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  #1  
Old 05-28-2010, 11:40 AM
KatyL KatyL is offline
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Red face Changing Genres?

I think I am at a juncture of some kind, artistically but my instincts are being squashed by a self proclaimed advisor who disrespects me when I do not accept his "sage" advice.

This person has tried to bully me into restricting the "Genre" of my work in ways that I find anti-artistic. (I will point out now that he is a music composer who does the same thing again and again and is not very successful-- He is not prolific and frankly, he is not good either-- In fact, I should not listen to his advice). I know there is a "marketing" philosophy where you pretty much have to do the same thing again and again. The last gallery I was involved with wanted much of the same thing. If they liked a picture of a boat, I had to continue doing paintings of boats until I was sick of boats.

I have been working on a variety of themes all my life in much of my work -- From realistic animals to wild SF type art, and I do not want to be trapped in any one "formula." I thought that It would be fun to do the horse, and maybe some cowboy art, but I am actually not so interested in that either. I kind of want to do wild philosophical art-- abstraction but using "realistic" objects-- sort of "surrealistic." (Salvidor Dali-type things)

I like to do very realistic work, but on the other hand, why not sculpt an atom or a fallopian tube? I really don't want to necessarily do things that are Bourgeois, doing western scenes or horse sculptures like Thomas Kincaid does cute little villages. I got into art to do more than just photographically try to reproduce things in the environment or bolster societies' stereotypes and myths-- I think I can do better than that. I do enjoy academic art, but so what? I liked grade school too--

I am not sure I am making sense, but sculpture is rather expensive to do, and I don't want a lot of pieces hanging around that are not marketable. I tend to feel that the idea of art is not to do the same thing as everyone else.

I was searching the topics and came across this thread-- http://www.sculpture.net/community/s...rket+sculpture there is a place where someone says (to paraphrase) "do it all because you don't know what will catch someone's fancy" or something similar. I tend to believe this, but I am in a kind of battle with "well meaning" people who think I should offer only one product-- and what I think of as the realistic side of art, and that is that you have to create the urge simply by producing something that someone did not know they wanted. -- ??? Otherwise, they would go to a much more established artist. And simply copying what another artist was good at is not going to get anyone very far-- you have to be the leader in a way.

So can I ask general opinions on "Genre"? Can I ask:
Do you follow a genre?
Which one?
Do you deviate?
Do you think it is a good/bad idea to use/not use a genre?
If you just make art that suits your whim, is it acceptable at a gallery level? --

What is a genre that is not a genre? In other words, could I say that I am a "metaphysical" artist who "explores the psyche of (whatever)" and let it go at that and then do whatever I want to explore this "place?"
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  #2  
Old 05-28-2010, 11:57 AM
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jOe~ jOe~ is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

Quote:
I am a "metaphysical" artist who "explores the psyche of (whatever)" and let it go at that and then do whatever I want to explore this "place?"
That was a lot of writing to find yourself in the very last sentence. Actually, its not that much compared to what I've gone through. Note the signature line I adopted a few days ago.
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Old 05-28-2010, 12:51 PM
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mantrid mantrid is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

If you want to make a living from art then I think you have to give them what they ask for (galleries etc). If you dont need to make your living from it do what makes you happy and if you are lucky people will buy it, but if they dont then so what.
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  #4  
Old 05-28-2010, 01:08 PM
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Re: Changing Genres?

Quote:
This person has tried to bully me into restricting the "Genre" of my work in ways that I find anti-artistic. (I will point out now that he is a music composer who does the same thing again and again and is not very successful-- He is not prolific and frankly, he is not good either-- In fact, I should not listen to his advice). I know there is a "marketing" philosophy where you pretty much have to do the same thing again and again. The last gallery I was involved with wanted much of the same thing. If they liked a picture of a boat, I had to continue doing paintings of boats until I was sick of boats.

I have been working on a variety of themes all my life in much of my work -- From realistic animals to wild SF type art, and I do not want to be trapped in any one "formula." I thought that It would be fun to do the horse, and maybe some cowboy art, but I am actually not so interested in that either. I kind of want to do wild philosophical art-- abstraction but using "realistic" objects-- sort of "surrealistic." (Salvidor Dali-type things)
Katy,

I am thinking you already have the answer to your question. Friends don't "bully" they support, they suggest. People who would "bully" you might think they are trying to help you. Same with galleries.

To elaborate. Galleries want a "brand" to sell so that when two people strike up a conversation about you they can say - " Yeah I really like her dystopian themelogy on the antecedents of birds" or some such twaddle. But it is harder for people & galleries to talk about your art if it is several different things - such as paintings, bas-reliefs, or cut & crumpled paper.

