Monday, August 28, 2006

When Stars Align

I always cringe when actors are called “artists”. It’s not so much that I don’t feel they have earned recognition for their craft as it is that I question their… suffering for the art. The majority of actors and musicians are poor or at least not making enough to survive without supplementary jobs; but the one’s we know about… the famous ones… make very good money.

I recently saw the film “Max” with John Cusack. This is the online description I found for the film:

In this provocative and well-acted drama, a fictional one-armed Jewish art dealer (John Cusack) tries to nurture an unpolished painter and fellow WWI veteran: a bitter, socially inept anti-Semite named Adolf Hitler (Noah Taylor).

I’ve read that Cusack worked for free in order to make sure this film was made. Despite the fact that Cusack is already wealthy, he did commit a bit of self-sacrifice for his art. How often does this happen in Hollywood?

How do we as more traditional fine artists suffer for our own work? Is it the horrible self-loathing we experience when we go through the low stages of not creating? Is it the disregard that our friends and family endure when we become obsessed over a new idea? Where does the self-sacrifice begin and end? Will the work we make ever be enough?

I’m coming-up on another solo show in November and as a process-oriented painter, I have a love-hate relationship with exhibiting my work. I dislike the interruption, but enjoy the recognition from exhibiting. Each show takes about three months of concentration:

The month of last minute preparation before the show, the month during (when you wonder what works will sell and if it will be enough to cover the time that you put into the work), and the month after when the exhibitors deal with tear-down and return shipping (did they pack the work correctly, are the shippers competent, did the gallery/museum include all the printed materials from the show, how long till I get paid for the sold works?). All of these worries play havoc on concentration. – DN

1 comment:

Nicholas Wineman said...

this is strange, I had a argument with my sisters last night about this EXACT subject. I'm with you. Despite my aspirations to become an actor (a hopeful BFA in acting) I have doubts about being called an "artist" in the process. It's really an insult to other artists when actors like Ben Afflek are considered the same. I think there are occasions where we are creative or suffer, but I just don't believe we are artists.