Wednesday, March 4, 2009

As it lays



Most likely you end up going to art school, and you’re very excited about it. You hear about radical ways of making art, you learn about pushing the envelope, and at some point you think you’ve got something, probably because a teacher tells you that you do, or because compared with the other kids, you’ve got your shit together.

Then you graduate. You keep making work and you’re thinking big, revolutionary, but it receives little attention. In fact, it’s flat out rejected. Over and over and over again. You feel crappy. You’re losing the game.

Within two years, eighty percent of the people you went to school with have stopped making work. And that’s ok, because when you think about it, the good ones weren’t that good anyway. Your group of artist-friends shrinks and shifts.

But somehow you keep going, perhaps faithlessly.

Then there’s a change in what you make. It’s now been four years since you graduated.

Then you meet one, two, maybe three people you have a good conversation with. There’s an echo. You gain just an ounce confidence. A fluke gets you a decent group show and an email address to a bigwig who answers you. You realize the art world is a complex, layered place and that a niche for you exists (but you still feel bad because it isn’t a straight shot from there to the Whitney Biennial).

It’s your fifth year out of art school, but you can finally say you’re at the beginning of your art career.

2 comments:

Vito Polly Vincent said...

Maybe someday the work from the pre-art-career art career will be considered 'her classic early period', wherein she experimented with many different modalities on the road to becoming the artist we know today. The parallel that comes to mind is the early-Early Beatles, when they were playing clubs in Hamburg after being met with indifference in Britain. Nowadays the rare stuff from Germany is a source of fascination for Beatles devotees. So too might your early formative work someday be of interest to a broad audience...

Molly Stevens said...

That sounds good. But, did the Beatles themselves like that stuff?