Monday, March 29, 2010

My kid could do that!

               One of my favorite artist quotes... by Basquiat...  This painting hangs in my new studio space.

I think this sentiment of Jean-Michel Basquiat resonates with most abstract artists.  I can actually draw really well, but I prefer to express myself in the non-objective world.  I've overheard people looking at my work in galleries...some of the commentary was positive, some of it -  not so much.  I've heard: "I don't get it." "What is it?" "It's interesting, but it wouldn't match my furniture."  Then there's my favorite: the age old "my kid could do that!"  These days, I hear the unfiltered comments as I'm working in an open studio and people are free to come in and observe.  They are nice about it, but they still say stuff like "well I'm just not sure I understand abstract art." Or: I love this one: "How do you know what you're doing?"

Honestly, when I shifted towards non-objective work from spending a lot of time on traditional oil paintings of still-lifes, landscapes and doggie portraits - my husband and friends thought I had officially lost it.  I mean, I was always a square peg...but this seemed to seal the deal.  At first, I really struggled.  I knew what I liked when I went to galleries, but I didn't want to be a copy cat artist. I wanted to make authentic work that was my own.  I took some really crappy workshops with some ego-maniac artists: I shall not name them - but they were complete idiots. My friend and I actually left in the middle of one and headed for the hotel bar...we learned more there!

Then I began studying with a really great teacher, Steve Aimone, who led me down the wondrous rabbit hole of non-objective study.  He had me do new and different kinds of drawing.  He guided me on shape making as a form of self portraiture. He helped me to understand the hows and whys of non-objective work.  He guided me towards the great abstract expressionists of the 50s and 60s.  He introduced me to contemporary artists I had never even heard of.  How had I missed all of this????  I began to study art and art history in a way I'd never done before. I began to experiment with a new medium: Acrylics and all the mediums that go with them.  I was hooked and I've never looked back.  Yes, I can still draw...and I do.  But I LOVE MY ART... and so what if people think their kid can do it?  I suggest they go out and buy some canvas and paint and let the kid have at it.  ( But - by the's not as easy as it looks.)