Monday, May 24, 2010

History Repeating ... Enough Already!

Every once in a while I look around and see a pattern in my life I don't like. For example, repeated irritation at people for basically the same types of things. And I think - well, the common denominator here is me. What is up with that? : -)

These past few weeks seem to be full of lessons created by me not trusting my gut - both personally and professionally. And reminding me of the old adage - When someone shows you who they are, believe them. And I might add - believe yourself and your instincts.

Professionally I am untangling myself from a relationship that I went into knowing that the person wasn't always forthcoming and upfront. I knew this, but I told myself, it's OK - as long as I know this going in I can prepare for that, and it will be fine. .... Um, I'm "fine" - but I'm also really irritated at being lied to and having an agreement in place that was not completely upheld. So my commitment to myself going forward - don't go into business with someone who you have doubts about working with because their idea of integrity and exchange are not close to your own. They will do what they think is fair and right and you will just get really irritated with what you perceive as their lack of exchange and/or lack of integrity.

I have had similar feelings of wasting my time and extreme irritation with two men I've dated recently. However, if I'm honest with myself, I knew in my gut that both of them weren't for me long term. One I thought, it's OK we are both just friends who are sort of dating, so we won't run into relationship expectation issues. And the other, I just kept trying to see if it would work because he seemed like a nice guy, my friends all liked him, and he seemed to want similar goals as me. But I knew immediately when starting to date each of them that they weren't really present with me, and that they were very comfortable with keeping things on the surface.

This isn't wrong, but it isn't for me. I need a guy who can be and is comfortable being present with me and who is OK with establishing emotional and mental depth. So inevitably, their lack of presence created situations that made me feel they were being rude and selfish; and their unwillingness to create emotional and mental intimacy caused me pain. I'm sure they didn't mean it. I knew we didn't match up, but I kept dating them anyway, hoping that something would change or that it wouldn't really matter long term.

So here's to starting the tail end of May with a renewed commitment to be true to myself. And to not allow myself or others to talk me into entering or maintaining professional or personal relationships that I know in my heart are not aligned with me, my life and what I need and value in a relationship.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Double Standard?

It's a funny thing really. On one hand we have magazines like Allure, and Maxim showing women completely nude (with fabulous lighting and airbrushing of course). And on the other hand we have people who complain when they go to an art festival or art gallery and see a painting of a half-draped (partially clothed) woman hanging on the wall. Really? What is this about?

Since when did the female body - or any body for that matter - become OK to flaunt in public, on TV in commercials for lingerie, on the beach, or in a main stream women or men's magazine; and yet NOT be ok to see in an Art Gallery or at an Art Festival?

When I put paintings in restaurants, I always make sure that there is no nudity. But the fact that I sometimes feel the need to censor my own art when hanging it in an art setting is a little ridiculous. I generally hang paintings of half draped models, or paintings where the nudity is implied. But this still isn't enough, someone will always complain. And still others will look at a painting of a partial nude, or even of a draped model, and because she's not wearing a turtleneck call it "disgusting."

Nudes have been part of art for a very long time. My work isn't porn, it's art. Is there a sexy side to some of it? Sure. But that doesn't make it bad, wrong or inappropriate in an art setting? Absolutely not.

Oh yes, and just to clarify - this is an actual nude! ;-) 

For another female inspired post, see Honoring Ourselve as Women

Monday, May 10, 2010

What Makes A "Great Artist of Our Time?"

Saturday I was at the Orange County Museum of Art's Art of Dining event. Sidney Felsen was honored for his work as the co-founder of Gemini G.E.L in Los Angeles. In his introduction they said he had worked with "some of the great artists of our time." Which got me thinking - What defines an artist as great for our time?

I'm sure if you asked 10 different people you would get 10 different answers. I think the short answer for me is, intention, marketability, longevity and ingenuity & consistency in execution.

First off intention, because if an artist does not have the ability to create an intention with their art, it's very unlikely that their art would elicit an emotional response from the viewer.

Second, being an artist, and meeting so many talented people, I know there are some incredible artists out there, that the world-at-large has never heard of. And so - while some artists I know are far more talented than others getting accolades or fabulous world press, the "great artists of our time" must by definition be those "our time" has heard of. Therefore, in this day and age, they need to be good marketers, or have someone who is a great marketer behind them.

Thirdly, I also think longevity - artists who are artists until the day they die. Someone who's work we can see grow and change and yet still in some ways remain constant throughout their lifetime. (ex. Alexander Calder)

And fourth, artists who either have their finger on popular culture (ex. Warhol) or do something before everyone else, or better than everyone else (ex. Pollock).

I realize nowhere on my list did I say technical abilities. I think this is because in order for art to speak to people it needs to go well beyond simple technical execution, and be able to emote some sort of emotional response when being viewed by the viewer.

What do you think?

For an answer to another esoteric question, see What Is An Artist?