Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Painter's Keys

Just wondering if other artists are reading Robert Genn's twice-weekly on-line newsletter, The Painter's Keys?

Remarkably for such an ambitious undertaking, a twice-weekly newsletter is arduous, Genn does a wonderful job of taking queries from artists and others, and writing trenchant, sometimes humourous responses. He has a way with language, as well as his paint brush, whereby he can take an image and wend it through to the finish.

For a good example, and one that will speak to most artists, today's newsletter is called, Flavour of the Month, and is about art collecting.

An artist in North Carolina asked:

Is (art collecting) all for competition and ego or is it the natural joy of celebrating creativity? Do collectors give birth to new collectors? Is this how to reap the flurry of fame? The artist wins, but it reminds me of "He who dies with the most toys wins."

Here is part of Robert Genn's response:

Many serious collectors lack the courage to buy art on their own. Unsure, they rather require the opinions of others and tend to flock together in fave galleries and with fave experts. In this way, "popular," while often a local condition, becomes a legitimate measure of desirability. Visiting the homes of my own collectors, I notice the other art they have and can tell the company they keep. Thus we have the relatively new phenomenon of engaging advisers from respected institutions.

Yep, it's good for the "in" artists and crummy for the "out." Fact is, many artists expend a lot of energy trying to be the flavour of the month. Others among us are content with an occasional lick.
Too much money and too little conviction leads folks to perceived authorities. Pleasantly, when the flock becomes large, there will always be someone to take stuff off your hands. It's called "The Greater Fool Principle." For many, the real joy of art is financial gain, and many well-advised collectors experience a self-fulfilling prophesy. Nothing succeeds like everyone wanting Maple Ripple.
Perhaps dying with a lot of toys is an alternate form of immortality. We humans just naturally accumulate, collect and hoard. Some choose boats, cars, houses, stamps, antique steam engines, music boxes, books, movie posters, comics, hubcaps, tattoos. Thank goodness some choose art.

And there is something to be said for the joyous celebration of creativity. A mystery to otherwise successful people, creativity often seems to them a rare item. Let's face it--art enhances life. The glowing hearts of happy collectors outshine born-again revivalists. We need to celebrate these angels. They keep the scoopers busy, and, like it or not, they are partially responsible for some artists coming up with new flavours.

You can subscribe to this free newsletter and find out more about Robert Genn by going to his website.


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