An Open Letter to Anyone Making Art & Making It As a Full-time Artist
Photograph by: Kyle Steed
I think we first met in grade school. You were there, or rather have always been here, between the breaths of ancient hieroglyphs and the long forgotten Meso-American temples. Or to put it another way, this ain’t your first rodeo. From Greece to Italy to Mexico City and every major American main street of old you’ve filled a vast void in our lives. Leaving the echoes of your people in larger than life visuals for us all to learn from. In short, thank you.
So why then the sudden push? What’s all the fuss about? Are certain movements made for the modern dispositions of a new generation or is it the other way around?
There’s so much talk these days about influencers affecting content and creating content around influence. But it seems like maybe this “influence” that gets thrown around is just another way of dividing those with and those without.
Affluence (see Money and Power) has been used to make art throughout history. But it can be easy to confuse affluence with quality. Especially when every glossy photoshopped skin tone tells us what the next new thing is. That old saying rings true, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” Which is why I attribute the success of so many artists over the years to their connections more than their talent. But I digress, what makes art art?
For certain there are no rules to creating art. And I would dare to say there are but a handful of rules that separates art from everything else. One being, which seems more blurry than ever right now, decoration. Or trying to pass off your newest color palette on the wall as a piece of art. I think it’s only important to distinguish the two to bring back an awareness and respect of the artists work. Or, maybe, the artists questions. But living in the wake of giant retailers ripping off work and social media's exposure of trending wall decorations... how do we deal with our work and ourselves with dignity and self-respect?
How do we engage our daily practice of inner truth seeking and creation within our human desire to see success and recognition come in our lifetime?
Because let’s be honest, it’s utter vanity to create for no one but yourself. Our work deserves to be seen and cause questions to form in the global consciousness.
We are naive if we believe those questions with which we wrestle are only for us. Think about that. Not one thought you can claim for yourself. Everything must be held with open palms, always ready to let go.
And maybe herein lies a sliver of light on the issue of art vs. decor. Is it up to us? Does it do me any good to stand stubbornly against what one group may refer to my work? Or do I simply allow the groups view to be held with open palms while I work out of the deeper places in me that are guided by another set of voices? Remembering that my value starts from within, not without.
KS, 08 September 2018
Kyle Steed // Artist
STEED + co.
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