Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sixty minute artist? Why I blog.

I am starting this blog for one very simple reason: I need to make art to keep me from going crazy, and I have very little time to do it. So a few weeks back, I set a challenge for myself. Give myself a minimum of sixty minutes a day for making art--and within this time achieve what I am after--to develop as an artist. So, through this blog I am going to let you follow my progress. An example of the type of work I do is above.

The myth of the starving artist is dead. We are real people, many of us have full-time jobs, family, and we have been forced by circumstance to fit art into an otherwise hectic schedule. I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of other artist out there with the same problem I have--how to fit art into a busy life. Even full-time artist don't paint all day. So, the natural question is "how much time is enough?"

After years of trying various approaches, I have come to the conclusion that the minimum amount of time you need to make art on a daily basis is around one hour (hence, the sixty minute artist). On the other hand, more is better...up to a point. So, I am not trying to convince you that you can make or sustain yourself as an artist on sixty minutes a day--some days you will have a bit more time (weekends?) and some less. What I am trying to say--is that as a practicing artist there are ways of achieving what you want out of your art if you can give it a minimum of sixty minutes a day.

I am not advocating this system for everyone. Like all artist, I have my fantasies, of course. I would love to be a full-time artist and sit around the studio making paintings all day--and then suddenly be discovered by an art gallery and live happily ever after. But, after 15 years of painting, I realize this is not very likely to happen. In fact, I took two years off from my job and tried being a full-time artist-and I can tell you it is not all it is cracked up to be. I moved to New Mexico, had two solo shows, and made a grand total of $8000. And I was successful by most standards. What did I get in return? First, I had 12-16 hours a day to worry about my art--was it going in the right direction, would it sell, etc. I spent a lot of time admiring other artist making more money, trying to sell art, thinking about marketing, etc. I did a lot of fishing--mainly to avoid painting. Let me tell you, being a full time artist was a full time job--and I actually only spent around 4-5 hours a day painting on my best day. The rest was mostly an unstructured neurotic mess.

In following blogs, I will start on the details of how to do it--or at least the secrets I have found. That is, how real people, make real art on a daily basis without quitting their job.
In the meantime, just to let you know I am not crazy--here is a link to a guy who is doing something similar--a painting a day (PAD). Duane Keiser is an artist living in Richmond, VA, who decided that he needed to reach a broader audience with his work and started a blog. It is worth a look. And BTW, we both went to the same college. He has been written up in USAToday.

Also, check this book out if you are a painter. It gives some good practical advice on how to paint more efficiently and grow by doing sixty minute studies--or less. I have tried the exercises in the book and they work.

More later. The sixtyminuteartist.

14 comments:

cindy said...

Interesting concept. Dear god it takes me almost that long to set up, shoo the cat away from the either the palette or the still life.

I love this painting and I think I will try this next week.
Thank you for the inspiration!

gwadzilla said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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