Let it Shine
There’s a a line from a Morphine song that always gets me. It goes something like, “People always wanna give ya free advice. Well, it’s something that I always try, but you get what you pay for that’s what I say…”
A long time ago I got some free advice. Actually it wasn’t the only time I ever got this particular bit of advice. One time it came from a college prof. The others were from gallery owners. I was told to eschew one side of my work in favor of the other. I’ve discussed in the past how my work tends to swing from the highly representational to the personal and surreal. To use a bit from an interview I did last week:
“I’ve always felt like I had two distinctive sides to my work. I’ve wanted to find a middle ground between the two. On one hand I paint buildings and streets. I work mainly from photos I take myself. They’re somewhat orderly and rooted more or less in reality. Then I paint these other pieces because I’ve got these pictures bouncing around in my head. They’re snippets from dreams and stories.”
I was told early on that the more surreal pieces, although more personal, would have little or no commercial value and that most galleries would avoid them like the plague. I respected the sources so I followed the advice. I still drew and painted my rogue’s list of characters and dream-scenes on the side when possible, but my focus became architectural painting. Urban Landscape, if you will. Let me be the first to point out that the advice wasn’t necessarily wrong. Galleries, for the most part, did like the Urban Landscapes and did turn me down when I presented my menagerie of characters for review. I enjoy painting architecture so it’s not like I was really sacrificing per se , but it did create a situation where I began to stagnate. I’ve gone on about that at length already so I’ll spare you. If you really want to read about it check my posts from last Fall. With the show I put up last week at The Lift I wanted explore how my two styles interconnected. Hanging them all together seemed like the perfect way to go about it.
You know what happened? The response to my more personal work was overwhelming. It was surprising and reaffirming. It cemented the notion that my bizarre ideas and characters do indeed have worth that others can perceive. They come from a place deeper inside my Self and is, to quote one of my good friends and strongest critics, “…more honest and open. Some of your best work.”
So it seems that for all my blogging, showing, & self-promotion I’ve really been hiding my light under a bushel.
Think I’m gonna let it shine.
Better watch out.