Skip to main content

On 10 cool things about being an artist

1. You can go to art school and hang around with very beautiful, talented (mostly), and talkative people.

2. You can very quickly dispense with the whole notion of success based on money and status.

3. You get to make beautiful objects that nobody understands, nobody wants, but which everyone at some point needs.

4. When someone asks you at a party 'What do you do?', you can say 'I am an artist/sculptor/writer/musician', while they have to say 'I am an accountant/trader/waiter/government employee'.

5. Instead of going to an office, you can go to your studio, which is a cross between a bear pit and a magic cave.

6. Instead of worrying about mundane things like mortgages and retirement portfolios, you have lofty thoughts about the role of art in an age of unreason, or the ontological basis of Duchampian claims for the verisimilitude (or lack thereof) of the found object.

7. Occasionally you get to display your work in a public setting, and people come up to you and tell you that you are a very talented individual, and they give you money for the things that you have made.

8. If 7, then you subsequently have the thrill of converting said money into art materials/studio rent/drinks for friends.

9. If you do what you do for along enough, you meet all kinds of people you would not otherwise have met: geniuses, morons, saints, sociopaths, neurotics, thugs, sluts, and gallery owners. (Dear Current and Future Gallery Owners: Just kidding.)

10. You become a member of an Order that has existed for thousands of years, with no clear rules except to be serious about what you do and to dedicate as much of your Self to it as you can.

 Subscribe to Praeterita in a reader


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

On my 300th blog post


It's my 300th blog post. And I seem to remember that in my 200th blog post I said that I would start quoting from John Ruskin's "Praeterita", after which this blog was named. Well, better late then never, so quotation number 2 is below.

First, though, some thoughts on this blog and blogging in general. I started Praeterita at the end of last year after reading a book by an art-marketing guru called Alyson Stansfield that recommended it as a means for artists to publicise their work better. But from the start I thought it would be more interesting to talk in a discursive way about my wider interest in art, and artists, and the history of art. After a desultory beginning where I only posted once a week, my blogging habit has now grown to the point where I am posting sometimes twice a day, and more than 45 times per month (helped enormously by the Blogger feature that lets you save blog posts with a post-dated timestamp, so that you can put posts in the bank to …

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

How to etch a linoleum block

Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.

A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…