Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No Signature!

I remember while in college that our exams were numbered and we did not put our names on them in an attempt at anonymity, so the professor's would not be influenced by our personalities.  Our essays had to stand by themselves.
   Art doesn't work this way at all.  We look for the signature first.  We want to know the story and that we have a piece of it.  There are excellent forgeries out there that can only be uncovered through science and are not discernible by the naked eye.  It is only "the real thing" with the real signature that is worth the big bucks.
   The truth of the matter is that most "Art" doesn't stand alone at all, or that there is so much of it the grading curve is stuck at C+ for all of it.  It is all too common.  To get the "A" or even a "B+" requires a signature,
and the "signature" demands a story.  It helps if you cut your ear off, that is a quicker way to do it. You have to get "known", be in the right circles, have gallery friends, live in a larger community, be surrounded with like-minded people.  That becomes a job in itself and a feeding frenzy.
   If you paint for your own satisfaction you will soon run out of materials or have to find that "day job" to support your habit.  We have to sell what we produce or we are unable to make it.  This has influence my "Art" over the years considerably.  I am not talking $35 worth of paint here, my materials cost a lot more, more than $500 a week for a lot of what I do.  If I can't turn $500 into a thousand dollars I am soon out of work and without a job at all.  Every piece of steel that I cut I have to replace.  Artists use up paint brushes and i use up grinders and sanders and saws, tools of the trade that need to be replaced.
   This is difficult to do if I aim at a "C+" grade or compete with the iron work that is imported.  I had to find
that "signature", that peculiar thing about my art work that makes it mine.  The first part was easy.  If it fit in a brown cardboard box I wouldn't make it.  My stuff is big.
   After I learned to weld and got good enough at it to sell my work, I spent some time travelling up and down this valley to see what was available, what other's were making and what was selling.  I went to all the nurseries, public places where metal work is found and several galleries.  I saw some pretty good stuff and I saw a lot of junk.  I saw no need to compete with the great metal work that I saw and had no desire to make more junk.  I concentrated in what was missing, what I couldn't find.  No mix of steel, stainless steel and copper, no mix of stone and steel, nothing heavy, nothing big, not much well made, nothing to last a lifetime.
 Stainless Steel Butterflies on Copper
   I couldn't believe how lucky I was!  I had discovered a world of art with a huge hole in it!  What is funny is this hole is insatiable and the older I get and the more I do, the bigger this hole gets!
You can always see more HERE.


Barbra Joan said...

You have it exactly right J. It must be different, it must stand out, or you need the name or else you get a day job..
Through the years it was Rosemond (remember the big eyes) and I won't go into the others, it's still that way.. I paint flowers, etc. big deal, no matter how good they are or what color, there are thousands of artists painting flowers, better, bigger, and we're all in the same boat so to speak.. Look at Kincaide.. (sorry spelling.?) made millions with his little cottages and teensy dots of flowers and trees.
I've always known this ..
I've been painting all my life.. (and you know it's a long one.) But about 30 years ago I took on a commission for a very LARGE oil painting for the showroom of an exclusive high end jewelry store in Ft. Laud. Fl.
The owner had been a Captain. ,.. loved the sea, and ships. I painted just what he wanted , an old sailing ship coming through a stormy sea, it turned out great, he loved it, I was paid well, and hated every moment I worked on it.. the trick is to get paid well for what you LIKE to paint or create... as you do.. Otherwise yo might as well be working in a factory putting little pieces together all day. I choose to paint what makes my heart feel good and so I do. and so I'm poor. MY Choice. ! BJ

stonepost said...

Barbra Joan, what a great, insightful comment! thank you!

AutumnLeaves said...

That piece is absolutely stunning Jerry. I've been drooling over owning some of your work since I saw your stone posts in a photo, saw some of your iron gates. They are in my "someday if I own a house and have some money" dreams. I must say that I don't look for a signature first though. It is the art that always grabs me, always.

Shelley Whiting said...

Your work is very elegant. I love the flowers in that piece. There is subtle and quiet beauty to them. A very charming and gorgeous work.