borndirty

Go Back   Dirty Forums > process.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-11-2012, 01:46 PM
joethelion joethelion is offline
needing Diet Mountain Dew
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,793
Default a 'successful' artist

Ok -

So, as I'm finishing up my MFA program in Glasgow... amongst all of my duties relating to professional practice, arranging (and participating in) multiple shows, making new work and you know... eating & sleeping.

I also have to write a (rather lengthy) dissertation.

For this project - I've decided to produce something sort of in line with the KLF's "The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way)" ... but instead of having it be about making a 'one hit wonder' - it's going to be about how to be a 'successful artist' so like...

...it's definitely going to be (slightly) tongue-in-cheek, but at the same time, I am going to be giving some actual good information and tips (so like... what forms / agreements need to be made, etiquette dealing with galleries and other artists, stuff like - how to apply for grants, and so on... and so on...)

Basically, I've been scanning through multiple artist biographies (trying to find correlations between different artists), professional practice books like "Art/Work" [which btw, it a worthwhile read]

So... given all of that - you might be asking why I'm giving all this information

Well, part of the project is - I'd like to know how you guys define a 'successful artist' (and... if you've got a bit of time, mmmmmaybe what you think you have to do in order to reach that point)***. Like, one section of it will be about the definition of a 'successful artist' and I'd like to include input from a wide variety of people (like I'm including quotes from my tutors, presentations, interviews with artists, and so on and so forth)

I'd be much appreciated if anyone could give their input about what they think about being a 'successful artist'


***for example - during my critique over the presentation for my project -> some people said 'oh you have to make a beautiful work' 'it's about making money' 'you can't define success, someone who dies penniless in obscurity is as successful as Jeff Koons' 'you have to be rich & white' 'a successful artist is someone who can support themselves with their work' 'a person who creates a work that touches someone' 'You win the Turner Prize (which coincidentally is impossible unless you're British) etc etc etc

Last edited by joethelion; 03-11-2012 at 02:57 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-11-2012, 07:57 PM
Champiness Champiness is offline
Once again the superstar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 549
Default Re: a 'successful' artist

I'd say it's about communicating something meaningful to the greatest number of people possible. So basically a combination of the "popularity" and "artistic integrity" bits, a la UW themselves.
Anyway I'd really like to see the finished product! Keep me posted!
__________________
"What's 'your' good news today?"
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-12-2012, 12:25 PM
Andrea Andrea is offline
light at heart
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 966
Default Re: a 'successful' artist

hmm... itīs not about the artist, itīs about people in general... right?
In that case itīs very individual, I think. Some cannot feel the success in spite of lots of money or fame, while others can feel it through the smallest breakthrough.
__________________
a bit of life a kiss of love in a tiny circle - o
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-14-2012, 08:13 AM
froopy seal froopy seal is offline
amazinglytogetherpinniped
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Cheezeburg
Posts: 915
Send a message via ICQ to froopy seal
Default Re: a 'successful' artist

From people's talk and media coverage, I have the impression that an artist or work of art is considered 'successful' if the revenues provide for a level of income that is sufficient to lead a materially pleasant life or at least the continuation of art-making, free of material worries.

Thinking about it, I myself am, in theory, more in line with Champ's and Andrea's point of 'reaching the hearts and minds of the audience'. Nonetheless, in everyday talk, I'd most probably be caught employing the phrase 'successful artist' in a manner outlined in the first paragraph.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-14-2012, 02:14 PM
mickstafa mickstafa is offline
river
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 27
Default Re: a 'successful' artist

I subscribe to what Robert Fripp told me a few years ago relating to the seven regions of influence, if we are talking about success measured from an external perspective. I found a transcript from him speaking about this at a different time:

"There are seven geographical regions of influence, depending upon your quality as a musician, artist or performer that you can move into. The first is domestic, will your aunt sit and listen to you playing? If your aunt, mother and siblings won’t come home to listen to you play, probably get off at this point. But if your aunt likes it, you can probably get the gig in the village hall. So you go from domestic to local, to regional, to national, to international, to global to interplanetary. Now, if we think that interplanetary is a real dumb thing to say, we find this in current record contracts, you don’t sign for the world now, you sign for space."
http://percy3.wordpress.com/2010/02/...-robert-fripp/

From an internal perspective, I also agree with Fripp's point of view (it isn't in the link I just posted) where there are four levels of mastery: Novice, Skilled, Master, and Genius. The latter can only be given whereas the first three can be acquired, through practice. The more important question is, if being a genius is a gift, who is the giver? My answer: God and Love.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-14-2012, 06:21 PM
joethelion joethelion is offline
needing Diet Mountain Dew
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,793
Default Re: a 'successful' artist

thanks for the input guys...

the more the better. I'm thinking I'm going to have the dissertation be kinda like four different sections;

