Artistic attitudes.


Nude, WIP. Oil on canvas. © Sarah Marie Lacy.

Nude, WIP. Oil on canvas. © Sarah Marie Lacy.

The past few days, I’ve been thinking about my own artistic philosophies and attitudes, and for fun, I thought I’d share some of them here.

1. As a general rule, I assume I’m crap

I know this one is going to annoy people and you’re going to want to jump to my defense and tell me I’m awesome. If you think I’m an awesome artist, that’s great. I’m not going to discourage you from it or argue with you. But maybe hear me out first, okay?

This is not about beating up on myself. While some days I do feel discouraged about my artistic talent, that happens to everyone and I don’t let it happen for long anymore. Thinking that I’m crap is more about keeping things in perspective – in the grand scheme of things, I am a very tiny, very young artist who doesn’t really know anything. So maybe I should say instead of assuming I’m crap, I assume that I know very, very little and can always know more.

This helps me keep the mind of a student and stops my persnickety little ego from getting in the way. If I sit around telling myself that I’m an amazing artist, I don’t bother experimenting, learning new things, or trying anything new. It stops me right in my tracks. Trust me, you don’t want my ego running this show.

2. I don’t give two craps about being original

This is probably blasphemy in the eyes of most artists, but I’ve never once worried about being original as an artist. Just don’t care. If you think my work looks exactly like someone else’s? That’s cool. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.

I’ve also never gone out of my way to make my art look like someone else’s either. I admire others’ talent and technique and of course I’m constantly studying their art, but do I want to be exactly like them? Nope.

I don’t want to be the next Picasso. I want to be the first me. As long as I’m creating work that I adore and that feels right, then everything else can – if you’ll excuse the phrase – go to hell.

3. I only want to create work that I fall madly in love with.

I don’t think it’s in me to start painting things I hate or just because someone has said that they’re commercially viable. Someone once told me to stop painting cloudy skies, that no one would buy them. I’d say my cloudy skies are actually some of my most popular images. Everyone loves them. So you never really know.

I don’t want to paint flowers, or puppies in fields, or abstract art, or whatever popular opinion tells you that you should be painting to make money. I just don’t care. This is my life and I’m going to paint things I like, in the manner that I like, dammit.

4. I also don’t give a crap about the intellectual dialogue.

An older artist once informed me that art was about the “dialogues” and that it was an “intellectual journey”.

Intellectual journey my ass.

Intellect has diddly squat to do with my work. I pay absolutely no attention to the dialogues, and quite frankly, I don’t care that I’m shooting myself in the foot. So far, none of the people who’ve bought my paintings have asked me about the intellectual dialogues of my work – I think I’m alright. If people start demanding some dialogue, then we’ll talk.

My art is about emotional exploration. Plain and simple. Plus, I like to write artists statements that use common language (she said tongue in cheek.)

5. I don’t want to be the next big thing.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – my ego would absolutely adore it if I was the next big thing. But honestly? That kind of terrifies me. The nice thing about being small is I get to keep my lovely anonymity. I have this thing about being seen.

But I’m not concerned about showing at the Guggenheim, or jumping hoops so that minimalist white walled galleries will show my work. Don’t care. If one of those galleries comes knocking and says, “Yes, we’d love to show your work” and I don’t have to be someone else to do it? Great. But I’m not changing to fit in with someone else’s idea of what I have to be to be an artist.

I am me. I am an artist. Take me as I am, or don’t take me at all.

(She says now that she’s annoyed practically everyone who reads her blog. Oops.)