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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Entry 85: And then on the upside, ladies

My posts for the last month have been pretty dour - to say I've been chagrined is like saying the Titanic developed a pinhole size scratch. But something has popped up that's starting to lift my spirits - a few weeks ago I was approached about an opportunity that could be a real game changer for me and I'm really excited. It involves a portrait I did a couple months ago of a female artist, a filmmaker and a world wide exhibit event that happened last spring. I don't want to jinx the opportunity by giving away too much but I'm like a 5 year old and can barely contain myself when something good pops up....but, again, I don't want to jinx it....but then I'm totally giddy with relief that one of my paintings is/maybe is/certainly is/will be going to be seen by a very, very, VERY large number of people around the world....and it tickles me to no end that when it was up for sale, a couple months ago, the people who had the option to buy it didn't.

Like most of my work, the painting itself is posted in several sites on the web. It always garners a lot of attention and even has it's own "fans". BUT it was passed over. And, just like every time a painting I'm proud of is passed over, I was insulted. It's fresh, it's strong, it was made using my own techniques, it's not a what's the problem? Is it because it's too fresh, too strong, not a copy of someone else's ideas and techniques? Makes no sense.  BUT NOW I'm so friggin' glad it was passed over I could pee myself.

Can you say: "well now, THAT was a short sighted mistake....wasn't it"?

I wasn't going to post a single word about this deal till things were firmed up but I just found an article by the Wall Street Journal that touches on a subject that has effected my life, my work, my ability to reach the level of success I'm working for and my ability to find proper support for my goals:  sexism in the art world - I.E. - work by women being perceived as being less than valuable as work done by men.

Sexism seems like a concept that we, as a big, grown up culture, should have grown out of already but we haven't. And honestly, I've known it - I've tried to ignore it but it's always there. In fact, until last spring, I really didn't advertise my face, my age or my sex bc I knew, without question, that the reality of me effected people's interest in my work. As long as  viewers didn't/don't know my particulars they have/had a tendency to look at my paintings and assume I'm: under 30, a young man, and a shade of brown - all factors that sometimes appear to make my  work more desirable. It's the same work just done by ME and not some 20 year old, non Caucasian, ingenue. But somehow when my fat, old, white lady face is associated with the work it's suddenly determined to be lesser than.

Having to combat sexism is an age old problem for women and it's sooooo tired. I am exhausted from watching  men with 1/2 the vision, 1/2 the drive, and 1/2 the talent flourish while I still have to work ten times as hard for less than 1/2 the pay. Can someone explain to me why having been born with a vagina effects my value as an artist and a person? I very sincerely do not understand how or why. We have been gaining ground, and it's significantly better than it was when I was growing up in the 70s but really..... that bizarre attitude that we should somehow be happy with the whatever level of recognition (or disregard)  might be tossed our way is STILL discrimination. As a country we at least pretend to have zero tolerance for racism but sexism is still somehow okay. In all honesty, dude, that's really f#@ked up.

Article on sexism in the artworld from the Wall Street Journal 04/18/13 (, not April 1813):

"Women on the Verge"

After a record Morisot sale in London, art collectors are scrambling to identify undervalued female artists; the $1 million club

Excerpt from article:

"A woman's signature in the bottom corner of a painting has long spelled a bargain—men in the same artistic school or period can fetch more than 10 times the price of a woman's best sale. While an age-old debate rages over whether talent, sexism or lack of promotion has held many women out of the art world's boys club, everyone agrees that prices for female artists have always lagged behind those of their male counterparts"

Read the full article:

Yayoi Kusama
 who painted along side Warhol.
And like Kusama, my work is hanging with Warhol in NY.
How does that qualify either of us to be more or less talented? 
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