I read this article this morning about artist that are leaving Atlanta.
After reading the many passionate posts, I felt I needed to leave my own. so here is the post I left ( as of this morning it was still being moderated)
This is gonna be hard to not be super blunt and possibly offensive to some folks, so before I begin, accept my apology, or if that is not good enough, stew over what sort of Jerk I am.. The choice is yours.
Couple points, I would like to address first:
I will ramble on.. I’m terrible with spelling and grammar.. but I live in Atlanta, and I have (in my own mind) become successful here in Atlanta, and will not leave because of feeling like I’m not making it here or that another place will be better for me.. With this being said, I do not feel that there is anything wrong with searching for new experiences in other cities, or with wanting to feel something new. Bravo, if you do it! but do not blame the town, look deep with in your self.. The problem might start there..
I have ONLY lived in Atlanta (36yrs), but have shown work in many other states and visited them for weeks at a time showing my artwork, so I feel that I have a fair understanding of both sides. I have had the pleasure of seeing people get excited from my work, just as much as become disappointed by it. That is part of being an artist.
I’m a art school drop out, I attended AIA in 95/96 and was told that drawing cartoons or comics was not real art and that if I was going to be a professional artist, I should stop fooling around with this childish art and move more to the fine arts. If you have ever crossed my path or seen my art, you know I stuck to my guns, and still draw that childish art (which I would not change for the world)! So my opinion of art school is a bit jaded. Art school is fine, you learn a lot of great stuff, when you have a teacher who is open minded (which in looking back, I did not and that is one reason I never finished). Heck, art school was the place were you got the opportunity to experiment with materials you might not ever get to own your own,which can shift the way you approach art. That is a bonus all in its self.. but I feel, that art school only teaches you so much, and the rest you learn from fumbling around, failing, making and loosing friends, finding your own way and most importantly keeping your chin up, and finding the happiness in the stuff you create and not the opinions of others . If creating art is your bliss, then do it.. Make it, and don’t leave a town you love because your not successful, odds are, if your not giving it 110% all the time here, you won’t in another place, and then just like many folks have said, this article could just as easy be about another state loosing its artist…
I’m not naive, I know we all need money to survive. I know that the stress builds when your broke and you hate your job. I ended up in the hospital for a week because of it. But like I said earlier, if art is your bliss, then this is what you deal with, not what you will have to deal with.. Lord knows, in the beginning, me and my wife both cried, fought, worried over where my next paycheck would come from, and how we would survive on just hers some months! But we believed in our self’s and stuck it out!
Malcolm Gladwell states in his book ” Outliners” that it takes 10yrs or 10,000 hours before you are an professional or successful in your craft.. before you give up, ask your self, honestly have I done this? I get up at 8 am every day, and paint 5-8 hrs a day and then travel and do shows almost every weekend showing my art off and have done this for the last 4 years and I have not reached this goal. Its hard, but its not a matter of who has done what. what I get out of his statement, is that if you put the time in to something you love it will grant you success.
Before I made the switch from artist who wanted to do this full time but was afraid to leave my stable job, to artist who refuses to go back to that life and is doing this full time, I dabbled in many creative projects in Atlanta. I did the band thing, I published a fanzine, I booked concerts for bands, all of which I’m glad I did, but the reason I’m telling you this, what ever I was doing it was hard to grab peoples attention and keep it. Looking back its not that the product or event that was not up to par, but in a city like Atlanta, you need to understand, that there a million things happening every night of the week, and to get people to consider what your doing, can be damn near impossible.. Hell, I’m even guilty of seeing to much to do, and in the end, just sticking with one thing or even just staying home. Its over stimulation..
Atlanta is an amazing town, we have so many great talents here, but we also have a lot of folks, who judge art by where it is shown or where you went to school. which in my opinion makes it even harder for those who wanted to go a different path. I’m guilty of being frustrated over feeling like, I was not part of the “IN” art crowd, or hip or worthy of showing in a certain gallery’s because I was not as accepted. That’s fine.. there comes a time, when you have to ignore all that goes on and understand that success and failure is weight different. Each one of us will see it different and that might be the reason, why we are loosing artists.
See it the way you want, but one thing I did not read much about in all these passionate posts was, artist finding ways to show there work out side of the Galleries we have here. When I made the switch to full time artist, I would contact galleries in town and out of town and they would all ask the same thing ” Where else have you shown work? Well if your new to showing, then odds are you probably have not shown in many places, so when I would reply, no where. I would get the kind formulated rejection notice..If I got anything at all. It soon dawned on me, that I needed to take things in my own hands and draw from my experiences playing music and create my own shows!! If any of you guys/gals have played music in a basement show or a show in someones living room, you know what I’m talking about!!
Who says art has to be in a gallery or a museum. Last Friday, I created art and show art off on a construction fence in Castleberry hills outside a bar. It was one of the best nights I have had. Its the unconventional that makes art exciting to me, I get uncomfortable in those places where people are all dressed up sipping drinks and talking ” artsy fartsy”. Give me a loud room, some beer drinking loudmouths over that any day..
What I’m trying to get at and like I preference, I ramble is.. take showing your work off in your own hands.. Still support the Galleries, they are an important part of the community. but who says your not an artist if you set up in a bar, or like I do a fairs,fests or comic book conventions.. in the end, you are still showing your work to new people.. and that is what we all want as artist.. for people to see what we create..
I know many of you have already done this and I applaud you. But just because you did it once or ten times, and did not see if take off , does not mean it was not a good experience. To me every time I get a chance to show my art off it is a good experience.
Another point I would like to make, is if living in Atlanta is to expensive, then move out to the surrounding areas. Who said you can still drive back in to town? I live in Smyrna, its 15/20 minutes from Atlanta. My rent is affordable and I have a huge basement, where I can make all the art I want..
Its just another way to take art back in to your own hands. There is no need to leave the state because you are not making it as an artist in Atlanta. You just have to be creative in finding ways to survive..
Thanks if you read this far, I love this town, and love the people who I have come in contact with here. You are inspiring to me. I honestly think that people are judging success by a monetary gain, but you have to understand that art is not that. Its about being able to express your self.
Please stick with it, and do not give up! Its hard, but again, if this is your bliss, then it will all be worth it. I’ll leave you with this line from a song by Frank Turner…
"I could have played safe,
but in the end the journey’s brought joys that outweigh the pain.”
Thanks for reading
so now you have my two cents worth! We will see if I get any back-lashing? But it is the way I feel.. Love it or hate it!!