Saturday, August 3, 2013

Return of the Wayward Son

I have been a self imposed exile from art for over a year now. This silliness must end and it shall soon. First of I should explain the reason for my exile. Long ago when I was a bright eyed young lad in art school I was deluded by the fact that my art would someday save the world. That as an artist I was serving a higher purpose by creating "art". Megalomania of this level is something of a pandemic that spreads to every student of art. As the years went by  my marble statue of idealistic theorems was worn down to an unrecognizable lump of rock.

When I graduated I found myself lost in the world. Everything that I created seemed to be devoid of passion, meaning, and value. I continued on with my gallery and studio work because I thought that by doing so I would someday find my way in the world as an artist.

I never did find my way. The work stagnated in my eyes despite the reassurances of others. I have always garnered many compliments on my work but now these praises seemed as hollow as my former beliefs in art. When the gallery closed down I stopped making art for a long time and I did not feel the need to create. Even the daily drawings ceased for a brief period of time. I was a shadow of who I once was, an insect shell left behind after molting.

All of this was because I realized that the art world was simply a machine where in order for artists to survive they must create these commodity items bought by a very small audience of people. I felt obliged to create things that would sell. Is this so different from someone performing on command to please a passer by? This all seemed like the opposite of what I once strove for. So I walked away and the world did not miss my work, only more assurance that my art was not something that would of any importance.

Tonight has sparked change in me. I took part in the gallery walk, something I had not participated in for many months. There are no alternative galleries left in old town. What people were viewing was the same thing from gallery to gallery. Bland and generic art. The kind made devoid of passion.

This made me think that I do have something to say that is certainly different from the local vernacular. I also have something to contribute to the greater discussions in art. It seems that each artist must participate in the discussion for it is their duty to do so. A duty to further the progress of art. As an artist I know that my art can't save the world but it can add to it. Perhaps it will inspire someone to change in some way. These days being free of a gallery and the need to sell art to support myself I am able to create work the way I want to and talk of things important to myself. I am not bound to fulfill any destiny of greatness. In obscurity there is freedom. I am returning to the art world, even if it does not welcome me with open arms.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Rolfe, you are an inspired artist but that being said, it is not because you don't make "Bland and generic art. The kind made devoid of passion." (you don't make bland and generic but even if you did...) That's all crap and if you are sitting there thinking this is crap or that is crap then I personally feel that you are missing the point. Which is... you can not criticize others. You can not think what someone else is thinking. You only have your thoughts. So any thought you have about art is a mesh overlay on your art. I hope you will go out and marvel at art and especially the art that you have created. When I first encountered your pieces in the grocery in Fort Collins, I was delighted with it. It was just wonderful. I felt like I was in a playground with the most surprising and inspired free thinking talented artist i had encountered. I know we have parameters we deem good or bad, worthy or not worthy. But that is a lowly measuring stick. First of all you are a 1% er as far as art talent goes. The better measurement for you I believe is : doing it and sharing it. I think a great exercise for you would be to create a series - not too ambitious but something you might enjoy creating - and display it somewhere where you can watch peoples reactions. Adults, kids, youth, women, men, whoever - measure the participation anonymously. Find the joy you undoubtedly will receive when you see the joy others get from your expression. You have a gift. You have worked very hard developing that gift and for you to presume that you are not welcome with open arms to the art world makes me want to come smack you. You are the art world. The world is truly your oyster and you are the pearl. So quit any nonsense - verbal or otherwise that smacks of false modesty. How would you feel about a 1% er billionaire saying - I can't afford that? Exactly! And by the way, you have some work to do! Or do you? Have you already done it? Where is your personal web site. Where are your pieces for sale? What is your contract rate. Where have you published all the press you have gotten? What shows are you doing? What magazine has snatched you up. Do you have an exclusive contract w/ stock art company? Who is representing you?