Sunday, October 28, 2007

So not a Virgo

One reason I wrote about figuring out what one's work is worth is because I am a "featured writer" on this new artist community website, art bistro. And as such, each month I am asked to write about specific topic related to being an artist. In November, the topic is "getting what you're worth".

In a nice follow-up to the conversation I had with Shawn this summer, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Jackie Battenfield for her new book on artists and the business of art a couple of weeks ago. Jackie is the coordinator of The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Artist in the Marketplace program, a really wonderful program in which two groups of 16 artists are selected each year to attend and then are shown in a group exhibition together at the Museum. The program consists of weekly meetings and field trips where everyone does things like write and critiques each other's artist statements, talk to gallery owners and curators person-to-person about what they do and why, meet with tax consultants and draw up long-term goals. Anyway, it is a really useful program and I am happy to be an alumni of it. Jackie invited me to speak with her, I assume, because I have taken a path not often taken by artists in that I have made my work very collaborative and community-based, to use art world lingo. Our conversation made me realize that, although I have sidestepped the studio/gallery practice that is most common to artists, it doesn't mean I should be less serious about being organized or less attentive to my goals.

What is it about setting goals that makes me so uncomfortable? Superstition about jinxing things by saying them outloud? A belief that, since the future does not exist, that we should concentrate on the present moment? A fear of failure? Not wanting to be too corporate-y in my art (as if!)? Part of me thinks, for chrissakes, you're 42 and you are still working this fundamental thing out? What do you want to do? Make it a priority and it will happen! And part of me, I guess, likes the meandering flow of life, art, projects, children, art, life and thinks a sheet of paper with lists will make it less...less fun, less authentic, less...less....

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