Thursday, March 4, 2010
You never know what Google might turn up. Last night an online discussion was brought to my attention that asks the question "Why is every piece of so-called art "created" by Christi Sobel an uninspired unoriginal cliche cartoon?" You can read all about it here if the link still works. It's an interesting experience to find yourself and your work being discussed in a third-party sort of way.
My first thought was actually to be flattered. That sufficient people have seen my work and thought about it enough for someone to have developed a strong negative opinion is a perverse sort of praise. I don't mind critique, a bold dissenting voice can point out flaws that can be improved and push us to move forward and grow. I also appreciate the fact that not everyone is going to like my paintings, and that's totally fine...I don't like every piece of art I see either. Just to be clear, I'm not offended that my work is not to everyone's taste.
A point I can take from Glenda is that yes, I would like to spend more time developing my painting and growing in that direction. I'd like nothing better. Life gets in the way though, things like making enough money to eat and live and buy the occasional plane ticket is pretty important. Of course I'd rather paint than spend my time making bookmarks, but it's sure better and more true than taking on some job I don't care about just to make income (my housecleaning and waitressing days are a thing of the past). I wish I had the luxury to just paint. This is a constant and central struggle I have...and every graphic design job I take I am thankful for because it pays the rent, but it takes time away from growing my art. I sometimes feel stagnant in my growth as an artist because of the time-and-income issue. If you have any suggestions on how to find that balance I'd love to hear them.
However, I have a few replies for Josh and Glenda and company and their condescending armchair-observer comments regarding my work and how I choose to run my business. I am dedicated to being an artist, for me that means I support myself 100% with my creative output one way or another. I honor and prioritize and allow free reign to my creativity, and am insulted to be told that my potential is limited, my visions are shallow, and that I'm not a True Artist because part of what I do is sell my work as reproductions via my website. I have always disliked having my art referred to as "cute" (although I personally don't mind being thought of as youthful). It is also an insult to be told that I am not a professional but merely a "nice young woman who is making an honest go of it." I love giving the world accessible art, and hear positive comments every day how it speaks to people. Right now I love painting with shocking blue. I am also proud of my skills as a scientific illustrator, and feel that since I have learned how to paint realistically I can now choose to avoid realism when I wish to.
I don't really need to spend the energy defending myself any further. To counterpoint the negative juju, tonight I walked into the Chapter House to meet up with some arty friends before gallery night, and the man behind the bar greeted me with, "oh hey, my wife and I love your work! We just moved and and finally have a chance to put all of the paintings we have of yours up on the walls..."