Tired and grumpy lately, but like any artist who's set goals, I can't take a day off or completely give in to my frustrations. There are no days off for people who are driven to develop a career, but I am having a think that may help bolster my emotional strength today -
Contrary to what I've been told to believe, being an artist isn't defined by how I dress, where I hang out, what kind of noveau wine I drink, where I shop, how organic my food is, what kind of zany hobbies I have, what kind of cool toys I own - I have found that being an artists is defined by my work and my dedication to it. To me, being an artist means making art and doing everything I can to take my work as far as I can.
Until a few years ago, the only goal I knew to have was to simply show, so my opportunities were relegated to my hometown. However, several years ago New York became the ideal goal, but then I made it my only goal for 2011. Within 9 months I had two consecutive solo shows in New York booked and after the 2nd, I was offered a place at Eden Fine Art on Madison and 50th. This year the goals are bigger and hopefully I've done enough work to keep the momentum going and be granted the ability to reach my new, loftier goals.
None of this has been easy - at times, it's actually been incredible difficult. In 2012, I had three curators, in row, not bother to promote my work. I spent thousands of dollars with 3 people who made a lot of promises, but did absolutely nothing to advertise, promote or play up the shows. In one instance, I had one fella who, in a defensive moment, try to twist the situation around by saying "I'm not promoting your work bc no one wants it anyway". Another time, I had a woman, who was supposed to be helping me at an opening, hide prints of my work bc she wasn't interested in selling "small stuff", she only wanted "to sell the big stuff". Also, I've had my truck break down 3 times, I had to move out of a crappy living space where the electricity kept going out bc the roof leaked, and all the while working with RSD/CRPS.
Although most of my trouble has come from dealing people who either don't know how or are not interested in working as part of a team (or treat me, the artist, with any respect), I just can't stop. To me, being an artist isn't about hanging around a fire pit with pals or seeking out the coolest new, underground hot spot. It's not about wearing the trendiest uniform or "repurposing" vintage stuff - being an artist means one thing: dedicating yourself to making your art Not just talking about being an artist in a self congratulatory fashion it is, instead, the act of making and doing everything you can to take your art where you want it to be. It means, getting up everyday and treating your self defined career as you would a full time job. It means complete and utter dedication.
Last year, I heard a great quote from the writer and humorist David Rakoff: “...hanging out does not make one an artist. A secondhand wardrobe does not make one an artist. Neither do a hair-trigger temper, melancholic nature, propensity for tears, hating your parents, nor even HIV - I hate to say it - none of these make one an artist. They can help, but just as being gay does not make one witty (you can suck a mile of cock, as my friend Sarah Thyre puts it, it still won't make you Oscar Wilde, believe me), the only thing that makes one an artist is making art. And that requires the precise opposite of hanging out; a deeply lonely and unglamorous task of tolerating oneself long enough to push something out.”
Hearing him recite that one paragraph has been a huge relief to me - it gave me permission to keep my focus on my work. To me, it says: 'it's okay if you don't waste your time and money on silly incidentals. It's okay to set goals and work towards them.' I'm not a hanger outer, I don't dress retro funky or do anything wild. In fact, I don't do anything that will effect my time to paint or diminish my drive to produce paintings. David's quote gave me permission to focus on my work. Prior to hearing him make this statement, I felt isolated, a little freakish and less emboldened. I've had popular "artists" call me a hermit or get angry with me bc I don't socialize or go to parties (I'm not 5 thank you) or dinners. I've had artists try to humiliate me bc I have clear goals and my own direction. But, bc of David, I don't feel the need to apologize for being focused and productive anymore.
I think I may be trying to gain some mental and emotional ground thru the blog again today. I'm going thru another rough patch and don't know if or when it's going to work out. But when I look back over the last couple years, and think about the "friends" I've had to abandon bc they don't respect me, my goals or my work, and all the daily difficulties I've had to endure to produce paintings, all the movies and vacations I've missed, all the things I could've bought instead of investing in art supplies - I know I would not reverse any of my decisions. I would love to have more money right now, I'd love to have a circle of pals to visit with once in a while, but there is no way I would go back and deviate from my path or my choices. I'm not interested in conforming and making myself into a person who celebrates 1/2 measures. I am driven to make something of my life. And, although my ultimate success or failure is dependant on other people and their success or failure, I have to keep working - I am an artist.
All work available exclusively thru:
Eden Fine Art
Call :(212) 888-0177 for details.
To view previous blogs visit:becklaneartist.blogspot.com/To see albums filled with pics of work over the last year on FB: www.facebook.com/BeckatReBar/
Also visit: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002159828818