Brady Street Fest 2023
I'm not a fancy person. Yes I make art...yes I hang that art in galleries...yes I hang out and talk to people about that art in said galleries, even occasionally selling something. But as much as that's somewhat required of an artist, it's never been "my goal" and it's far from my favorite part. I've always been more of a doer.
Come to an opening for a show I'm in and you'll most likely find me with a camera around my neck. Not really because I NEED to, but because it gives me something to do with my anxious energy. Give me a show and I'll most likely propose some kind live-painting performance. Again, not because I NEED to or it's expected, but because it's a free studio session, just out in public. Ask me to attend a street fest and I'll most likely volunteer to work it. Again...not because I need to, but i'd rather, in almost every situation, make art rather than simply be around it.
On that same token, as much as I love art museums, they're not necessarily great places to be an artist. Yes you get to see the icons of art history and explore art in the flesh, but you're also stuck in a stuffy, blindingly white cube in silence, shuffling around other people, avoiding eye contact, and trying not to alert the guards as to how close your getting to the artwork. To me, there's no place as simultaneously inspiring and stifling as your typical art museum...and the same goes for a lot of galleries, shows, and art-related interactions in general.
The art world is a strange place...and I think I'm realizing my best location is a bit outside it making art. Sometimes that may come across as less professional or established; sometimes that may seem unserious; other times it may just seem like I didn't or won't "make it". But the bottom line is that I'm going to keep making art whether or not I ever sell another painting, drawing, illustration or doodle, and I've grown to embrace that. It's not really about appearances, rules, branding, influence or sales, it's about making art, wherever that may be, whomever may encounter it, meaningful or not. The shows are great, the praise is welcome, the attention is fun, but I want to make art. It being appreciated and purchased is simply a byproduct.
This last weekend I enjoyed the sun and festivities out at Brady Street Fest with 3-4 paintings and illustrations in progress and a slew of work on paper for sale. There was a drag show at the bar next to me, I met at least hundred people, sold a few things, and got a few commissions in the process. I got a sunburn, a parking ticket, and some dirt embedded in the paint, but it was a far and welcome cry from the silent, stifling blindingly white walls so ubiquitous with art these days. Maybe, eventually, you'll find me in a white cube, giving an artist talk, and sipping cocktails (it's happened before), but I guarantee you, the second the lights go down in the gallery, I'll be holding a can of beer and a paintbrush, back in the studio or on the street, simply making art.