Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Living the Life of an Artist

I am reading a biography on Pablo Picasso. Here I am, an artist, and I’ve never studied other artists. I’m making a bit of an attempt. All I ever knew about this man was that he did strange things on the canvas. The book is thick and I’m about a quarter of the way through. I question how someone can write a biography about an artist and not have any pictures with the mention of what he was doing and where he was when he painted or drew such and such. (Okay, yes, I know there are copyright laws and needing permissions, etc.) I vaguely had heard of his blue period and his rose period and the book mentions this, but without actual pictures, it’s hard to visualize. The words have little meaning.

I looked on the internet. Ah, here are pictures and even the ones I’ve seen mentioned. Picasso certainly went through interesting personal growth in his life and it definitely comes out in his work. His style changed dramatically over time, especially with the discovery of cubism. I can’t say I’m a fan. The art is very interesting and sometimes scary.

As so often, I get caught up in the pricing of art. It’s easier to understand if a piece has a lot of detail, but the drawings for which there are only a few simple lines, questions rise. Who would buy something like that for that exorbitant price? Does this just prove that people will buy anything associated with a name?

Hmmm, that phrase sticks in my mind:


Picasso proved this. He went against the grain and created some bizarre pieces. At first, many hated his work. He pushed himself to do more, to meet other artists and art enthusiasts and those willing to promote his work. He pounded the pavement to make sales. He became a known name. In a way, at the time, it didn’t matter what the painting sold for, just that it sold to put enough bread on the table and pay rent and allow him to get supplies.

Picasso also had a charisma that attracted people and even when he wasn’t very nice to them, they still followed him. For some, that is natural. Others have to work hard at attracting people.

But I am not writing about Picasso to write about Picasso, a master, a legend in the art world, I am writing because of my on-going quest to learn how to sell my art. The masters didn’t start out as rich and famous with collectors flocking to buy their work and some didn’t make much of a living their entire lives and their works were not worth anything until after the artists’ deaths.

I don’t want to wait until I die before people begin buying my art. Of course, I’m certainly not in the same realm as those past masters. I just want to make a simple living sharing my work with others. So, how do I do this?

“People will buy a name” is sticking in my mind. I’ve been told by others that it’s important to get “out there” and get a following. Once more this is hammered home to me.

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