Looking back over the last 17 years of my life here in Minneapolis, my reason for moving here (to become an artist), and how it all played out, I find myself retrospectively looking at my own personal success as an artist. So I ask…
I have sold nearly everything I have ever painted. Sometimes for good money, and others for greater than was deserved. I have taken financial losses, but my finances always balanced themselves out in the end. Regardless, I feel that sales and financial prosperity are not the “end all” of an artist’s success.
Van Gogh was poor, crazy, and not well-liked in his time, but everyone knows his name now.
Let us say that the financial success of an artist is not simply wealth, but the means to support oneself by the production and sale of original works alone.
When we consider the quality of a work of art, the variables are so subjective that we can only look toward the total development of an artist. That said we can not lie either. Some artists are very very good, masters even. Others just suck, and the art world needs to leave subjective critique behind and label bad artists as bad artists. As we measure the quality of an artists work we inevitably look inward to our own tastes at first, and if we can move past our personal bias, we can then honestly critique a work of art.
Outside ourselves we look for content, aesthetic, talent, honesty within the work, and possibility. I spent 16 years developing a language that I call compositional oil painting, naturally exploring what I enjoyed about painting.
I see being an artist as being a philosopher. Philosophically evolving as your work evolves is a definite measure of a successful artist. When honest, the work is revealing in a way that no truth sayer, psychologist, or loved one could ever be. It can be expected that an artist will grow philosophically.
4. The social popularity of an artist?
Who does your work speak for? Who are our fans, your clients, your patrons? Who is moved by your work and is anyone influenced artistically by what you do as an artist? Having influence is important in that ideas must be viral in order to be effective.
The answer to this ought to always be yes. If the answer is not yes, then something is wrong. Regardless of any measures of success, being happy is by far the most important idea.
I have no idea what happens next…
…I have no expectations other than becoming a new artist.