Recently an artist from Germany emailed me asking some deep questions about art. She and her friends, it appears, are worrying about whether people will still buy paintings, the high cost of painting materials, and the idea of making a living as an artist. She commented that daily life is changing so fast and asked if “human beings would still pay attention to timeless and peaceful paintings and then to purchase them?” She went on to comment that “here in my country most of the people believe, if you dream to be an artist (creating art with high-quality materials, etc.) you are nothing but a dreamer. They think art was, is and will be unprofitable.” These broad generalizations are frequently heard in my artistic community as well. So after giving her email much thought, I answered her as follows:
In my opinion, there are two belief systems in general. One is that things happen TO us, in which case our only option is to react or respond. The other is that we are at the center of things that happen to us. This is a more empowering belief system, enabling us to create our own reality. It means we have a say in what happens to us through our thinking. The first belief system puts us in victim mode, while the latter allows us to feel empowered. I choose the latter.
This means that I am optimistic while I create. I do the best I can while making my art, by using high quality materials, thinking expansively, allowing my imagination its fullest scope, and feeling GOOD while I make my work. I like to imagine that someone else will find the work beautiful, and will feel connected enough to it that they will want to own or buy the work. If I am not empowered in this way, and don’t have feelings of joy and optimism while working, then the painting will not contain that special quality that makes it desirable, effective, powerful and communicative.
There is no such thing in my mind as “nothing but a dreamer”. Instead I believe we are nothing if not dreamers. In my world (which is created not by where I live or which country, but by who and what I attract around me) paintings are selling, artists are freely creating, and life is good. I believe that if you put your heart, mind and soul into creating the best paintings you can right now, and pay attention to keeping the negative doubting thoughts to a minimum, your work will attract its proper appreciative audience. You may need to travel a bit to see more art and more art audiences to keep your thinking as broad as possible. And you may find that what appears to be a limited art community is actually only limited by your own mind. As for the value of timeless and peaceful paintings, I can’t imagine why I (or anyone else) would want to live without reminders that we as human beings are timeless and are hardwired to strive for love and peace. Isn’t that what art is for?