playing catch-up. always.

I’m still playing catch-up from last week, and this week is bordering on the craptastic as well.  Oh, as they say, well.


Part of that catch-up was telling y’all about what it seems like I’m going to be teaching at the Art Garage in the Fall and a couple of thinky-thought questions I’ve been contemplating about how artists achieve success.  <–This one is totally due to the epic search for my certified birth certificate and car title so that I could get my Wisconsin driver’s license and plates for ‘Renn (my car).  *cues epic quest music*


I found them and have spend an inordinate amount of The Husband’s money making sure that I am a properly Wisconsin-licensed squid.


I have a collar and everything.  I’ve had my shots too.  /facetious


Now, I haven’t signed any teaching contracts yet for the Art Garage, but I have been given some tentative dates (which I’m not disclosing until I’ve signed the contracts), but it looks like I’m going to be teaching a story bead class like the one I took with Lisa Kay at Bliss Beads in DeKalb for St. Vincents as well as a book-making workshop in which we’re going to learn Japanese stab-stitch binding with each student contributing a page for the book so that everyone will have part of everyone else.  <–The Art Garage has a art therapy co-operative with St. Vincents.


Since these classes are in coordination with St. Vinny’s, they’re going to be more intentionally autobiographical in intent with an expectation that many of the students with be performing trauma writing.


I’m also supposed to be teaching a two day book-making workshop that I’m hoping to get people to think about artists books as well as making their own blank books.  The idea is to teaching them a variety of book-forms on the first day in conjunction with an introduction into artist books and non-traditional book-forms and then, on the second day, get the students to start creating artist books.  Or even artist journals since they are inextricably linked.


This should be interesting since I’m a very non-traditional-book-form book artist on occasion.  For example, this is a wearable book that I made.



Pardon the craptastic image.  I just recently found it again, and I haven’t had a chance to re-photograph it.


So, *insert segue here* as for a few questions about how artists achieve success.  I ran across an old Chicago Artists’ News (2009, XXXVI.7) that, I think, Lisa Kay gave me.  <–Again, thanks to the epic quest.  The cover story is “Is Art School Worth the Cost?”.  Now, the artists that were interviewed seem to come out to a “it depends” since some think it was amazingly important and others were very meh.  What caught my eye about this article was this quote:

It’s (art school) has been disillusioning.  A brutal wake-up call.  I’ve realized how many jerks are in the art world and how often success is based on connections instead of talent. (p. 1 & 11)

I know a lot of professionally trained artists and a lot of self-taught artists and a few who are both (I know that seems impossible, but mix a discovery-learner with art school and both can happen).  I’m technically one of those discovery-learner-art-school hybrids as is my friend and sometimes collaborator Elain.


Art school was important to me more in terms of space, facilities, and other people–not so much connections (though some of that happened), but more people to talk to about what was in my head trying to come out in my work.  This often didn’t go well because of my theory training which dictated a certain respect and negotiation of concept when it comes to audiences (reader-response theory) and that we are each going to approach a work depending on our cultural upbringing and the cultures with which we identify ourselves (autobiographical theory).

Ask ‘Lain.  I annoyed people a lot with that.


So, the question for y’all is this:  do you think that artist success is a matter of talent, connections, pandering to an audience, something else, or a mix?


I always lean towards “mix,” but I hate the idea that connections can over shadow talent and feeding an audience art that is safe and stayed and boring will get an artist further than hard work and skill.  Therefore, I think I’m coming out undecided at the moment.


What do y’all think?

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