Sunday, May 9, 2010

"ART After Dark" at The ART Lounge Gallery, held monthly on the second Saturday, although always an enjoyable event spent with colleagues, friends and art-lovers in general, held a bonus for me.
Cheryl Kuck, correspondent for the Tampa Tribune, and a wonderful artist herself, and her husband Walter attended the event. Cheryl's success as a gallery owner and art columnist are well known in the area. Although I hadn't had an opportunity to speak to her for some time, Saturday we had a delightful conversation about art and artists in general, and, as always, I found her well informed, educated, perceptive, and enlightening. She really struck me with a comment she made concerning artistic growth. To paraphrase, she said, "Sometimes an artist has a great idea......and has the same idea for twenty years..."
That immediately brought to mind, visions of several contemporary artists, whom I greatly admire, whose bodies of work, for the last few years, all looks the same.....same figure, same model, same color palette, same textures........same, same, same... Some of these artists' work is extremely lovely, and I hadn't previously thought about "sameness" so much as "style" when viewing their work, until now. It was in the midst of that conversation, that I realized that although their artwork was beautifully and well executed, the artists themselves had ceased to grow.
Maybe they had found a safety zone from which they were not willing to venture forth. Perhaps, the monetary gain or the recognition of style was too flattering to resist. So, now, my thoughts revolve around this question: have they sacrificed a large portion of originality, creativity and artistic growth for the sake of the coveted "style" with which most artists seem to be so concerned? I don't know the answer. I am still very much in an evolution myself, when it comes to my own direction, learning and "style". I can guarantee this about myself; I will never view that often elusive and frustratingly difficult to achieve "artistic style" with the same awe and yearning as I had previously.
Anyway, wherever this process leads me, I hope to always keep Cheryl's seed planted firmly in my conscious mind as I make my artistic choices, and I hope never to cease to grow in technique, "style", and especially ideas. Thanks Cheryl!


Barbara Pask said...

Great post Debra. I agree that there are artist for whatever reason do not change. I was talking to someone today about not understanding why people aren't willing to try new things. I am trying to find myself too and I am open to almost anything. I just love the process and find it so exciting to do something out of your comfort zone. Really kind of sad when an artist is in it only for the money, don't know how rewarding that would be and I am sure it would take the pleasure out of the work.

Debra Bryant said...

Barb, This is an interesting subject, for sure, and we could talk about it for years, but it really was an eye-opener for me when she said that because I see it, yet never recognized it as stagnation. I always chalked it up to "style" and never even thought of it as boring. It was like she turned on the light! I am on the lookout now, so I will more easily be able to recognize the symptoms in my own work.

Anonymous said...

Debra, your comments are so correct. Sameness is becoming stagnant. After reading your blog, I realize that I have NOT become stagnant and I am happy about that. But it took your blog to make me realize that I am growing and I never even realilzed it. I am moving along and enjoying the ride and wehre it's taking me. Thank you for making my day. Joyce Bugaiski

Scott said...

Its important to push yourself always past your comfort levels... to grow and discover... Its good to venture into new uncharted territory, as it is, almost, as when you first pick up a paintbrush or piece of charcoal, or try a new subject matter.
Heres to the journey!

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