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Re: "what's it fer?"

In a message dated 09/28/99 7:05:25 PM, malcolm@UPTONS.NET writes:

<< Some have talked about how their art is valuable even if no
one understands it.  Sorry, value is in the eye of the consumer.  If your
audience doesn't understand it, if they don't know what to do with it, if
they don't think it is valuable, it is worth less than the materials it is
made from.  >>

The issue of sale to a consumer is quite separate from the motivation to
create. The fact that someone on this list can make the above statement in
utter confidence (arrogance?) that he/she is right only illustrates the
success of a market "culture" in which art is no longer taught in the
schools, even highly educated people can remain abyssmally ignorant about the
"purpose" of art, and artists are beset with doubts about the value of their
calling. While I enjoy it when my work sells (and I certainly can use the
money when it does), the desire to make work that WILL sell is insufficient
motivation for making it. In fact, during periods of my creative life when
that was my primary focus, the ability to go on creating nearly died. While I
can't speak for what motivates others, I have found that an enjoyment in the
process itself, without worrying about the end product or its possible
"value" or usefulness, is what fires my imagination and makes me want to make
more. Art is the only thing I have ever done (and I use the term to include
all forms of art) that truly nourishes me, enlarging my life and my soul. Art
is the only thing I give my energy to that, reliably, always gives back more
than I have given it. This is not, nor will it ever be, an act of mere
commerce. Barbara Harman

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