Excerpts from convos

So I was asked by this amazing lady/customer/etsybud who is also a professor at a university I forgot the name, to speak to her students next April. Yeah, like as a guest lecturer or whatever. She even said she's been reading to them from my stupid blerg!!
*blushes down to me toes*
*falls off chair*
So in mentioning this to my bud Sparrow, we sort of developed an interesting convo thread which I think might hold the seeds of what I could speak to these students about. I mean, they're not jewelry makers so I'm a bit at a loss. I'ma just share excerpts from the convos as a way to gather my thoughts semi-publicly cuz why not?
Sparrow: What's this uni thing about? Was that one that was planned ages ago? What does she read specifically- like what' her angle?
Me: Her angle is she sees me as a model of an actual functional artist in the world. lol. i guess what she said is most of her students will go on to get job jobs or whatevs but there's this special few that she sees as true artists. and while she has helped them become better photographers, she feels she hasn't really prepared them for the world. so... i dunno.
Me (cont.): i was thinking that the mark of a true artist is having no self control- that is being unable to NOT be one. if you can keep down a job, then you should. if you can consciously choose to keep down a job and have a stable life, you're not an artist. if you are so driven by a vision that you have to go for it despite your best interests, then you're an artist and its not a great thing to be, despite how we put the term on a pedestal. its like another way of saying you're not totally ok in the head. this comes from reading this thing that kinda bugged me, here's an excerpt:

Sparrow: Yeah there's a huuuuuge difference between being an artist and being creative- and pretty much like you said, it's that being able to control it. If you can pick n choose when you do your makings and can sacrifice that time for other thing like jobs and socializing, then you're not a real artist, you're just creative. 
Thing is you say that to people and they're all like 'HOW DARE YOU' because 'artist' is a badge of freedom to so many people without any other meaning in their lives. There's a modern cult among the developed world (especially middle aged women) where people have learned that all you gotta do is buy an art journal, slap a few clipping in there attack it with some stamps - boom you is artist. Nope- you're just exploring the in-built creativity that comes with being human. No different than splattering hand prints on a cave wall.
Sparrow (cont.): "functional artist in the world"?
I mean yeah you're functional in the aspect that you make money from what you do, but only through fortune rather than judgement (you've said yourself you don't 'business' anything, you just make it and list it). And because like you said, to be a true artist you gotta be 100% and you can't have a real world life and be 100% at the same time, there's just no space for that. So it's like she'd be saying to the class 'ok you want to be a real artist you have to give up everything outside your studio like this lady does'.
Maybe there is no place in the 'real world' for a real artist, there's only being able to harness creativity and a certain level of commercial viability. If you commit to being a 'proper' artist you do have to give up on 'proper' life. But then if you're happy and not homeless, does it matter?
Me: I agree. Artist is a disease we've put our stamp of approval on because we like the pretty results.
And like i told her literally 1st thing when she invited me- im not a model, the only reason i can do this is i have no kids, my parents bought me a house and i live in my pjs and do nothing else! and she's like yes exactly. tell them that.
 So that was that convo. We seemed to agree a lot but I tried to weed out much of the babble. As per usual, please enter your .02 in comments.
Keeping in mind that Sparrow and I don't bother to speak politely so you don't have to say anything like, "What's her angle? Does she need an angle? Isn't Marina's natural awesomeness enough?' kinda thing. Although comments specifically about my natural awesomeness are always welcome. Like, if you want to expand on that idea. Or any thoughts about how my lazy immobility is a good thing? Or how crap sales means you're actually even cooler because, like we saw above, non-functioning = artist? Er. I mean if you care to try to convince me aw forget it.
Look, three rings. Not just that- notice my dark background? HU?!!! That's a departure for me. Shit it needs more contrast.

And the earrings above with ladycabs- there is one speck of white I didn't blur out on the background tin plate thing that is driving me up a fucking wall.

The other day, I couldn't take it any more, I desperately needed to solder. I said fuck the polar vortex, opened my window a smidge, set the fan to work and went to town. I was all proud of myself because the ventilation system seemed to be working quite well. Then I realized that the door wasn't as, well, closed as I thought it was and the house had filled up with clouds of sal ammoniac. And that's when fretful Mr. Devices came home. And I'm like, "Nooooo, it's not toxic at all..."

