Friday, April 29, 2011

I’m confused.

I spent the evening at the Stutz Artists Open House in Indianapolis.  For those unfamiliar with the Stutz Building:
Harry Stutz, founder of the Stutz Motorcar Company, built and headquartered his car company at the present day Stutz I and II [buildings] from 1911 to 1919. Stutz is remembered for many things, including the Bearcat which raced in the first Indianapolis 500 and was built at his factory.
openhouse2011The factory is now a business center and art complex with studios and gallery space.  More info.
I had high hopes.  After all, if you can afford to rent studio space in downtown Indy, in the heart of the best known art complex in town, you are FREAKIN’ AWESOME, right?
Some of the artists actually were FREAKIN’ AWESOME.   It was certainly not the common thread. 
Most of them just seemed to be average Joes, producing average art.  Not a bad thing.  But what I found interesting (and confusing) was that the ones who produced stunning work, full of both comprehensible symbolism and beautiful design, were the ones whose studios were mostly empty of crowds. 
The crowds were shoulder to shoulder in the studios full of formulaic, generic style art.  Granted, it was well done.  The perspective was perfect, the chiaroscuro impeccable, the subject matter well composed, if less than original. 
Was is because they were more generous with their food and wine?  Was it because I can’t tell a stunning work of art from a piece of crap?  Was it because the public wants what they are told that everybody else likes (referrence the popularity of Thomas Kincade)?
I don’t know.
That’s why I’m confused.


  1. Are is a conundrum. Every time I think that i know what people want, I discover that I have NO IDEA what people want.

    It's not that I would change my art to please anyone, it's just nice to know what people are actually out there rooting for. It's a mystery to me.

    A good film along the lines of this post is "Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop". It's a bit drawn out but the long and short of it is, anyone can make art and be successful. It's really more about the buzz than the artwork.

  2. Well it is hard for us, as artists, to "know what people want" because I think the people don't know themselves what they want! But I, like you, can't ever see myself producing things just because I think they will sell. I know myself well enough to say that I would end up producing a lot of crap, because I wouldn't care about the end product enough. I have to like it.

    I will have to look up that movie. I cling to the words "anyone can make art and be successful."



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