Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12, 2010

Today I received a postcard announcing an art show at a non-profit gallery and it advertised 2 shows and I certainly recognized the artists' names as I went to school with many of them.  Also read the alternative newspaer (a weekly) and it had a nice write-up about an art show which included another artist/photograper that graduated when I did. 

Now I am old but went back to finish my B.F.A. in painting and drawing after 33 1/2 years.  So I was considerably older than many of the students but not alone in that mature student group. I made many friends among all the age groups and it was so much fun that I didn't really want to graduate last May.

And let me say that I wish all my friends the greatest of success. I truly revel in their successes.

All of that said..the green monster of jealousy got a hold of me the last few days and it is a familiar companion of late. I certainly understand logically that jealousy can sap ones' strength and creativity and health.

I rarely have felt much jealously. I usually have a thick skin, a confidence that keeps me level headed. I will admit that when I get a rejection I allow myself to feel bad, and rail against the world for a actually only takes me a few miserable hours and I am ready to go back at it and keep plugging away.

And I am big enough to admit that I want people to like my art and say nice things.  

But it is interesting that the artists who are getting the press and recognition were all juried into a show last year ..35x35..35 artists under the age of 35. Much was made of this show and publicity was great. Even a documentary was made and is shown a lot.

Obviously the more mature of us "emerging" artists could not enter this show and it seems as if we have to  create our own venues, publicity, and still toil in obscurity while the young edgy artists are feted.  I think that many of us older crowd are pretty edgy too..

We don't seem to fit in the feted older have seen the articles about the wonderful 80 somethings still doing their thing.  I read of  funding for women artists over 60, Funding for Lesbians and gay women, funding for minority women. I applaud all these efforts to help women artists shine. And they do shine.  But there really is little or no recognition for those of us who have taken the leap (at an age when most people give more time to their hobbies and lawn care) to get into the art world, enter shows, and put ourselves out there to critics, jurors,curators etc. who simply are not looking for the white, middle class artist who doesn't have the 50 yr. potential that the 20 somethings have ahead of them. Maybe we aren't as angry, don't have the need to be political, or simply aren't edgy enough.  I don't fit the conservative group and am simply not looked at .  

It does make me look even more critically at my work and wonder if I have any skill, or talent, or good enough ideas. It makes me wonder if I should cave into the "Kincaid"camp and develop something that will sell..not really an option for me. I can't make myself younger, or a minority..well maybe I am in a minority..57 yr. old white female looking for a break!

I realize that many shows have no idea how old the artist is, and people will buy what they want and they don't want my stuff...yet! Also I am impatient..especially when i see these youngsters having so much success.  I second guess myself and think if I had had my head screwed on right as a 17-19 yr. old student maybe I would have finished school long ago and made my success years ago..but I simply was not ready then!

I can't change the past. I can only deal with today and plan for tomorrow.  I will keep painting and entering shows and hope for the day when someone recognizes my  artwork and my friends artwork.  I just was really surprised at the jealousy I felt. I was dismayed at my capacity to feel such emotion.  Especially since I love the art these youngsters are making and they are deserving of the recognition.

I haven't even sold a card or postcard of my artwork. I feel I am doing many of the right things and trying to find other ways to get in the eye of the art world. Art Calendar always has great articles and advice.  I just want the despairing feelings to go away. I want to quit feeling out of time, in so many ways.... 

So there is my whine...yes I would like a little cheese with that...  maybe I am just bummed out that the weather has been slow to warm, a birthday coming up that I am finally feeling my age which isn't so great.   The open studio was a bit of a buyers, no write-ups, no recognition for a lot of hard work..sigh..really this is my last whine!!!

I hope you aren't bummed out by my downer post...


  1. this is one brave post and i came by just to tell you that...i am 2 years older than you, my dear, and so, let's not write us off quite so fast!! ;)

    sorry to read that you are feeling badly and trying so hard not to because i happen to love your art and am so glad i found you and it and as for these edgy young'uns that seem to be springing up all over and making me equally , well not very pc but generally ill watching them flaunt their success which they really don't deserve except for being in the right place at the right time and age!

    life is what it is and your message in your art may not be for this time now, you still must make it because you are an many wonderful artists worked in obscurity, vanGogh comes to mind, and if you love it, you will do it too...there are many questions you ask just as i have and i have not gone to all that schooling you have...perhaps i don't feel as qualified somehow? i am not sure but do understand what you mean and how you feel and just wanted to say please forget about 'them' and keep making your wonderful paintings!
    ♥ --don't lose that for what is YOUR gift. enjoy.

  2. Thank you for your kind words..I was a bit off yesterday!!!! I thought..hmm maybe this is too personal

  3. Wow!

    I didn't realize anyone was really selling at this point... Not even the young ones. I did realize the growing trend to show "contemporary" works rather than representational ones. But I haven't notice that they were selling particularly.

    That said, on a more uplifting note, I thought being an artists was perhaps the only profession that celebrated maturity. It is why posting your date of birth is often seen. With time, your understanding and ability to manipulate paint and color improve greatly. Also as this maturity occurs, an increase in value also occurs.

    Have I been wrong all these years thinking, "I'm not getting older, I'm getting better."?

    I don't think so. Don't be so hard on yourself. Your work is lovely. Look for shows that don't discriminate. And if you want to be in the paper, write up a super fabulous press release, add a photo of yourself with a painting, and voila! they'll print it as is!

    What your viewing as success is not really success. Anyone can be in the paper... Put your green monster out with the trash and treasure your creations!

  4. thanks for the comments..I agree and after venting have moved on! Happy day