So to solve this you can have several different audiences. Show select audiences & galleries only one style of work. If they accept it, leave it at that for quite a while. Do this for each artform you delve into. You could have 3 different types of artform and 3 different sets of galleries.

Most people are very linear. They can only do one thing at a time. They know if they do more than one thing at a time the new, added on items will suffer. Your friend the bully and galleries are like this.

So my advice is to drop the bully unless it is a loved and cherished one. If they are a loved & chershed one, then let them know that their "help" & "advice" is no longer needed nor desired. Remeber they only want to help in their own misguided way. Go with your initial feeling. It is correct for you. It is not correct for others.

Carl
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  #5  
Old 05-28-2010, 02:47 PM
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The Forge The Forge is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

I believe that an artist is never so stringent in their works that they don't wander in their creativity. As an example, I am a sculptor whose medium is welded steel. But, that can lead me to many, varied creations. So, when I exhibit, my works attract many different people because there is always something that each person likes or dislikes. The separating lines between 'genres' are so faint that one cannot help to cross them many times in one creation. Kind of like saying " a sculptor who uses the steel like a painter would use his brush strokes".
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  #6  
Old 05-28-2010, 05:08 PM
KatyL KatyL is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

Maybe I am thinking of " starving artist syndrome" and the whole "diversify your income streams. I am a fairly good painter, Sculptor, printmaker, and novelist. I feel that a person can do all those things, just as one can be a film-maker, illustrator, and play write or any other combination of skills. I keep hearing that I should limit myself. I don't see why I cant make a fabulous bronze publish a book, paint pictures, show in galleries, and work at some job as well. I do not feel that we people should settle for only one focus. I think that is only modern "work-theory" or something. IE you can only do the last job you did.
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  #7  
Old 05-28-2010, 05:44 PM
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Re: Changing Genres?

Katyl, I have been doing my own thing for over 20 years.
(http://www.glennterryart.com {last updated in 2003...been busy})My thing has been what you describe regarding working in a variety of media. Most of my work is by commission, and I don't market through galleries.

One might assume that commission work is not "doing my own thing", and one would have assumed incorrectly.

There are many avenues do create and to sell ones art. But the bottom line is well stated by jOe's signiature line. Somebody else's bottom line has been well described by tonofelephant.

You are accountable for your life and what you do with it. If you believe in yourself and give all of that self into your art, lesser but practical concerns like marketing will come together despite what the narrow-minded advisors who want to keep you in a labeled box have to say. Your voice when given inspired effort will be get the attention it deserves.

Your question could also be divided this way: What is more important to me, doing what I have to no matter the compromise in order to make the most money, or doing that which my soul came to earth wanting to do using my creative talents to express my unique vision and insights?
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  #8  
Old 05-28-2010, 07:33 PM
Giotto Giotto is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennT View Post
....... or doing that which my soul came to earth wanting to do using my creative talents to express my unique vision and insights?

There can be no higher goal in art than this...

G
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  #9  
Old 05-28-2010, 09:09 PM
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Re: Changing Genres?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatyL View Post
So can I ask general opinions on "Genre"? Can I ask:
Do you follow a genre?
Which one?
Do you deviate?
Do you think it is a good/bad idea to use/not use a genre?
If you just make art that suits your whim, is it acceptable at a gallery level? --

What is a genre that is not a genre? In other words, could I say that I am a "metaphysical" artist who "explores the psyche of (whatever)" and let it go at that and then do whatever I want to explore this "place?"
1, no, the idea of genre like style is outmoded and exploded. its only in retentive market driven situations [US and France] that it seems to survive against the direction of flow.
2 being free about 'what kind of artist am i or want to be' .. or ditching it actually more likely achieves that curious goal.
3 galleries.... they can select what they want to sell from what u have. let them do this and ignore them. they are not artists just salespeople. what is acceptable to them is money. as an ancient prophet said.. give unto caeser that which is caesers' -then live and be. then maybe join the fringe, make your own shows with others who identify. it wont limit u.

as for your friend above .. i recall a tutor 1100 years ago was giving me this received diatribe.... i told him not to give me his problems... case closed.
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  #10  
Old 05-29-2010, 09:17 AM
KatyL KatyL is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

A lot of on-point, realistic replies here. I think that many artists have these kinds of thoughts. It is like the answer is "don't compromise your vision" and yet the only people who can make money for you say "compromise." The devil's deal, eh?