• one will just be a pretty straight "paper"
• I'd like to get as many quotes as possible about 'being successful' and have that be a section in itself
• forms / contracts that you need to have in order to make sure you don't get taken advantage of (by galleries / collectors / etc)
• a timeline / map / diagram plotting out different career paths...
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-15-2012, 01:54 AM
froopy seal froopy seal is offline
amazinglytogetherpinniped
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Cheezeburg
Posts: 915
Send a message via ICQ to froopy seal
Default Re: a 'successful' artist

Cool. Once you're done you will have to write a Meta-Manual on how to write art career manuals...
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-15-2012, 07:38 AM
crank crank is offline
I'm a big sister
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: somewhere between waking and sleeping
Posts: 940
Default Re: a 'successful' artist

Yeah, but was Van Gogh "Successful? How is success measured? Self success/ satisfaction is more important than money no?

Van Gogh had to paint. I think it was in his blood. he couldn't NOT paint...
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-16-2012, 02:09 PM
Andrea Andrea is offline
light at heart
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 966
Default Re: a 'successful' artist

Yes, something like that...

But joethelion has right, once you study this "success phenomena" from a different angle, in this case as material success, you realise that e.g. all well known R&B artists (and they are quite many by now) are actually not only successful but also very talented. In fact, the money they bring in is enough to qualifying in to a Van Gogh. Or at least this is what joethelion wants to describe in that section I think.

Btw. I wonder if 100 years from now people still care about Van Goghs, Rachmaninoffs and Hundertwassers or if art and artist are like fast food, like disposable.
(Back to the Future...? always loved that film )
__________________
a bit of life a kiss of love in a tiny circle - o
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-16-2012, 07:10 PM
joethelion joethelion is offline
needing Diet Mountain Dew
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,793
Default Re: a 'successful' artist

right - it's all a bit open to interpretation on how one would gauge what it means to be successful
(which is why I'm trying to get multiple interpretations, which will be given as 'alternate positions' to my idea)

because ... if someone makes the 'most brilliant, emotionally intriguing, and thought provoking piece of artwork imaginable' - but then squanders their career, destroys it, or doesn't promote it - is that artist actually successful? sort of like - if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it - does it make a sound.

and Van Gogh is kinda a tricky person if you look a bit more into him.

(bit of a disclaimer before I say this... I actually quite like his work, and feel that he is one of the most important painters... well... probably ever)

There's definitely the romanticized perception of him as 'the tragic artist' but then... there's also another view of him I've started to see; I'm over simplifying quite a bit here but...

He was also a manic-depressive, ego-centric art collector* that started painting merely as a method to get a regular pay check (he thought he'd make $$$ by doing portraits) and there's even a quote at the Van Gogh museum where he says (I'm paraphrasing) "I want to do something that'll make me famous for a loooongggg time".

And it's like - how much of the perception of the 'artistic value' of Van Gogh's work colored by the "story" of the tragic artist... and how much of that narrative was constructed by Van Gogh's sister-in-law? Plus there's the recent report that Gauguin cut off his ear or how Van Gogh didn't commit suicide

...which kind of makes you think - if it wasn't for these types of stories, would collectors (back in the day) have wanted his work? It's kind of like the "hoax of Nat Tate"


* like seriously - that's what he did with his brother for ages, and - if you've ever been to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam - you'll see how large of a collection he had


---------

Now personally - how I would classify a "successful artist" would be something along the lines of:

Someone who can influence cultural change over an extended period of time... or at the least can make a "comfortable" living based solely on the construction (and sale) of their work. Now - this would also have to be done without compromising one's own integrity ... which in itself is a tricky situation.

Which is why I want to make a bit of a guide ... because it's freaking SCARY how often artists are flat-out exploited by collectors, galleries, and others.

Like, during a 'professional practice' lecture/discussion I went to last week, two of my classmates (who have pieces in a 'proper gallery') were saying how the gallerist 'was their friend' ... who often times doesn't give them their 50% cut of the sale of their work for over six months at a time... and it's like - no - the gallery owner is NOT your friend, they are a business partner, and it limits their expenses by not paying you. Plus ...it's nuts how often I've seen "the relationship between an artist and a gallery is like a marriage" - again... it's NOT.

Or like - if you sell a work to someone - they own the piece, meaning that - if you don't have a formal, signed legal document... they - theoretically - could just start copying and reprinting that image (and make money off the sale of these copies)

...or - how an "emerging artist" is essentially the same as a "new independent business venture" ...especially with concerns of identifying your target market (audience), managing expenses, generating value and so on...

...ok - I feel like I'm kinda jumping all over the place now - and most of this probably sounds like ...well nonsense.

Last edited by joethelion; 03-16-2012 at 07:12 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.