View Full Version : Tapping inspiration, fighting commercialism

Lee Gainer
08-29-2002, 04:40 PM
I am intriqued by this Artists way program but I am a bit confused. Is it a book/workbook kind of thing? I ask becuase I am currently jumping back into some serious art production (haven't done this in 8 years when i was in college) and I want to jump start the creative flow. I am having trouble with deciding on subject matter. Onve I decide on something (i get cuaght up in a mental tug of war regarding the commercial value of it) (ie. will a painting of this _____ sell?)

Does the artist way program address these type of issues? Thanks! (And, how has it helped you become a better artist?)

09-08-2002, 02:02 AM
Yes Lee, it does address these issues as well as the sometimes overwhelming feelings of competitiveness. The program is based on a book By Julia Cameron called 'The Artists Way' It has helped me to become a better artist because i've learned to cast aside the pressures of having to do it 'right' and have unburdened myself of the feelings of competitiveness that we put upon ourselves when we try too hard to create 'sell-able' art or art designed more for the purpose of pleasing others rather than myself. When i learned, truly learned to create for myself first i was able to open channels of creativity that come from deep within instead of preconceived ideas of what's 'in' or 'hot on the market'. We learn to take the entire experience of creating for what it is... the REAL art :) The energy you'll experience during the wonderful exciting process is reflected in your work in a big way. It was really an eye opener for me to find that a lot of the rigid and 'posed' feel to a lot of my art came from expectations, feelings of NEEDING to be perfect. It held me back more than anything. I think my newer work has a more fluid and inviting quality to it. I attribute that to a sense of allowing myself to show in my work.


09-17-2002, 12:45 AM
I was just about to start a new thread on this exact same topic, but somehow I felt impelled to click this one first. I'm glad I found it, because I've been having this exact problem myself, the issue of creating "what you like" vs. "what will sell." (Please forgive the perhaps excessive length of this post, but this topic really hits home for me.)

You see, I like to draw female nudes in graphite pencil. It's my favorite subject, and I'm not embarassed by that. But, when I'm doing a drawing, I sometimes get these nagging feeling in the back of my mind: "No one will ever buy this." "People want paintings, pencil drawings don't sell." "Nobody's going to buy a simple nude, it needs something extra." I suppose part of it comes from some people's reactions to my subject matter. When my wife discovered that this was my favorite subject, her reaction was "So your art is just the human body, and that's it? I think you're really limiting yourself." She didn't mean anything bad by it, but it really didn't help either.

And just a few days ago, when I was drawing a nude in public (because I can't draw at home--too many distractions), an elderly lady peeked over my shoulder at the paper, gave a distasteful gasp, and took off in the opposite direction. I go to great lengths to make my images tasteful, but it still seemed to be disturbing to her. Reactions like this don't exactly do wonders for a person's confidence, you know? It makes me wonder if anyone will ever buy my drawings. I keep feeling the urge to try to "add" something to it to give it more mass appeal, or try to make the figure secondary by pretending to illustrate some grand concept.

What's happening is that instead of drawing, I'm wasting valuable time and energy with this "mental tug of war" that you mentioned. (That's a very good way to describe it actually.) For anyone out there reading this, do you know of any ways to get over this sort of problem? It's almost paralyzing to my creativity, and I can't be a serious artist until I find a way to shake this off.

09-19-2002, 11:24 AM
I too feel the pull between what might sell and what feels good to me. I have tried to generate art that I think others may like, but for me that was work and not very satisfying. I wasn't very good at it anyway. I also like the human form and I work in pastel and sometimes oil and I know the reaction that BenR345 referred to as I get it often. This reaction can at times make me question what I'm doing and if I'm somewhat less of a human being for doing it. I think that as artist we are looking for approval in what we do and for at least some others to feel the same as we do about our art.