This is what I used to believe when I was a student. I could do a series of lithographs on "pollution" and then turn around and paint several pretty landscapes, and then do a minimalist statue out of concrete. The thoughts of my intrusive "friend" is that I am not allowed to do all of that. I have to settle on one mode of expression, and also settle on one theme or topic (genre).

Now, I certainly feel that I should do more than one of each thing I do-- as a series-- but after I exhaust (for me at that time and place) my interest, then I should be able to move on. I can see someone remaining interested in a subject-- if they are being paid for it. I do want to become a 100% professional, but also, I think I should be able to do a lot of experimentation.

Thanks for the great replies.
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  #11  
Old 05-30-2010, 07:49 AM
grommet grommet is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

I also think that broader diversity (in experimentation) can lead to more interesting combinations down the road. Who said your education ends when you leave school? You're merely nurturing many paths for future integration, which will be clear to the onlookers later.
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  #12  
Old 05-30-2010, 08:50 AM
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Re: Changing Genres?

Hi, You do have to find your own way, you know that. If you do that, everything will fall into place. You can't force work and if you are, it's probably not very good.
Personally, I make non objective welded steel sculpture and my style and the look of my work has evolved over the years to the point where it's recognizable as mine and in that sense, you might say I work in series. Well, I don't consciously do that and if it appears that way, it's only because I follow my bliss and it all seems to go in that direction.
I also experiment with different genre, different mediums, clay, fiberglas, stone, 2d stuff, found object sculpture, whatever suits my fancy.
My only rule is that it not look decorative, to ME. If it starts to look decorative, I change it.
That said, anything goes.
Creativity is about experimentation, play and self discovery, it's not about doing what someone else wants you to do.
Jeff
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  #13  
Old 05-31-2010, 12:26 PM
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Re: Changing Genres?

Lots of good replies and I don't think I have much to add other than the notion that "friends" can still be valuable even if what you're learning from them is exactly what not to do. Since I come from the school of whatever creams your twinkie, I'm not too concerned about medium, genre or even result for that matter. The real art is in the person and not the leftover trinket.
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  #14  
Old 05-31-2010, 02:27 PM
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Re: Changing Genres?

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Originally Posted by StevenW View Post
. The real art is in the person and not the leftover trinket.
Sums up the whole experience perfectly Steve
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  #15  
Old 05-31-2010, 02:32 PM
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Re: Changing Genres?

Quote:
The real art is in the person and not the leftover trinket.
Yeah. Makes you wanna growl or howl or something. But then too, some of them trinkets are mind blowing, and they don't get moody.
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:46 PM
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Re: Changing Genres?

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Originally Posted by jOe~ View Post
Yeah. Makes you wanna growl or howl or something. But then too, some of them trinkets are mind blowing, and they don't get moody.

There's a high correlation of mind blowing work and mind blowing people.. Just my take and moody is fine, I just have a hard time with bitter.
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  #17  
Old 10-01-2011, 03:36 AM
PeterG PeterG is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

Interesting thread....I have tended to play about with a wide range of materials. Every time I have some spare cash I build a foundry, glass studio (casting and slumping), concrete facilities, get a power hammer for steel etc. I was advised by a lot of people to focus on 1 material and 1 style....to get known as the "steel man"...or worse...the "steel tree man" etc. These people included art consultants and gallery owners. I still play around with different materials (its a compulsion) but was feeling like it was a bad thing. I recently started a Masters degree part time and when my lecturer discovered what I was doing she suggested I was interested in Materiality, or the way materials themselves have an influence on the way a sculpture is viewed. It was quite a revelation and relief....a bit like discovering the name of an obscure disease that has afflicted you for years (not that I have any experience with that). I am now focussing my efforts on fully exploring lots of different things (OK...maybe that is unfocussing my efforts). I still do the bread and butter work but I'm spending more time just playing about with materials and learning a lot (with just a few burns).
Art is compulsive....just do what you feel like doing and then develop the stuff that appeals.

Peter
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:43 AM
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Re: Changing Genres?

