I taught college level drawing for 9 years back in the 80s and 90s. My first question to my students was this: What is the job description of an artist?
I always got a number of interesting answers, and I didn’t consider any of them wrong. But I had my own answer as well. It is this: To do whatever they want to do.
It sounds like I am being flippant, but I am completely serious about it. An artist is the one entity in the human world whose sole job it is to do whatever they want to do. It is what being an artist is all about. My contribution to the world is just that. The society I am in has asked the artists that inhabit it to be free. It’s asked me to give them my vision, not someone else’s. I have been ‘hired’ by the world to express whatever it is I feel like expressing. If I take on the job of artist, then that is my job description.
By the way, I am not talking about commercial artists who are hired to fulfill someone else’s vision. That is a completely legitimate thing and I often do that. I am talking about ‘fine’ artists whose is not hired by others, but does something then may or may not find a person willing to show it, buy it, publicize it, etc. All that comes after not before the creation in other words.
If this were a quote I made up I would have used the word ‘commanded’ instead of ‘forced’ but you get the idea.
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily
Quote by Willem de Kooning, 1904-1997, Dutch born American painter, (one of the leaders of the Abstract Expressionist style)
|Willem de Kooning – 1949, untitled|