Sunday, September 6, 2009

Conditional Worth

Conditional Worth

This is one of the paintings I finished this summer. I made it after spending the afternoon giving an art lesson to these two wonderful ladies. I was making a joke that my paintings aren't worth anything on my wall. They become infinitely more valuable once they have been sold. (I hope you can detect my sarcasm.) The ladies (sisters born in India) said that in their culture there was a saying for this way of thinking. It translates as a chicken isn't worth anything in your kitchen. Meaning, the chicken only becomes valuable once it is cooked or sold. Until then it is just a chicken. Thoughts of this saying and art were swimming around my head when I made this painting.

It is unfortunate, but this very concept is very true about art in the world. The worth of art is very conditional. For some it is only valuable if made by an artist they have heard of, for some it is only valuable if it hangs in the right galleries, for some it is only valuable if someone has already spent lots of money on it. I am even guilty of this way of thinking. I have had a painting that I have been less than than confident about, but then if someone complements it or even buys it, then all of the sudden my confidence soars.

Fortunately,there are lots of people who appreciate art simply for the thing that happens between them and the art they are viewing. This is the most exciting thing for me to witness. The only conditions that these people have in deciding the worth of the art is if they like it or not. Nothing more.

Even though this painting points out a rather cynical philosophy, it makes me happy every time I see it. It reminds me of the great time I had with Kirti and Sudha, and it reminds me to value my paintings less conditionally.

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