I am an artist.
To me that means I keep moving, keep experimenting, keep trying new materials, new methods. It fits my personality, my ADD.
It’s hard not to. It’s why I ditched the Ph.D. track early on… getting a Ph.D. means you have specialized in something. Something so focused that you are perhaps the only expert in that one thing. I couldn’t do it. Gave up a fellowship and left grad school.
Now, a couple of careers later, I’m back to my first (and only, apart from my amazing hubby) love — art.
When it comes to applying for shows, though, it’s coming back to me. Specialization. When I get rejections, I’ve been told show promoters don’t want to see the breadth of work that I’ve done — watercolor, ink, printmaking, etched glass, layers of glass, mirrors, etc. They want to see a Cohesive Body of Work.
That’s kinda a new concept for me. Not that I don’t have it… my work is cohesive in theme — exploring the physical manifestation of poetry and language. But from a viewer’s perspective, you don’t get that at first. It takes some time to absorb. Ya gotta get closer. So they’re right in the sense that you don’t see that there’s a Cohesive Body of Work in front of you. It looks like a mishmash of styles, which, I guess, it is, when I present it that way.
So I’m learning to present my theme as a visually Cohesive Body of Work. Group all the works together by materials and colors. Separate out the 3D from the 2D. Mirror backs go with mirror backs; watercolors on paper go with watercolors on paper. Etched glass with etched glass.
And you know what? It looks great!
Only problem is… each style requires a separate application. And maybe even a separate booth. Wow. Maybe I’d better specialize?
What are your thoughts? Got any suggestions? What’s your favorite piece or style? Enquiring artists want to know!