Thursday, February 18, 2010

Withdrawal From Commercialism

I am convinced that we only do good or right things when we are forced to. The right and good things are not always clear; however. I think we learn good and right when our own life teaches us what is good and right. These two things are hard to export and hard to import externally--anyone who has raised kids knows this. What's right for the other guy may be dead wrong for you etc.--so I believe in the relativity of all values! Now--here is where I am going with this. It has been good for me that the economy is in the crapper. It has smoked out demons of competition, envy, pride and so forth--the list is long for me, but too colorful to print. My oil painting has emerged as the true friend that it has always been now that it fits my life as an expession of interiority rather than as a vehicle of money making so that I can party. I still party, but they are boring parties--you know, pop corn and a channel changer etc. I hope this is growing up and not just growing old--I'll have to think about it a bit more......Don Hatfield


  1. So are commercial success and artistic integrity necessarily mutually exclusive? This is a problem.

  2. Being forced to reacess by outside circumstances can be a good thing sometimes.

  3. Ok Don, we all muse over this stuff.
    Honestly, when you said,"My oil painting has emerged as the true friend it has always been"..stop right there!
    Because the rest of that statement I might debate. However the first part of this statement is true poetry.
    You knew all along painting was your friend,
    your paintings are proof of this.
    Hasen't it always been an expression of interiority?! (I like that by the way :)
    Not everyone grows up, even though everyone
    does grow old.
    I think part of growing up is to accept that we are growing old.
    And that interiority is ageless, so to stay young at heart is true, don't let them harden
    your heart.
    That's what the enemy does, or wants.
    If you can stay young at heart you win! What can be better?
    I could quote scripture about this. You know that.
    We should talk sometime. Maybe pop some popcorn and have a party!

  4. Connie: A poet once said to her audience at a recent book signing in San Francisco--"...I don't want you to like my work..I am speaking from a place of my own not yours.."--or something like that. This statement revealed the intimacy between artist and the created object. With the legions of men watching you, paying you, praising you for your is easy to loose vital connection--that's all I am saying--so...not necessarily exclusive only if your mojo collapses--you know that!

  5. Hey BiLL: Wud up bro? Thanks for the reflections on my blurb--I read each one many times and ponder your responses. My art journey and my walk with Jesus are gradually becoming one passage--they seemed separate decades ago, but that was because I was distracted by what I thought was success--money mainly--adulation doesn't reach me much, because I know that I'm not that good at representational oil painting--I have kept the spirit of the amateur alive somewhat--I am still excited by projects (paintings) upcoming and by the application of processes newly learned etc. I see art motivation as some kind of enervation from God available to all men in as big a dose as one can stand--as for getting old--I just live in as much denial as I can until takes love over.

  6. Thought I might chime in on the "commercialism" issue.

    A professor friend and art/spiritual/life mentor, from the art school in England where I studied, took me out to lunch just prior to my first big show, which happened to be in London (700 years ago now-well, 1989 :)). He did so to address this issue of selling vs selling out.

    In art schools at the time (today too?) it was common among the staff to consider selling and selling out to be the same. Any artist who was commercially successful was considered a sell out. One can see the dilemma this might put someone in who wants to be a full time artist!

    My mentor, a geometric abstractionist, in the Mondrian school, who regularly exhibited in one of London's best known modern galleries, in addition to his full time duties running the painting dept at Exeter Art College, had other ideas. "I have no problem with the artist who runs all the way to the bank", he shared (though he himself was not a big commercial success by traditional measures).

    "This is because he is doing something I am not. He is building a bridge to his audience", he added. "The reason I know this is from my own experience", he continued. "When I prepare a body of work for a show (30 pieces ?), I have tended to prepare two sets of works--one that I think (or the gallery thinks) will sell---the other that I want to do myself as an artist, one's that I have a real desire and resonance with-----


    Since that time, in twenty plus years as a full time artist, I have nearly always found this to be true. The market has an inner integrity, in that it responds to an artists true connection with his work. This is, of course, relative to given artists--some have a far deeper inherent connection, and so sell a great deal of all ranges of their works--some have that depth of connection with only a few things they do. And it is also, of course, relative to the market and what it can support at any time.

    I have personally, however, thought that when work does not sell, it is because I have not built the necessary bridge, and when it does, I have.


    I am such a huge fan of your work--it touches me personally on multiple levels, and resonates with great love and light and spiritual wisdom. This is work that will last.

    Thank you for creating it!!

    with love and the deepest respect,

    David Schock

  7. David: I agree with all you say. I think the phrase "market driven" applies to my work more than most because I agreed contractually to produce beach scenes for 20 years. The word--inner integrity of the market is a new one for me, but it sounds good. It is true that my best paintings always sell because they bridge to a collector--thanks, Don Hatfield