Can you spot great art?

OK, you got me by a big 7 whole years....gramps. ;) Now let go my ear and pull that bar of Ivory soap from out my mouth!

Generally speaking, artists and craftspersons live in and near big cities because they need a ready market full of well-to-do persons so as to make a decent living. The further away the market, the greater the cost to the artist and the lower the profit. I am very well aware of the tourist trade in Humboldt, also that a lot of the artistic souvenirs are peripheral to the other trade I mentioned earlier. Manhattan alone, though, has a huge number of artists living there and many more galleries of all kinds as well.

Not as nice a place to live as rural Humboldt though, for sure.

I am of the opinion that there is no replacement for a decent education and that this great country would be much better off if we put the effort and money into educating ourselves and our children that we instead put into such things as pro sports, prisons or soft drinks. That is not the same thing as stating that it is not possible to have a successful career in the arts without a university education.

Your example, however, underscores that point succinctly.

A few years ago, my state put together a list of folks who had been to art galleries or art museums, art fairs and the like. They then put a short, check-the-box survey on prepaid post cards and sent out thousands of them to those folks. The questions ran like "I am an art affectionado", "I am an art collector", "I am a crafts hobbiest" "I like to go to art fairs" etc.

About 900 state residents checked the box that said "I am a professional visual artist." Only about 10 of them had actually filed business tax returns as such, though. :confused: The state department of treasury then sent out a 'solicitation to bid' for a scaled (to spec) carved metal model of the state seal to be used as a master model for a holographic seal to be placed on state bearer bonds.

The state got only 1 bid to create that model, and no response from any other "professional visual artists". That sole respondent got the job and the state got its foil hologram to put on $10,000 state bearer bonds.

My point is this: it is real easy to claim that you are a professional artist, but the proof is indeed in the pudding - if you cannot do the work of a professional, than you are not a professional, with or without the degree.

It is very hard for a university art professor to produce high - grade visual art as compared to a professional artist, this despite that he/she is certified as knowing how to do so. Why is this? Because they spend their 40 hour work week teaching art students how to make art while the professional artist spends their 40 hour work week making art. Practice makes perfect, you know that. The more you play that guitar - as you have stated - the better a guitarist you are and the more easily you can produce professional - grade music. The same goes with visual art.

The person who has no education in the arts but has declared themselves to be a 'professional' must needs not only work that regular job to feed themselves but must also teach themselves how to do what it is that they have claimed mastery in. They thus start out with a significant disadvantage from the get - go versus a trained professional.

Yes, there are alternatives to going to university in order to become educated, however, the old saying that "He who serves as his own lawyer has a fool for a client" can be extended to those who choose to teach themselves rather than going to school to learn. Yeah, it can be done, but it is easier and more cost - effective to use readily available resources instead of constantly reinventing the wheel.

To wit: if you wish to produce anything professionally - "great art" inclusive, it is best to start out having learned the basics and done some practice beforehand. The more education and practice the better the work you produce will be. The better your body of work, the more likely that you will produce something the rest of us will consider "great". :)
A professional artistic painter should know and employ this technique (though many do not), a hobbyist or naive (uneducated) painter will not.

One of my favourite art books was on oil painting techniques, written in the 80's by a professionalJapanese artist apparently revered in his country. The Q&A section features a question about the best way to prepare a canvas to make the painting last hundreds of years.

To this question the artist replied that there was no need to worry about priming. The nuclear holocaust was impending, and there was no point in making paintings last. (He was serious.)

==just some comic relief==
Michelangelo studied under Da Vinci instead of going to university and he did well enough....'course he never learned to bathe himself very well either. :eek: Gauguin was a 'Sunday Painter' and he did well enough too, though he made better money as a lawyer and could support the family that he left behind when he worked at law. He has his place in history, despite dying of syphilis and mercury poisoning, miserable and alone in a paradise.

This paragraph really entertained me.


To change the subject completely, but not really....

"Many persons who have not studied mathematics confuse it with arithmetic and consider it a dry and arid science. Actually, however, this science requires great fantasy." - Sophia Kovalevsky

Science and math are also 'arty' pursuits. Everyone here knows that, and contemporary art has been learning that - just Google the artsci collaboration that CERN has been conducting with schools of modern art since the late 90's.
Glad you found it so.

Yeah, I spent many happy years studying math at u, besides and beyond other stuff. Math is fun. :)