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Quality Dribble – by Robert Genn

Quality Dribble
by Robert Genn

Yesterday, Sandra Marucci Weisenhoff of the Merrimack Valley, MA wrote; "What about keeping one's best work back until a truly great body of work is built? Good works tend to sell in juried shows, club sales, etc., thereby breaking a collection one might need for later gallery consideration. On the other hand, local shows are a way to get work out there and improve chances of recognition, awards etc. Your advice?"

Thanks, Sandra. If your goal is to build a decent stable of galleries, your best move is to avoid dribbling away your better ones. You need to keep your eye on the ball and build a portfolio of quality. On the other hand, it's popular these days to take part in clubs, sell a few here and there, and have fun.

But there are more important reasons you need to think this one through. Apart from a few national and international associations, clubs provide practically no recognition or award benefits that will truly advance your career. This is a tough pill to swallow for many newish artists who might enjoy the glow of sample limelight. Spoilsports like me may be seen as holding you back, but believe me, the real fun happens when you build yourself some invincible art.

Fact is, artists who get into their processes and don't have their heads turned by minor approvals are the ones who get onto the carousel. While there are exceptions, the ones who seldom enter contests are the ones who get the horses.

It's all about your life of private study, maintaining flow, serious contemplation, creative progress and minimal distraction. It's all about education. For the most part, this means self-education. In our game particularly, we have to do it ourselves.

We now live in the most stimulating and distracting time in history. It's not just our kids who are paying a price for the current cult of instant gratification. Creeping mediocrity is the result and quality is the victim. For a second opinion you might take a look at the Sir Ken Robinson video we've put at the top of the current clickback. While it doesn't have to be an epidemic, it seems entire cultures are being overtaken by Attention Deficit Disorder and the consequent lack of knowledge necessary to do the job. Artists are not excluded.

Best regards,


PS: "We have to think differently about human capacity." (Sir Ken Robinson)

Esoterica: One way to protect yourself from quality dribble is to set up a private archive of your favoured works. This can be in a closet in your home or somewhere away from the studio. Point is, it's a self-managed study center of individual progress, accessed primarily by yourself. How long to hide your talent under a bushel? Everybody's different. I've seen folks put away stuff for three years and then deep six the works, only to send another kind of brilliance out into the world. Such is the wisdom of going it alone.

Robert Genn has given ARTAZINE permission to post from his bi-weekly newsletter. For more artistic insight from Robert, visit his blog at www.painterspost.com

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