I thought I'd made an irredeemable mess with the soldering itself as well. Like this old piece of something from Kathyhaul that I soldered to a tin section. I thought I'd pretty much melted the old bit to the point of evaporation into the air. But nope!
Also, the top ridge on this is super thick and stiff so I had to curve it before soldering and then solder two curved things together and it turns out that's almost impossible! and yet! It was a wonky mess but I sorta cut the tin to make it look un-wonky...
I soldered this decorative section on to this perfume bottle that had come to me just glued on. I know you're distracted by that huge topper I added but it might make sense when I make it into a big long necklace. Though I don't see the red rhinestones making sense. Might have to dig those out.
While I'm at it, I also soldered this thought the quick snap I took of it, I got the back of the adorable hanging thing so you can't see how awesome it looks.
More WIPs? I've been making more of these beads and finishing them with a thick resin coating to make them stronger. Mostly I've been making a goopy mess though.

Here's a great big something where I was all "EVERYTHING GREY!" (When you see this closer there's some really amazing beads in there...) 

OH! See that honkin fluorite upper right? Just so happened to have that cab bezel that fit it exactly!!! This is why it pays to have everything all over the place. You find bitties that match up, even if you forgot you had them.

Earrings in the making.

In that mirror charm, I need to include something where the glass would go.

Need oxidizing and some final dangle off chain....

Need top half. We'll see what they become.
An etsylady shared with me a pic of my tute on her tablet. I thought it looked so cool I wanted to share:


Anonymous said...

For me, what defines me as an artist is my passion. My art consumes my waking moments but it does not define my life. My passion is the very thing that gives me the drive to: work a full time job as a writer, study two nights a week for a post graduate degree, spend hours online sourcing ingredients to use in my creations, maintain four shops on Etsy and continue to stock them, write a blog, walk my dog every day, go running most nights and do a few craft markets in person each month. Like you, I don't have kids, but that's where the similarity in our lives ends, but I do in fact see myself as kindred with you because of my passion for what I do. Yes I am an artist, but I do agree that I would find it hard to explain all of that to a group of eager students.

What sets you apart in my eyes is 1) the generosity of your designs, and 2) the genuineness of your blog posts. So many people follow the formula of make stuff-set up Etsy shop-do weekly posting on blog-add more stuff to shop...but three is a distinct lack of the person in all of this. So maybe being an 'artist' is defined by generosity of spirit. Giving it all.....

Betsi Goutal said...

Whoops, here I was thinking I'd browse your latest post on my phone when I went to bed... Now I'm going to lie awake pondering this. I have a ton to say on the subject but it'll need to percolate before it's coherent at all.

Meanwhile... You made those iridescent utee bead theengs? I thought I remembered those being a gift from some one, a reader here I think... Or are these different? I've been struggling to make something akin to those since I saw them in a pile of earrings a few posts back. I am kind of on to something I think but I'm still futzing about with having bits poking out and the utee remelting when I try to add more layers to smooth out the surface. I am still too much of a newb with utee, gotta practice a bunch when I get back.

There are entirely too many pretty things in this post. I want to comment on at least half of them but on this tiny screen that would be insanely unwieldy... Not to mention make my already novella-sized comment far longer. Suffice it to say, you are making some damn fine pretties lately!

Penelope said...

You forgot to mention I likened you to Beyonce!

The thing about calling yourself an artist (or not) is prolly just as hard to define as art itself. You can make something, but not be an artist. I used to call myself an artist (20+ years) but since I don't make stuff any more (or even think about it that much) was I ever an artist? How can it just go away like that if it was ever that real? Even though it was 'what I did' all that time. Also just then when you mentioned the students aren't jewelry artists, this might not even work for them. If the teacher is pointing to you and saying 'look you can make it' well...you sell a commercial product, and that's a huge part of your market viability. But then I think any artist who truly makes an income from their work has to relent to commercial viability at some point. I think the best thing she can advise them on is get a regular job they don't hate, and use their spare time to develop their 'real' art. Or get good at being really poor.

Unknown said...

