Friday, November 5, 2010
Again I put studio time aside. Instead of painting, I spent yesterday making this birthday card for my grandson. It took nearly all afternoon. Selecting the card form, selecting the photographs, sizing them, laying them out, changing my mind, changing it back, writing the copy, running print tests-- doing all you do to produce any graphic-- I was finally satisfied by the time Honey offered me a glass of wine.
After I trim the edges an eighth of an inch on both sides to fit the Christmas card envelope I borrowed from my stash, I'll mail it with his gift.
I could have been to Hallmark and back three or four times in the time it took to design and produce it,but homemade is how I wanted to go. Was I making art? Sort of. I was designing a graphic, but of low caliber. Just a montage of photographs, it lacks hands on illustrations. Those are the things that raise graphic design to a fine art form.
Tolouse Lautrec's poster'sfor the cafes and brothels of Paris are an excellent example of fine art illustrations in graphics. And let me not overlook Norman Rockwell's work or Shaun's. I fell in love with both of these artists as a kid--and did go on to study a bit of graphic design in college. But lettering did me in. I had no patience for it. Drawing yes. Painting yes. Lettering I like to leave to Letraset and now, the computer. So I lost interest and changed direction. I made a mistake. The profession would have kept me drawing and painting nine to five while getting paid. It would have put my work before the public and public recognition would have facilitated sales of my own self expressions. Rockwell and Lautrec are perfect examples of artists who worked for a living.
Very few fine art artists who paint from their hearts make a living from their work--maybe three percent? Others must supplement their passion by teaching, illustrating, designing graphics, architectural space, writing how-to books, or marrying a millionaire-- whatever it takes to pay the rent and buy supplies. Fine Art painting is not a money maker. BFAs are not handed out in university auditoriums with cushy chairs and air conditioning. If you're not getting paid for your art, some might call what you're doing a hobby-- but they would be clubbed to death by all of us who know otherwise. Making art is a calling--something we must do--even if on some days it's just making a birthday card for a grandchild.