(Brenda Goodman, Burial, Oil on Wood, 52" x 56", 2010)
Since I can remember, I’ve had it in my head that it’s embarrassing to want recognition. This is how the voice goes: it’s virtuous not to want it; it’s below what a real artist does, which is work endlessly towards expressing a true self, a true self that furthermore must be genius. Also it’s insecure to want recognition. If one were a real artist on a real quest, why would it matter what anyone else thought?
That voice is complete baloney. Of course we want recognition. It keeps us going. It makes us feel like we exist. If you say you don’t need it, you’re either running away from risk or you’re a megalomaniac.
Now that I’m coming to accept it, what I’m learning is that recognition can come from all kinds of sources. Of late, the most unlikely source is turning out to be Facebook. I’ve been giving that networking culture a whirl, and it may or may not be substantial. While the thrill of being “friends” with Zach Feurer or Kara Walker fades quickly – it can even be a turnoff - it definitely feels motivating when someone you don’t know compliments you on a jpeg. Could it ever be a replacement for the traditional gallery route?
It is also through FB that I’m also finding artists I didn’t know about, and that are appealing – on screen at least. Brenda Goodman is one.
Finding like-minded artists is de-isolating, and may or may not be good for my own drawing. I go back and forth on whether community is reinforcing or just something that makes you conventional. I bet it’s something between the two. But this is the stuff of another post entirely.