Tuesday, November 29, 2011
A Tale of Fifty Five Artists
While this may be true, I had another surprise yesterday. As you know, it seems I have had some work accepted into the local holiday show at the Austin Visual Arts Association gallery space over at Austin Art Space. Now, I've told you this news already (the reception is on Thursday for those in the know) so I won't go into details about that again but there is something about this show that comes as a bit of a shock to me.
The shock, as it were, is that there are over fifty, I think over fifty five artists accepted into this show. Fifty five artists? In one show? In a down economy? And that's not counting the ones who did not make it into the show. (Imagine the rejection pile is even bigger.) Seriously, fifty five artists is more than half as large as the East Austin Studio Tour. That's massive! That's a lot of artists. In a down economy, I can hardly believe that there are fifty five artists doing a small holiday show and sale down at my local art studio and gallery. I mean, this is not MOMA or the Guggenheim, we're talking Austin Art Space here. Yeowza! That's a lot of artists.
And therein lies the surprise.
I'm shocked that we have so many artists, so many working professional artists in Austin. Shocked really doesn't begin to cover it actually. It's astounding how many artists there are out there.
This got me to thinking. How does one stand apart from that pack? How does one go about "making it" when there are so many, oh so many, lined up, waiting patiently in line alongside, waiting to "make it" as well? It boggles the mind really, even thinking about that.
It's something I hadn't given much through before really. I mean, Austin has always been a smaller-ish town, even if we sometimes have events like EAST, many of the artists tend to know each other. We hang out in these little "hovels" like AVAA where you can safely do things like life drawing or confess that you really enjoy the smell of darkroom developer in the morning, and nobody thinks any worse of you for it. We go to the DAC, we visit Congress Avenue, we tend to stay in our "neat" little artist "boxes" which tuck nicely into the fabric of our quaint little city. Everything's so neat and tidy, you could almost wrap it up in a holiday bow, yes, that's how the Austin art scene actually is.
With so many artists out in the great blue yonder, it's hard to stand apart, and this has given me a bit of a pause today. It drives home that point they always make about "branding" and "professionalism" and all of that. In order to make it, you need not only leg work, not only a "product" you can believe in, but you need to stand out, break away from all of the others in your field. Originality, it would appear, gets rewarded.
That's my thought for the day today. This is certainly a topic I will re-visit again at another time, perhaps after I've given it a bit more thought, but I wanted to share this with you today too, in order to get you thinking about it as well. And I'd certainly be up for some pointers. How do you stand out? How do you break away from the pack? Have you noticed your "pack" growing larger and larger in recent times or is it just me? Perhaps Austin is a growing city and that's part of what I'm seeing actually happen here? Maybe I've just not noticed it before? It's surprising for me to say the least.
Jack Kerouac once said, "“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”
Today anyway, I'm starting to think he was right about that.
Until next time...