Sunday, January 15, 2012

does not play well with others........

Guess it's been a while since I had good rant here on the blog.......... but then it's been the holidays.  
Just in from attending an Artist Roundtable and Artist talk in downtown this afternoon.  

Running a tad bit late and finding the gallery tucked away on the 2nd floor of the Trinity Cathedral in downtown Cleveland I was running to get there.  Slipped in during the intro and was surprised to see the place pretty full.  GREAT! 

Found a seat and nestled in.  Each panel member was given time to introduce themselves and explain why they were there and how they got there.  I didn't know one of the panelists and also realized after the last panelist stated she was currently working as a muralist, fine craft or any craft probably would not be talked about.  (but that is OK because we all deal with a lot of the same stuff) I listened intently to each one.  

Each panelist expressed their dismay and wonderment about why Cleveland isn't getting national recognition, because we just so damn cool.  My first thought:  Then why do I live in the;  rust belt, the corn belt, the bible belt and the snow belt?  Nope nothing screams ART like those four labels!   Then I thought; why not do a show on exactly that.  

Note:  this morning on the local tv station there was a great interview from the curator at the Cleveland Public Library.  Also seated at the table, Henry Adams author of a book on the Kokoon Club   Currently CPL is hosting a show on the Kokoon Club.   

The Kokoon Club was a bunch of wild artists during the turn of the century and we are talking 1800 - 1900, not 1999 -2000.  The Bal Rique was notorious for being shut down by the Mayor and police department.  Many were immigrants from other countries brought here to paint the murals, make posters for the new movie empire and cater to the upper crust of folks like the Rockefeller's and Carnegie's.

Turns out there was a pretty fierce rivalry between the stuffy Cleveland Society of Arts and the Kokoon Club.  The Kokoon club was formed by bored and frustrated lithographers.  For those who enjoy history here is a great article Kokoon Club Cleveland history

Rockefeller's old place, now gone..... 

SNAP to January 2012!  Here I am sitting in a church, A CHURCH, listening to grumbling artists about what's wrong with Cleveland and why doesn't that stuffy Cleveland Museum of Art support us?  100 years and not much has changed, we are still talking about the same frustrations!  Somebody pinch me! 
One panel member suggested we all show up with signs and parade into the Cleveland Museum of Art and demand our due respect.  Ok, I almost laughed out loud because Wow is that creative!  If that is the best we can do we are not artists!  
And down the panel we went.......... Social networking came up, one artist declaring; "Technology is so WONDERFUL I just made a website in 3 hours!"  
That made me laugh as my computer was sitting at home with it's guts hanging out. 
Technology is great until is crashes your website Judy.  
Call me, we'll chat and not iChat at the moment. 

At 4:08 the panel discussion was over and the floor was open for questions.......I had so many thoughts my head was going to blow off but I restrained and collected my thoughts.  The microphone was handed to guy behind me and the first question;  "How do you price your work?  I mean I paint too and how do you determine a portrait is $35,000."   The artist then complained she hasn't had a price increase since the 2006 crash and there just isn't anything else she can do so now a head and shoulders sketch is $2500 and gosh times are tough. 
If I had been drinking coffee the guy in front of me would have needed a shower cap!  Wasn't I just agonizing over increasing my mugs $5.00.  I know it's all relative.  
Still I have this deep seated belief my best work is yet to come and then the other deep seated belief; if my well isn't empty it's probably not going to fill up, keep stuff moving or it gets stagnant.  If I had a $35,000 pot in my studio I'm pretty sure my ashes would be in it.   

Are you flipping kidding me?  after all this discussion about the "WE", the Cleveland Community of Artists and you ask;  "How do you price your work?"  The moderator made an attempt to bring the discussion back to the "WE"  and then the second question:  "No really what will the market bear and how do we price our work?"   

My mind tells me somewhere there really is this utopic arts community in my town.  We sit in dark, smokey coffee houses, drinking our espressos, sitting at little tables talking about the bull shit opening we just attended and we are just so deep.  Boris slides a glaze formula across the table and I tuck it in my black sports bra.  And can art really change the world or we just self indulgent whiney little bitches? 

 After 30 years I have found myself liking, no, loving my studio and the solitude of that studio.  Going to the studio everyday the extraneous stuff of supportive communities dissolves away.  Must be getting old or maybe just tired because clearly I just don't have the passion anymore.  It's like playing catch me, catch me with an 80 year old spouse........ I'll catch you tomorrow, I'm eating a cookie.

I say stand up and rock the city, AR-TESTS.  Ever heard of Bushido, the way of the warrior?  I say we show up on some corner in Cleveland and have an art mob.  Show up and make art; bring your wheels, bring you easels, bring your pastels and make art!  An art Rave!  Take some responsibility and just get out there!   Maybe the museum?  OH and leave you sign at home.

I quietly packed up my belongs and went out to find the Kokoon Club.

Clearly I have run out of tolerance and no longer do I play well with others  
 I have been know to run with scissors!  

I got stuff to do.......... I drove home and found my partner in crime, who also has a problem playing with others.           


  1. "My mind tells me somewhere there really is this utopic arts community in my town. We sit in dark, smokey coffee houses, drinking our espressos, sitting at little tables talking about the bull shit opening we just attended and we are just so deep. "

    Let me know if you ever find this place...sounds like a great place to "be seen"

    I , too, love that solitude.

  2. The people watching is grand :)
    Will let you know......

  3. They are just not living in the real world...on the other hand it would be good to have their customers turn their eyes to our work for a change!!

  4. I think the best art talk comes after the panels have ended and people go out for a beer, coffee, tea etc. Panels often seem to devolve into the most mundane stuff or shouting matches. I guess there's a reason I stay home!

  5. Completely agree on that on SC! Besides at home I get to wear my tiera :)