewhere along the line we are judged and that takes us down. When we give up creativity we lose a very important piece of ourselves. That piece is the ability to solve problems creatively. We say we can’t. David Kelly is helping those people and giving them the chance to expand their lives.
My theory of coloring books being banned is not so far fetched. Coloring in the lines is not creative. Kids feel bad because they have trouble being in the lines. They are not following the rules of coloring books.
Judging art is a waste of time. Only the person viewing it can say whether it appeals to them or not. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When we judge we kill.
David Kelly says his clients are changed when they get creative. Their outlook on life is different and thy start to explore different ideas about their purpose in life. Major thinking!
Again I say my mission is to get everyone engaged in creativity.
When I started to answer calls for artists I was given an opportunity to have a solo show on the Lower East hip lounge the Sapphire Lounge. You know when you are new to all this you jump at anything. My first solo show!!!
Challenge #1 – transporting a lot of paintings from Queens to NYC. Trying to save money I ended up with a small van and a very interesting driver who was able to fit all the paintings in the van. Challenge #1 no problem.
Challenge #2 – unloading paintings as the rain started to come down. Oh no the manager is not in the lounge now…got to wait. After a half hour the manager’s assistant showed and helped unload. Challenge #2 no problem.
Challenge #3 – Hang paintings. PROBLEM! Okay the manager’s assistant was not really willing to help me. I was alone and frustrated and always relied on my son. Now the assistant is an old man from another country that I don’t remember. He comes look at my work. He stares quietly. Then says “I have to get my tools to help you”. Turns out he is a traditional painter. He told me he liked my work and my clouds were beautiful. I guess he was happy to see art that he could understand. Challenge #3 revised to no problem.
So we hung it all and I stood back to admire the walls. The manager walks in and says great. This is my opening night of my first solo show. Things are good. Then the manager tells me that tonight is a special night at the lounge:
IT’S GOING TO BE A RAPPER CONTEST!
My heart sunk as I thought this is really going clash with my landscapes and rap music. I learned the lesson of match your venue to your art. But a miracle happened.
I saw the back of a very large man and he was looking at my paintings in silence. I went up to him. He was a rapper and he was the organizer of the contest. We looked at each other and he smiled and said “did you do these paintings”. I timidly said “yes”. His smile got larger as he pointed to the big cloud. “These are beautiful!” I could not believe my ears. He was emotional looking at my work.
I left the lounge that night with the rappers thanking me for the beautiful art for their show. MY WORK TRANSCENDED CULTURES! WOW!
A collaboration by Jean and Carla
Okay I am stuck. My art workshops have been pushed back again!!! It is difficult dealing with non profits. This is the life of the artist trying to develop a business.
I gave up on art being able to support me. But I now see it is me that is the problem. My usual MO is to get a idea going and then run away. Disappear. I now am going to fight my doubts and fears. I’m going to keep moving forward no matter what. I will not give up on my art and myself.
The wall needs to be broken down. It was broken down in Berlin why not in my head? Walls are just about making the mind be creative in solving a problem. Try another road I would like to sit and be in a pity pot. I would like to sit in the cave and hide from the world. But I did for 30 years and it is more painful to hide. I want to do things differently than I did before.
Even being able to keep up this blog is a challenge to my fearful mind. That’s why I called my business Fearless Creativity. At first it was for all the people who were afraid of being creative. Now it really is for me!!
I’m not giving up on myself anymore. I’m not going to tell myself lies and say it won’t work for me. It is so self centered to think I’m the only one who hits a wall. I’m not a loser. I’m not alone in this. Suck it up and learn to love challenges. The thinking has to change. I give up too easily.
So I am writing this post to all those artists who hit walls. Just keep going. It’s not about you it’s about your art. How important is your art? I know I have a gift and when people see my work they respond positively. Besides I do art because I must. It is the soul I was born with. It’s not to be famous but to be of service to others.
Today is the first day of dealing with the challenge! BE THE ARTIST I AM!!!
today I was journaling about the brick wall I hit when I tell a person that they don’t have to be good to do art. People think art is not important. People think art is meaningless to them. People rather rack up credit card debt shopping for things that end up in their closets.
I believe coloring books should be banned!! Kids who struggle coloring in the lines think they are failures in art. The fact is true art is done outside the lines. That is true creativity.
My mission is to get people to see that creativity needs to be part of their lives. It is not just for the talented. Art is necessary for the brain. Creativity works the brain by stimulating ideas. Ideas keep the brain youthful.
America wake up! Art and culture are what makes us civilized. Kids in rural America turn to destructive forms of behavior because they have no opportunity to be creative or look at beautiful art. They end up on the internet or shooting up schools. Art can help people with mental illness.
We need to stop treating art as a subject that has no importance to our lives. Creativity needs to be seen as a valuable part of everyone’s life. It has to be seen as vital to the human experience. It is not a frivolous activity to be ignored.
And please don’t tell me you can’t draw a straight line. Creativity is not about straight lines.
ART IS IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE!!!
The picture below is my first show at the Art Students League. My son was proud of his mother.
This is a self portrait of my illustration teacher Max Ginsberg who taught at the High School of Art & Design in NYC. I attended the school graduating in 1970.
Mr. Ginsberg encouraged me to enter the National Scholastic Art Competition. I never would have done it. He told me to enter my charcoal life sketch I did in his class. He saw something I didn’t see in that drawing. I never expected to win an award but I did!! My drawing was exhibited in the lobby of the Lever Brothers building on Park Avenue with other winners !
Max Ginsberg is an awesome painter and is infamous in the world of art. I love the painting of the girls in the subway above. He never told any student that they should paint like him. I couldn’t paint like him ever. But he always pushed an artist who he saw had their own creativity.
I since then have gone to art schools where the students try to imitate the style of their infamous instructors. A lot of instructors bask in this flattery. When a class has a show of their work you can tell who the instructor is. Am I crazy or is there something screwy going on?
isn’t art an expression of who you are? I love Max Ginsberg because his only objective was to help an artist develop skills and a good basic training in art.
How can you be seen for who you are if you paint like someone else?