Picture of a Perfume Bottle

Bottle Landscape: Composition 1. digital photography. For more examples of my photography please visit http://www.acevesart.com/

article by Marisa D. Aceves

Perhaps it is deeply ingrained in us to want and seek approval from our peers.

As tiny children many of us learned that our artistic talents would inevitably serve as a vehicle to generate the response from others that we felt, at least at some point, we badly needed, but do we still require public adulation in order to create meaningful art in a landscape of mass produced, simulated authenticity?

While constructive criticism is meant to be productive, often leading us to question the how, why and where we create art, do we always have to remain in comfortable agreement with the dictates of our present generation of thinkers?

Indeed, great art has been created during the most turbulent times.

The willing participants of a variety of art movements throughout the decades have often encountered intense opposition to their candid interpretation of the historical era in which they lived.

We all know that a great deal of growth involves risk.

The courage to take that risk in an often hostile, cutthroat environment leads many aspiring artists to despair as they try to predict what popular art critics will esteem.

Some artists value sustained attention on their artwork to such a degree, that they unapologetically hand over all control of their creative output to what they perceive is the reigning art intelligentsia.

While these artists may initially experience the attention that they desire (their Warholian fifteen minutes), eventually, they regret trading their unique artistic vision for the limited creative expression that they are allowed to have in order to maintain representation.

The galleries will sell what the market will bear; when that market does not currently include the work that certain artists produce, these particular artists find themselves confused, overwhelmed and unable to financially back the work that they are passionate about producing.

Not all art stories end the same way though, some artists are able to address their niche audience successfully while earning a decent living.

However, no matter how much artists wish to take mass consumer culture out of the mix, we are still forced to deal with the bottom line.

When we are young, naive, and fresh out of art school, we dream that we can “have it all”, without compromise, but the real world shows us that art is as much a business as real estate.

If this fact leaves you disenchanted with the idea of sharing your art with a public that may or may not always be ready to receive it, you’re in good company.

If artist’s wish to survive professionally, they will often find themselves compromising at some level in order to adapt to the current art market.

When considering these factors, artists feel like applause equals sales which results in a thriving business, yet this is not always the case.

Some works are critically acclaimed, but they do not sell well in the marketplace because they are unable to generate the kind of mass appeal that results in a sustainable income.

However, these works are considered great because they immediately address issues that are relevant socially, politically and historically.

On the other hand, some artists produce decorative art that the general population can easily appreciate; therefore, people are more likely to purchase work that reminds them of things that hold a special place of importance in their lives.

Work that reminds people of family, friends, beloved pets or special travel locations that they wish to visit or have visited in the past receive a different kind of applause which does in fact result in sales.

The natural birth and death of art trends will facilitate the opening and closing of small galleries hoping to ride the temporary wave of “latest discoveries”.

Should you create art exclusively for fabulous yet fickle collectors who are often highly influenced by well-established art world agents and gallery owners?

Will you join the ranks of decorative artists who produce design oriented works with the sole purpose of beautifying homes and offices?

Could you produce thought-provoking works that challenge the prevailing opinions, lifestyles, and attitudes of the current culture in which we live?

If your expression is not authentic, is the brief period of admiration you experience really worth it?

Whatever artist that you decide to become, (whether you make the majority of your money from art production or you choose to rely on another profession for additional income), you will never feel completely satisfied with your artwork or your role as an artist until you have enough guts to pursue the type of art that you have always wanted to create.

In time, you will find your audience, it may not always be big, but it will be a genuine.

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2 thoughts on “The Applause Factor: Why Do We Need People’s Seal Of Approval To Create Great Art?

  1. This post speaks to something I have been thinking a lot about lately. I’m in the process of submissions, which I find especially gruelling. I hope to push myself this year to be more true to the sort of work I want to make and less concerned with the reception.

    I think part of our need for approval stems from the approval we got as children for making pretty pictures. Maybe many of us artists are still chasing that high.

    Happy New Year- Emily

    Like

    1. Excellent point. I intended this article to be a helpful reminder, as I struggle like many others with this subject. It was difficult for me to write it, but I knew that I had to put things in perspective and try to focus this year on what really mattered! Thank you for your insightful comments. Have a productive 2015! Good luck on your submissions!

      Like

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