Thoughts On The Art World

I'm preparing for a small solo next year and the process has had me thinking about art, the art world and my place within it. I make art because I must, not because I want to sell thousands, become famous or a businessman (I'm dreadful at the admin side). I've been researching a number of artists from the mid twentieth century to the 1970s such as Eva Hesse, Carolee Schneeman and others and one thing that struck me about their early practice was the lack of commodification. It was a different time, rents were cheap among other things and art was made for the sake of exploration, creating something new and exciting and the general exchange of concepts and ideas with other artists. The exchange of ideas was paramount.


I can't help but feel we live presently in a time of immense commodification if you don't sell profusely, you aren't valid and cannot call yourself an artist. This constant push to create commercially viable work stifles creativity and leads to many losing the confidence to create just because they have something to say. They feel that inner voice should be quietened, replaced with the voice they think others want to hear and see. This is just my opinion yours may differ.

An artist friend said to me once I wish I was a successful artist, my reply to her was "what is your measure of success? You create meaningful, intriguing works, you've exhibited multiple times over the last couple of years through a pandemic and you are true to yourself, we are successful artists!"

I'm not perfect, I often feel the pressure to change what I create its style or temper its emotional content but without that I wouldn't be the artist I have to be. What do you think, do you feel the pressure to conform?

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