What makes you an artist dear girl (well 20 something boy then) is your mind and your heart and your spirit and that would be enough to hang your artist hat on, but what is the God given frosting on the cake is your intellect. Oh hello. I knew your stuff makes my heart flip flop or pitter patter or do the happy dance, but I did not know why. Then I noticed on your sidebar, a link to a post you'd done about 'finding your aesthetic' (point 4 in the list) and I read it and instantly realized exactly exactly exactly WHAT it is about your art that I personally like. It's the fabric bits that wend their way through your pieces (or a lot of them anyway.) And furthermore, once I knew for myself what made my heart beat, I am able to view all jewellery and in fact more arty stuff on pinterest which is weaving mixed with pottery and with metal things, etc. and SEE them (with awareness of why I like them, or are drawn to them.) So you are a teacher Marina. When you write the book that is in you, you won't really have to do too too much work because if you just look over the history of what you've already written in posts, you've got the mother lode right there. Pay dirt literally.
In your book you could start chapter one with the aesthetic thing.
If I were you I'd just bill the lady a chunk of change and not worry about what she wants from you, but for you to just speak your intelligent mind. Speak from your heart and don't worry about delivering her angst about 'preparing them for the world.' I'd start from building blocks of thought. Definitions of what does success mean for folk. It can mean many, many, many different things. It'd make for an interesting convo. among the students to define for themselves what it means.
As far as defining an artist. Oh man. The crux of everything is 'creativity' or the creative seed within us all (I believe anyway.) Just going to grab something I read last night, be right back: [of course I can't find it; I'll paraphrase in my own words] So after we die we are not remembered for us, Great Generals are not remembered, politicians are not, etc. What IS remembered and what makes a difference and what folk respond to is what is created by the creative principle in man (or boys in their twenties) ~ art, drawings on cave walls, music, books, architecture, sculpture, and I myself would venture to say, art from the heart of folk nudged forward by the need for the creative principle to have its' say in things. Well I'll leave off here, but close by saying that the teacher recognized your mojo and you just have to bring that to class. *smiles* Norma, x
p.s. in terms of success, if we're talking financial, then there is this dude who I feel is the Guru of marketing. Link: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/
Here's a local guy who I like: Link: http://visualartmerchandising.blogspot.com/

Unknown said...

here is David Ackert's take on being an artist:

Artists are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime… Every day, artists face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they’ll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every role, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life – the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. Why? Because artists are willing to give their entire lives to a moment – to that line, that laugh, that gesture, or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul. Artists are beings who have tasted life’s nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes

I do have a feeling that you'd get as many different answers as there are artists though. It's cool, it reminds me of my philosophy classes at school. Miss them.

Peggy Gato said...

What an interesting minimalistic but rather limiting notion on what an artist is. But then it is an age old idea, I suffer for my art, therefore I am an artist.

Unknown said...

Middle aged creative? - whew, WTF, that hasn't got a thing to do with it! It's really great you were asked to speak to a class. You're very honest about your ability and about the help you've had (parents/ darling hubs). Those "assists" have left you free to pursue your passion. And, it's wonderful - for you and for us.

I think the key here is the passion. Whether you've had kids - or not - or support, or not.

From life experience I can tell you something - when you are an artist you seem to see the world from that perspective. You can't go outside and see the dog poop, or a broken tail light in the street you pick up, or a sunset - just anything and not end up interpreting it in an artistic way. Albeit a comment in a blog, an addition to an art piece, or a color Segway. What you "take in" comes out.

It's uncontainable and automatic - like breathing.

But, pursuing that passion can be a slippery slope depending on your support system and your own personal commitment.

I think she asked you because you have those qualities and you are fearless. Fearless enough to know that sharing (be it in time with your family or techniques with artistic community) will not and can not diminish your talent, passion, or determination to create. And THAT is an artist - IMHO

Jiorji said...

those rusty cream beads in that first shop are DELICIOUS!!

and it's so true. There's a difference between being an artist and being "hey i wanna do decoupage while i relax with my tea on a rainy day" creative.

i've taken many art classes at 2 different unis and you can so tell who's just there to be an artist and who's there to doodle on their canvas. Being creative and making things is always a positive things but there's always that extra that real artists have

Gardanne said...

I have a kid, my parents did not buy my house, but I wore my PJ's all day. Does that mean I am an artist some of the time?
Such interesting comments I especially connected with what Sharon said about the way artists/creative people see the world around them. A few years ago I was discussing with my daughters math tutor what makes a person "good" at math. He said when he looks at a tree he sees numbers, like how many branches on each branch how many points on each leaf, etc. When I look at a tree I see colors, shapes, positive space negative space, and basically the beauty of it all. I think he was just trying to convey to me that we all see the world through different eyes. There is no better or worse just different.
I find your blog and the comments so refreshing there is always an honest exchange of opinions softened with humor. The majority of blogs out there are afraid to have a real conversation, feelings are always getting hurt and then there is a flood a comments full of hugs and kisses.
Well I'm off to the studio, I am going to put my sweats over my PJ's maybe I will just be a little more creative tonight.

Unknown said...

Very interesting post. I hesitate to call myself an artist. Instead I say jewelry designer. Since i've only been designing for a short while (like 4 years) I sometimes even hesitate to call myself that. My mom, who has been a seamstress for some of the top clothing designers in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for years says that if you "make" something with your hands you are an artist. Whether others like it or not and whether others appreciate it or not.

She and I had this convo recently. I believe it's very difficult to define. I do certainly think it has something to do with passion and the joy one gets by simply doing it. Designing jewelry gives me pleasure and even if the design never sees the light of day the joy I get from doing it is pretty much enough for me.