T.H.Pickett

artist
citizen

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Art in a Time of Recession


"Art is not about money", at least that what my friend Clayton says. "Are you making paintings to earn money?" This was a few years ago and he is certainly the walking embodiment of a hard working, life long artist and I was listening when he was challenging my motives but, with economy allegedly teetering on the brink of disaster I'm thinking about money and art and pressing ahead with an art career in an economic bad time.

What does it mean to art and an artist when the art-buying public is dwindling, when discretionary income is being clutched, when an art purchase seems frivolous? What I feel is discouraged. I picked the wrong time to launch a new career is what seeps into my thinking. So how am I going to proceed? ...Go back to school. That's what I am doing. I have been taking an class on artistic professionalism sponsored by The Artists Trust. We've been poring over our portfolios, looking for new sources for funding grants, retreats, fellowships, curating our own shows, finding off-the-path venues and alternative ways to further our careers. We're learning about networking. We're talking about book keeping and tax deductions. And, we're supporting each other. It's been good. It's raising the bar and that's what's happening when I go back into the studio and look at the work I've accumulated.

I realize it is not a time to put less than the very best that I can make out there. That's what the real lesson of this recession time is about. Honing my work to best it can be. Making it shine.