Thursday, January 14, 2021

Letters to a young artist: The nature of praise

 



Dear Young Artist:


One of my co-workers is a birder. And so if I am trying to identify a particular bird I took a picture of, or if I have a particularly good picture of, for instance, a hawk, I might show him the picture. Other animal pictures come up as well. For instance I showed him a picture of a coyote I took as well. He was so impressed with that one that he said this to me:

You could sell these pictures!

In more than forty years of making art I have heard this comment countless times. It seems very flattering. And I suppose it is flattering, in its tiny, tiny way. It is a comment you may hear many times in your pursuit of a life in the arts.

But it's a paltry comment. It is a paltry comment because it splits the difference between the two comments you will actually want to hear:

That's beautiful.

and

I would like to buy that.

 

And it admits, nor rises to neither.






1 comment:

  1. I have seen photos of yours that I would pay money for, i.e. buy, if the price were reasonable. I'm thinking primarily of birds, maybe flowers. I even know where in the apartment I would hang a series of four or five or maybe six framed 5x8s. Seriously.

    ReplyDelete

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