If it's true, that to rid himself of vermin, the wolf does the following: He snatches a piece of moss in his mouth and slowly backs himself into a nearby stream. The vermin in their attempt to avoid drowning move slowly up the body toward the animal's head. The wolf continues deeper and deeper into the water until the only thing visible above the surface is his snout and the piece of turf in his mouth. The vermin desert the wolf, jump onto the piece of moss, he opens his mouth and the turf floats away down river.
Now someone downstream may or may not 'buy' that 'trinket' of flea-ridden turf
but no matter; either way the wolf has relieved himself of his itch for a while.
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  #19  
Old 10-02-2011, 07:09 AM
KatyL KatyL is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

Well I got it straight in my mind and moved on from this, for the time being, I think. I am more or less an "experimentalist/conceptualist" and generally shift from idea to idea. I am glad to see that others have faced the same thing, and have "gotten over" it as well. I am a bit too willing to allow people to boss me around. I was always willing to try to keep the peace (in this case between galleries and myself) by changing myself to their standards. I see that I really have to draw the line and say that "I am the Artist"-- in other words: I have the final say.

racine: Is "genre" and "style" actually done away with? I'd like to get a-hold of some inspiring articles on this subject if you have any on hand-- I haven't seen a lot to back this up. An artist might jump around for awhile, but eventually if the artist finds a money maker, they kind of stick with that. I kind of think the modern (and horrible) idea of "branding" is simply a re-hash of the style/genre question.

Ironman: This idea of "decoration" has always been a problem here too. I think too many of my sculptures end up "decorative." Once again it is a problem with trying to please people.
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:59 AM
cooljamesx1 cooljamesx1 is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatyL View Post

racine: Is "genre" and "style" actually done away with? I'd like to get a-hold of some inspiring articles on this subject if you have any on hand-- I haven't seen a lot to back this up. An artist might jump around for awhile, but eventually if the artist finds a money maker, they kind of stick with that. I kind of think the modern (and horrible) idea of "branding" is simply a re-hash of the style/genre question.
look at potters for instance (the artsy ones). Those people are pretty focused, without it having to do with branding (sometimes at least, or maybe just in a way that's ignorable) [the good ones]. Sure they have to hide within a discipline and a tradition, but i think that's valid. I really appreciate and sometimes even envy such focused crafty artists. I think few of those types settled on something for any concrete reason... at some level, commitment is just part of the craft. But i don't think there's anything wrong with being all over the place... dayjob.
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  #21  
Old 10-04-2011, 11:02 AM
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Re: Changing Genres?

KatyL I have sold drawings paintings lots of sculpture tattoos and functional items ( gates tables) this year. I did the same last year andvthe year before. I have 2 galleries that represent me. One that sells and one that doesn't. The one that sells is owned by an oil guy( lots of money and a bit of an artist him self) he let's the four artists run the show. We drive each other and our selfs to be better. This gallery is in an art building filled with other galleries and shops. On our city's monthly art day/evening the other galleries are empty the people end up at the gallery that shows new and exciting work. This translates into sales.
Always push always do something new. Keep the ones that sell and work with the idea till you don't want to any more. Then move on.
No one can sell your work as well as you can.
As far as others advice. My take on that is simple. If that person doesn't do what you do better than you don't listen to them. Only listen to those that are better and more successful.
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:34 PM
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Re: Changing Genres?

T, you've found other people who "do what you do"? And better? As I look out into the art thats done...NOBODY is doing what anyone else is doing. Folks only do things similar and same when they are NOT being creative.

As far as who is worthy of listening to; it will come from individuals unexpected - and MOSTLY from those who are doing things NOTHING at all like you are doing.

What we might "do" to get paid and what we might do to improve ourselves are not at all the same thing. Mere survival vs. achieved significance. There is art world fashion and there is the rigors of aesthetics; they have NOTHINJG to do with each other.
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:26 PM
tobias tobias is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

E I ment listen to sculptors or artists who are better than you or more successful. (do what you do). This was in reference to my understanding of the question. Can I change genre and styles and still make a buck? ( this is how I read it.
As far as some one even having the slightest understanding of what it means to support ones self as an artist... In my opinion you need to be doing it right now to offer opinion as to what might work.
I am purely talking about selling work here not good bad or ugly.
E you paint a surreal picture of an elusive event that one must be in the right frame of mind to notice.
I don't think it has to be that way. Work hard find a market stuff it as full as you can, enjoy your self!
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  #24  
Old 10-06-2011, 08:24 AM
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suburbanartists suburbanartists is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

Artists - break new ground
all others are Craftsmen - have skill but don't move past technical levels

Do what you want.
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Old 10-06-2011, 10:24 AM
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jOe~ jOe~ is offline
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Re: Changing Genres?

Quote:
E you paint a surreal picture of an elusive event that one must be in the right frame of mind to notice.
He ain't painting it. He's living it...from the "right frame of mind to notice".

Quote:
I don't think it has to be that way.
Nope, but for some it is a massive turn on.

Quote:
Work hard find a market stuff it as full as you can, enjoy your self!
What ever floats your boat.
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