Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Art and Commerce

More studio shots, I know. 
I spend much of my time in here. I'm working through some things, preparing for a photo shoot mostly, for the release of some modified Tshirts that I'm making. But of course, I tend to stray from my focus -- well, perhaps stray is not the proper descriptor for what I'm doing because it carries with it, a negative connotation. In addition to the Tshirts, I'm also making a dress for my assistant who will model it for the shoot. It won't be sold, but I thought it would be a fun challenge to lift my skills, and inspire more possibility within the fashion component of my studio practice. 
In my work, I move between art and commerce regularly. Sometimes this movement, this relationship between the two are evident in the work that I do. For example the artistry is present in the craft of making it, and the commercial side is signified through the intention of why I created the image in the first place, ie. to sell. But sometimes I move entirely out of this space and into one that is more insular and hidden from the outside world. I don't do this on purpose, it's just the nature of how I work. And so, my work becomes entirely about making art; it doesn't address an audience, nor is the intention of it commerce-related, rather it's driven by my own ideas, feelings, and wants. 
It's tricky to use the word art sometimes because it's loaded with so much meaning depending on the individual. Some associate art with the world of high end auction houses, and the galleries in Chelsea. The types of discourses present transcend the artist's studio and dialogue with the past, and present... and even future - socially and politically - commenting and critiquing the world that we live in; communicating these oftentimes loaded and complex issues and re-presenting them in a way that participates in this conversation. Or, other times the meaning of the work is about the integrity of the material itself, and how it is used to express the artist's vision. The word can stir about some intimidation, be used to elevate or diminish: high art, or low art; it can be perceived as being so cerebral and so esoteric that it includes only a fractional number of individuals within its circle. 
For a long time, I've been challenged by the latter notion of the elitism about art, but have somehow managed to soften my feelings towards it, and have chosen to include my personal  definition of art as being more inclusive of the diverse ways of expressing one's creativity. I found that by doing so, it has allowed me to continue moving forward, instead of constantly slowing down (and sometimes stopping) to seek acknowledgement from others to know that whatever I'm making has some sort of validity. 
It's tough because even though I love what I do, there is still of part of me that wants the recognition. And it's sometimes easy to let this yearning for acknowledgement drive my craft... my art. But I think this is the nature of the beast, and despite my ambivalence towards someone else's reception (or obliviousness) to whatever it is that I present, I choose to do so because at the end of the day, a public platform for my work is what I desire; work that reaches people. 
There are so many moments in my studio practice that I keep too close to myself, remaining too much in my own world, and not revealing, or sharing with others, what I've made. I tell myself that I'm okay to continue creating without an audience. But while this is happening, it's as though I'm filling a bucket with the work that I am producing, until it begins to overflow. At this stage is when I begin to share my work with others in a way that lifts it outside of the safety of my studio.  This is the commerce side of my art. The business side of it. Although I've tried to keep my self-initiated projects as just that: personal work, it's come to a point where this personal work takes on a life of its own, wanting to exist on more of a public platform.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Bravo, Marcos - thank you for this insightful post. I think a lot of people wrestle w/ these concepts of being recognized vs. just making art.