What major need I am fulfilling with my art (besides my own)? What problem am I solving through my paintings?
Answering these questions is key in focusing my intent of my art practice, as well as targeting my marketing efforts.
I have grappled with these questions. When I taught art at the public schools, or even through the Steamboat Art Museum Education Outreach program, it was an easy answer. Art education is fundamental to the development of well-rounded citizens who understand complex problems and have myriad tools to solve them. Any outreach with kids that helps them develop their creative voice is important, for all of us.
However, now that I am a full-time professional artist, making my case for how I spend my day is a little harder. I know that I am fulfilling my own passions, finding my own voice, but what good does that do everyone else? How am I contributing? What problems am I solving? It has to be more important than just putting another pretty picture on the wall.
Then, listening to a report about our 3rd Industrial Revolution (the dot-com boom) on Freakonomics, it hit me. We humans are equally enamored with and terrified of our new technology. We hungrily check our smart phones for updates and notifications. And yet, we are fearful of computers taking away our jobs, our choice, our humanness. That’s where art comes in.
Technology can drive our cars, but it cannot create paintings. Sure, images can be rendered digitally, that’s true. But I am talking about paintings. Real-life, juicy brushstrokes. Paintings that capture my view of the world and the sometimes heart-wrenching process of putting that view on a canvas with colors and values and lines. This kind of hand-made interaction with the world can only be done by a human.
So, I am here to say that the true purpose of my art, the true need it fulfills is this:
“Helping people stay human through art.”