Sunday, October 9, 2016

My Own Art Gallery

I've been surfing around the art-to-print sites Society6.com and RedBubble.com and have come to one conclusion: a great deal of the art that is making big profits there is fairly lifeless. Don't get me wrong - it doesn't mean the artists are bad. Many things are precisely executed with skill that no doubt came from years of development. I just feel that a lot of the main sellers are unabashedly commercial, and so concentrating on being slick and following trends that any life the artwork might've had got beaten out before it was even conceived as an idea. (Don't even get me started on the stuff that looks like it belongs on a box of Kleenex.) It reminds me of when my favorite professor in college, James Crable, advised me not to go into graphic design, because graphic designers have "the weight of the world on their shoulders." Is this what art is really about? Is it about a product? Is it about being so slick that it seems artificial?

In the process of selling on these sites and after having had an admittedly bad run-in with someone paid to teach artistic convention, I have discovered something about myself. I am an outsider artist at heart. I attribute the direction of the spirit of my artwork to such artists as Philadelphia's prolific mosaic-meister Isaiah Zagar and those who get featured at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. I remember being fascinated by the Watts Towers when introduced them in 6th grade. To the other societally admired extreme, Van Gogh, who threw all caution to the wind with his art, is always an inspiration. All these people do what they do, because they simply must.

So I've started doing one little thing as a small protest of the commercial art world, and I hope you will join me on my trek. Each week I pick a few keywords and scour the sites mentioned above and pin a few prints that I feel have a spark of life in them to my "Art for Sale" board on Pinterest. I will also add my new work as it is made, with no insinuated comparison as to the quality of my work compared to those I have pinned. In a way I'm just showing what I personally would show if I had a gallery that dared to be different.