Posted By Kathleen David on April 28, 2006
I was informed last night in not so many words that I am not artist and should not be playing in the sandbox with other science fiction artists but stick to my doll and puppet people and leave them alone. One individual in a chat room almost ruined my evening. Now this person is not a moderator and the moderator who knows me just let it be which was probably the right thing to do in this case. The person shortly left the chat room after a couple of others started conversing with me.
From what I can sort out I stepped on his toes talking about digital art and the sale of prints based on digital art which is mostly how this person does their art. I was talking about people who use the “South Park” character generator and then print and sell the images as their own since they put them together. Apparently I used a hot button word for this person by saying Avatar. Everyone has to start somewhere but that is a start. Part of being an artist is expanding on what you know and have done.
The question to the room that started all this was
At what point should an artist be told they aren’t any good and they should stick with their day job?
Personally I would never tell anyone to stick to their day job. There are some artists that play well on the con circuit that would never be hired to do a book cover or professional illustration. There are some that do these professional gigs and don’t do well on the con circuit. And then there are the others that can flow between the two. There is art in art shows of all kinds that makes me wonder what the head of the show was thinking but it is their show and they have the right to say what is in and what is out.
Which led to another sore point about whether the directors of these shows should explain why you are not in their show. I say No they should not have to explain themselves. There are vagaries that they can say that cover all the bases and almost no one’s feelings get hurt. Apparently I was wrong in those thoughts as well according to this one person.
But there is another side of this that was never really discussed within the chat but did show up on the group list. As an artist, writer, fill in the creative blank you have to be able to take criticism of your work. You can choose whether you are going to listen to what is said or not but that is your choice. I put my snake puppet out for a group of puppeteers I admire and respect to look at. Some came back with comments that seemed a little harsh but valid as to what I was trying to do with the snake. I answered with additional information when asked and thought about the comments really hard. I ended up incorporating a couple of the suggestions and saying “different strokes” on others. In the end I ended up with a much better looking snake. If you want the “Oh that is so cool” comments then you have to take also the “not to be too critical but” comments as well. Both will make you a better artist.
I guess why I got so torqued was that I have been dealing with this “are dolls or puppets art” debate for a long time. (There is a costuming version of this but that is a whole other rant) I think you can guess what my position is on the matter. Believe me there is as much work in one of my pieces as there is in an elaborate oil painting. Sure I can’t exactly sell prints of my work unless I do photographs of my work but that is part and parcel of what I do. I am an artist and proud of that title.
On a totally different subject sort of. There is this puppeteer who does just wonderful stuff. He has been working on this goofy looking chicken for a while that is just a stitch to look at just on its own. I so want a plush of it. He showed us another piece he did a while ago that was this really spooky dead astronaut which reminded me of this dead body I did over 20 years ago for a play called the Changeling by Thomas Middleton. My brother borrowed the dead body of Diaphanta and we turned into Dead Elvis for one of the first Elvis parties he threw. To this day I can’t find my pictures of the body I made or of the Elvis it turned into. Got me to thinking about how much of my work is out there without any record other than my memory of making it. I think I need to be more careful of keeping a record of what I have done because I have done some pretty cool stuff in my time.
I am grateful that I stayed in the chat yesterday.