“Teachers Endorse Hillary” was the headline I read this morning when I sat at my computer, coffee in hand, for my morning news overview. That’s curious, I don’t recall anyone EVER asking me whom I endorsed during my itinerant public school teaching career. I do remember something having to do with political buttons leaning hard to Democrat while I was under the guise of the local teacher’s union in St. Louis (guild of thieves is probably a better description), more than a handful of years ago. Don’t get me wrong… I tend to lean Democrat, despite my disgust with the party and politics in general… but I still don’t like the implication that one has to check their brain at the door when voting, just because a union demands the final say… it seems twice as despicable when you consider that we’re discussing teachers or the molders of minds... relenting their objective right to choice.
Which leads me to the question of “how to endorse a style or genre of art?” I’m sure this is not a unique area of conflict… every artist that is interested in creating work for the sake of the process, must at some point grow tired of pigeon-holing into a series, style, subject…etc. Yet, do we place ourselves into the position of defining our art or do we simply cave to societal pressure?
I would have to say the most common question that accompanies, “so whadya do?”… has to be “what kinda art?”
After all these years, I still have nothing short of a half-assed response when faced with this question. “uhhmmm, I paint a lot, no really a LOT”. But what happens if I start to utilize the kiln in the corner of my studio (you know… the one under the box of travel books)?
Some additional common questions I field:
Is it landscape or abstract (what about when I venture into figures)?
Is it paint or ink (what about when I mix the two... mixed-media)?
Are scrolls still paintings, in the strictest commercial sense of the word, if they’re not on canvas or framed behind glass?
And my favorite: Does it hurt your value if you produce too many paintings in a year (supply and demand)?
By the way, I don’t care for any of the candidates but I dislike Obama the least, so that's how I lean in our current political climate. - DN