SFAU #33 was based on #30, as you can see in this morph. I’m hoping sharing morph pairs helps people get into the series, though usually I’ll share them on IG rather than here. Just a little thing I can do to help people get into my work.
Unless you’re interested in some of my self-reflection on how to move forward with my fledgling art career, in which case proceed.
Being a profoundly unpopular artist is kind of a good thing, but I have to learn to milk it into not being entirely invisible.
He wasn’t being a dick, and it’s a legit question. Sometimes it’s more of a friend that takes you aside at work and informs you your breath is special today. I’m a long, long way off from being well known.
I’ve resisted, but in order to be a successful artist — assuming one wasn’t in the right place at the right time — one needs to be an entrepreneur as well as an artist. That’s IF you are trying to do it on your own. If you were picked up by a gallery out of grad school, or one way or another, the gallery would take care of all that for you in a way you could never hope to compete with.
My marketing is rather minimal and shoddy, and I haven’t produced a body of work that is really appropriate for either the contemporary fine art world or smaller venues that still cater to skilled, painted images. I think what I have produced, in the aggregate, is more interesting than had I stuck to one marketable signature style, but it’s a goodly proportion of career suicide in exchange for unlimited artistic freedom.
I think the golden era for being able to start a career on the internet might be over for most of us. There’s way too much competition, and search engines and social media platforms are throttling non-paid content, and independant content. No matter how good anything I share is on my own blog, it’s likely to fizzle out within days. The only way to get a real audience is through representation in venues that have a real audience to begin with. If one works in an already popular style, does fan art, or sexual content, they might stand a chance, but if ones are is more esoteric, fuhgeddaboudit.
I don’t give the people what they want, and I don’t cater to the fine art world, which would probably have nothing to do with me anyway. I know of precisely zero digital painters who are recognized in the fine art world, unless you include works by David Hockney, which are only recognized because they are by him. I don’t want to get into the ugly politics, but with my DNA, there are a lot of venues where I seriously need not apply. I’ve done a wide array of digital art, but I’ve definitely moved more into digital painting.
My greater hope is with the smaller venues that like painting and will accept digital painting if it’s good enough, though one is always going to make less money because one can only sell prints, as opposed to originals AND prints. For this arena, I’d still need to do an extended series in a signature style. [I will try to plug this series, — though it’s in multiple styles around one theme — once it’s finished, but I don’t think anyone is likely to bite.]
I’ve already created several styles that might work for me, but if I’m going to dedicate myself to one framework, I want it to allow as much of my strengths, and as much content, as I can. And there’s no cheating or gimmicks really when competing in the more painterly spectrum of the art world. In the blue-chip conceptual contemporary art world, you can get away with a bullshit banana taped to a wall. The gimmick IS the art, and you spend a lot of time trying to come up with what your gimmick is. It’s as if you are watching a baseball game, and rather than competing on the field, someone is going to do something in the stands or on the field that attracts all the all the attention. Streaking across the field is to playing baseball what some contemporary art is to painting.
When it comes to painting and illustration, a gimmick won’t do the trick. You’ve got to have serious skills. My SFAU series is a work of contemporary art, but is DOA in the art world, partly because, while I deal with the mutability of identity, I don’t have the correct perceived fixed identity with which to make such observations or work. I am disqualified to do this body of images.
What will my (perhaps temporary) signature style look like? I”ll save that for later, but for now, it will be: representational; digital painting; obviously incorporate the imagination; and demonstrate competent skill.
As for my art criticism and other articles, that should remain pretty much as is, mostly because I don’t plan on pitching it to any publishers.
I don’t want people to think I’m feeling sorry for myself or complaining in this post. I’m tring to come to grips with the situation and make practical adjustments to my strategies, practices, and even habits. I’ve received some good input from other artists here and privately. This is something I wrote in an email to an artist friend:
There’s an old Yiddish joke where a man complains to God that he asked God repeatedly to win the lottery, and yet, despite his entreaties, he never won. God replied that he should go buy a ticket.
So, I think I need to do a concerted body of work within a recognizable style, and — since I work digitally — which is obviously NOT done by the computer. Then, once I’ve actually submitted it to various venues, and they’ve bounced it, I can complain about being overlooked. But what I’m doing now is little more than the equivalent of displaying paintings in the windows of my home.”
That about sums it up, except that I’d add that if I’m not doing my very best, I can’t complain if I am not successful. Though, in my defense, I wasn’t complaining, I was answering someone else’s query about why I’m not a “known” artist. I do believe in free will, hard work, and taking responsibility. If others are far more successful with less work, that’s their game, and their work may reflect that as well. I can only play in the game that I find myself in. I’ll let you know when I feel like I really deserve something that I’m not getting.
And if you like my art or criticism, please consider chipping in so I can keep working until I drop. Through Patreon, you can give $1 (or more) per month to help keep me going (y’know, so I don’t have to put art on the back-burner while I slog away at a full-time job). See how it works here. Or go directly to my account.
Or you can make a one time donation to help me keep on making art and blogging (and restore my faith in humanity simultaneously).