As I mentioned earlier this week my first one-person exhibition of my art work in 20 years is now up. My last one-person show was at Smith Gallery on the UC Santa Cruz campus in 1991. I moved to Oklahoma in 1994 and gave up being an exhibiting artist for a while. My first piece in a show in Oklahoma was at Apertures Gallery in 2005, 11 years after moving here.
What that means is that most of my exhibiting art life I have been a ‘could-be’. Sometimes I have been an ‘are’. For while there I thought I was a ‘has-been’ wondering about my ‘might-have-beens’. What I am glad about though is no matter what happens in the future I will never be a ‘never-was’.
There is one, and only one reason, I won’t be a ‘never-was’. Because I made the effort to make something happen. I made that effort again and again and again. I took advantage, I networked, I got things in on deadline , I paid attention and I woke up each morning willing to do it again. Most of all, more important that any other thing, is I kept doing the work. All the time, any time, I did the work.
It doesn’t matter if I spend most of my time as an ‘are’ – well known with accolades and money, or most of my time as a ‘could-be’, hoping for those things and the opportunities it brings. What matters is that I did the work. The work is what guarantees I won’t be a ‘never-was’.
Are you doing your work?
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, an artist with an exhibition up at Living Arts of Tulsa until Jan. 26th. You should go see it.
Quote by Milton Berle, a funny man.