After a recent trip to the MoMA, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the nature of art in modern society. At the end of my school career I was doing some pretty provocative stuff, but the vast majority of my friends and family thought it was nuts. As my boyfriend at the time put it: “Artsy fartsy bullshit”. I took tampons and spelled out “Holy Virgin.” I burned paper to make ashes and spelled out “Sin.” I thought I was pretty edgy and cool, and purposely shocking. I used my own painful childhood to channel out my angst and aggression. As one of the art director’s from Push Pin Studios wrote while reviewing my design portfolio: “Lighten up, Kid”. I was really pushing the envelope on my own creativity. I haven’t thought about those days in years. To survive in the advertising and marketing world you can’t be too edgy or creative. It’s about making sure the people in Kansas aren’t offended and that they relate and buy whatever crap you are trying to sell them that they don’t need.
So, I took a stroll through the bookstore and picked up some recent art magazines with the edgy art of the day. Now, I’m sure this stuff is brilliant and very creative, but would I hang it in my living room? No. Would most people? No. So, this stuff wins awards and gets published but then what happens? It makes me think about that fire which burned inside me that had an endless source of non-conformist work. It had meaning and purpose, but no audience other than a few really “out there” art types. What is the point of work like that? Does it have a place somewhere?
I enjoy painting my abstracts and I enjoy selling them. I just wonder if it’s enough to feed my soul as well as my children. I feel another growth spurt coming on or maybe a return to that really creative girl who shocked people with her way out stuff. Did I kill her with 15 years of safe graphic design or is she just waiting for the right moment to show herself again?