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An Artists' Dilemma

Here we are, at a precipice. How should we contribute? If we are artists and makers, then we want to contribute through art, and the objects we make. If we are selling our wares, we want to make items/images that relate to others. We struggle to accept that something wild and personal would not appeal to someone else. Will it be enough to exchange for money, be part of someone’s home or be enough to gift to a loved one?

For me, I have learned art will not relate to everyone, not even many or maybe no-one. How could it? Even I might like it one moment and not the next (or one decade and not the next). Also, there is this desire for my images to appeal to those I care about in my life, but that isn’t going to happen either. I want my ego to not get wrapped up in it. Perhaps as an artist/maker we want it to be ‘right’, like we owe it to the world of craft... the colors, the choice of paper, clay, wood, the framing, the subject…and whether or not it came to us in an honest way. Did we trace? Did we carve it all by hand? Do we have the correct technique? Did we satisfy our customer, are we going to disappoint someone, or impress them?

Here’s the thing, after years of making, it is irrelevant. Make something, then be pleased enough to have someone purchase it or observe it and that is all there is. Be in the moment with it. It will have a life of its’ own without us. it will outlive us, this object, and represent an array of things…from treasure to trash. There is no way to know anything. We…the artist/maker, is not that much different than the person that is witness or “owns” something that is hand-made. There is this thing that can happen in a moment…someone sees something you created and they soak it in, they see something you do not, and this happens often if you are paying attention. You don’t have to explain how you came about making the image, it’s there for someone else to find meaning in. You set yourself free when you don’t care if they “buy” it. That only justifies you in making more for sale…to keep you in “business”. So, carry on maker, make things, create and build. Go to the next project, and stand on the edge of the next precipice, whether it sells or not.

Rembrandt House, Amsterdam

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