Difficult Competition (brutal)


 Downtown this morning boy looks pretty desolate on Nicollet Mall all ripped up lots of shops closed the upscale building now has a Walgreens and a bank .The Kid's GAP shop gone indeed the Mall seems in transition to a more affordable existence . More beggars more desperate looking folks at library in general a transition seems well underway towards downtown being more like it was before Saks Fifth Avenue was up and running. The Office Depot is closed only the Marshall's basement store seems to be thriving. And the discound Saks is moving in that building just in time for a discounted upscale Xmas. I was looking for the bus shelter with my portrait in it, I think it's on 8th and Hennepin I was headed that way when my bus home came so I missed it ( but someone on my Facebook sent me a picture of it). The portrait was of Philip Brunelle the conductor of Vocal Essence  a sitting arranged by Evan Maurer in 2003 the vocal group gave the portrait to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts as a gift. It looks way cool big ,a friend suggested it looked like Igor Stranvinsky which I thought myself at times. It's great to see it around town. I thought it was a good example of my portraits even if it wasn't as flattering as some. Robyne Robinson first tipped me off that athe portrait was over by the Mia campus on a flagpole. Then Betsy Carpentar saw it in St. Louis Park and sent me a photo.Mia has never contacted me and their is no name on the sign, people know my style I guess. I recieved no payment but that is no biggie I'm not as broke as when I painted it.

 I wanted to write something regards the competitive nature of careers in the arts. I think it's one of the issues that is avoided in arts education as if everyone will prosper when truth be told the arts can be and often are brutally unfair and extremely competitive. This being an almost universal perception by winners and losers so much so  given the sensitivety of arts communities to a range of social and political issues. Truth being told these institutions which support the arts are often using political issues as enticements for support ie. we are helping artists when the truth be told the artist and I mean the living artist is a bit of a pain in the ass.  The dead artist who can no longer speak for himself is much preferred by historical art museums and such sundry galleries which deal with living artists. The market is very undeveloped here indeed a different story is told everywhere you go a history as such is not in the offing. Because the nature of contemporary art is so unpredictable. And because the competition involves a rather small community of collectors.

 I've known artists at either end of the spectrum of success and failure and we all have some taste of both extremes in our artistic lives. What seems universal is the degree to which the sacrifices we make to create our work impact on our life, our health our families. The world is not as interested in art as it once was . And difficult art makes for a difficult life. (un.less of course you're Matthew Barney!)