Thursday, November 25, 2010

Same Side of the Same Coin

I made an odd connection recently between two very different ways of seeing oneself, and of working, as an artist. Maintaining a perspective which is independent from the art-world has always been very important to me. I don't shun influence, but I do want to keep one foot in "Rocktown, Indiana" at all times. I'm too easily influenced and so I consciously maintain some insularity from what's going on. It's really just a mental positioning more than anything. An artificial, adopted outsider-ism. Outsider Faux.

It's about making a place from which I have the confidence to make independent, original choices.

As I recently looked at some new work, deciding what to do next, I thought, What choices would I make if I were someone like Dana Schutz? What if I had that sort of place in the art world, not just well known and respected, but revered? I mentally adopted that cloak and it did make a difference in my thinking. It made me make different choices, mostly by going with dumber and bolder choices, unquestioningly.

It made me feel more independent from the art world, just as being an "isolated artist" does.

I'm not talking about ability, but rather about the actual types of decisions I would make, within my own work, under this guise. I'm also not talking about having art world success per se. I'm imagining a position where it's a given that I'm the type of artist who, through her uber-success, is immune from regular art world pressures/influences/thoughts/envies/garbage, and therefore is working more honestly and independently from a personal place.

I want it to be a given that I'm an artist making art. I don't want to have to prove myself this way. It's tedious and counter-productive. I don't want to have to prove my standing, locally or on a wider stage. This does affect one's work; it changes what one makes. I'll do what I must to present myself well, to explain as well as possible. But when I'm in the studio, I'm going to adapt my version of "who" is making the work.

8 comments:

M.A.H. said...

thanks for the reminder.

Steven LaRose said...

Hanging my head shamefully I lift one eyebrow and whisper "but. . ."

Carla said...

I don't think I expressed this right. I'm saying that I AM going to adapt my ego by adopting a different persona, at least one that let exist at the periphery. She will hang out over one of my shoulders.

This did remind me somewhat of Thackie and Teresa. It's a similar but also different thing. I wasn't really relating this to that though. They're both awesome, though rumor has it Thackie's now ghost painting for some chick.

Elaine Mari said...

This idea of adopting a different persona is intriguing. All the stuff you said about working outside of art world influence is intriguing. I think I struggle with it a lot. I'm always trying to figure out as Lynda Barry says "how would I do this if it was me (doing it)?". That's another question that is intriguing and some how liberating for me.

Carla said...

Elaine, that's more what I'm saying. That by adopting this imaginary "artist with position"(and I really just mean a little mental tic that's allowed to weigh in somewhat), I am more able to tap into better decisions, that are more the ones I want to make.

Elaine Mari said...

Yes, that makes sense.

M. Thackston Addie said...

'Tis true. I was going door-to-door one day looking to trade some paintings for a hot meal. The lady of the house said she was an artist and offered me some shillings if I would make some miniature paintings for her. Our relationship has become rather complicated.

Carla said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your plight, and yet am so honored by your presence on Rocktown.