Monday, July 6, 2015

The Fire Behind Sparks is Sputtering Under Smothering Doubt

"ZurZig the Magnificent"
I'm behind in posting pictures of work for my upcoming August show titled Sparks of Madness. I had been working steadily throughout most of June but admittedly, in the last couple of weeks, my time spent painting has given way to less intimidating projects like journaling and jewelry-making. Basically, I'm procrastinating with crafts. I am plagued with doubts about the wisdom of hanging an entire show of 
monster paintings; I worry about how it will be received 
(financially and critically) and it's too late now to shift gears. With 13 pieces done so far, I need to complete another 20 paintings or so in the next 28 days to have a comfortably full display and yet every canvas I commit to creature creation makes me increasingly nervous. I love painting these guys more than I've ever loved painting anything else but boy! I really feel like I am standing on my tippy-toes on the smallest twig at the end of the highest branch of a very tall tree swaying in a very fierce wind.
"Baron von Ziegfield"

In past years, I've always shown at this particular venue in October but this year, due to a scheduling snafu, I had to take whatever slot was available and that meant August. I think I might feel better if this show was going up closer to Halloween since the subject matter might make more sense in the eyes of the audience. I don't need any justification for drawing and painting monsters (other than I want to) but I think the world at large might need it. There are deeper reasons why I am so enthralled with creatures and critters but I'm not sure my explanations would sound anything but weird to most people.

Originally, I thought I would split my Motley Menagerie show into two parts: I'd do a series of monster paintings under the name, Sparks of Madness, and then another series of more "traditional" images that would beef up the collection of Menagerie pieces I still have in-house. I'm running out of time but I'm also running out of enthusiasm for the original, two-pronged show concept. As much as a show entirely populated by monsters terrifies me, I'm equally appalled by the notion that they need to take second billing next to more "acceptable" and "marketable" works. In fact, if I'm honest, I am a little annoyed that I even have to have this conversation with myself. It is a reasonable, practical, and timeless argument but irritating nonetheless. And yes, I have already had more than one person say, right to my face, that while these monsters were "cute," they weren't really "living room" appropriate. Hence, the doubt that is smothering my passion for this project. I know, I know...screw what other people think. Easier said than done...

Anyhow, I think I'm going to just leap off the teeny tiny branch of comfort zone I'm standing on and see what happens. Whether disastrous or successful, the journey (and the landing) will be dazzling either way.    

8 comments:

Ami said...

Wow. That's quite something, that someone's main criteria by which to judge art is how nice it would look hanging in a living room. I'm sorry that comment wormed its way under your skin and started sowing those seeds of doubt. I think that you're onto something, that the context of the presentation can definitely make a difference, and maybe making the full leap to disclosing what their origin & importance is to you will be the added info that people need to "get it" just enough more for it to be best received. Either way, I'll be interested in the result.

groovydoovyartstudio.com said...

Regarding the person who said "while these monsters were "cute," they weren't really "living room" appropriate", gah, don't listen to her. She is NOT your target audience. These are brilliantly creative, playful pieces with an astounding color palette. It IS really tough, because you want to do stuff you love (and boy, you SHOULD be loving these pieces), but realistically, you need to sell stuff as well. Stay with this series. Crazy, wild, creative people will buy these pieces, they are fabulous.

suzieq23 said...

I only have one word (or maybe a few more) for your art -AMAZING!!!so creative and colorful and professional. I know why I question my amateur art, but your paintings for your show are incredible!!! Please, know that you will do well and be praised beyond belief. you dont know me but please believe me.....I believe in you. Love your art!

Jennifer Shelby said...

I think it's good to be a little scared. After all, monsters have always gone hand in hand with fear. It's just what they do. I love these guys, if I walked into a show full of them I'd be wearing out the ol' visa in a heartbeat.

Leone said...

It's most important to paint what you LOVE, it shows through in the finished product. If you are not painting what you love what is the point in painting? You know that's just the old critic sitting on your shoulder giving you a hard time!! The paintings are beautiful. GO FOR IT!!

Carin Winkelman said...

I think the fact that you are so worried and scared shows exactly how much these paintings mean to you and how important it is to go through with them. If it helps: I absolutely love them and wouldn't mind one in my living room at all (I'm not sure I get why they would not be living room material) if I could afford them that is, haha.
The fact of the matter remains that you cannot make other people love your work no matter what, but I still would say it is preferable that some love the work that you love than that everybody loves the work that you don't love yourself. Of course I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everybody will love your monsters, because they are fantastic! ;-)

Marion Quinn said...

Hi Michelle! Keep at it. Your blog and email postings are inspiring, informative and energetic. I have been following you for only a few months but have gleaned many delightful influences for my own work. For heaven's sake turn OFF that inner critic! Stay on your own paths as they are truly your own and add loads of contributions to the art world. I love you and your Stendak-like friendly "monsters". They should be welcome in many homes.

Anonymous said...

They would look most at home in my living room. Keep going. You're work is fabulous.
IndigoLizard.

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