Woodard is in one of his darn philosophical moods again: Darn. Listened this morning to a talk given in 2015 by Artist/Gallery Owner/Teacher Paul Klein at the University of Wisconsin. He listed three things that had to be done to succeed as an artistI am gong to concentrate on Rule No. 1, but I do want to mention the last rule; Rule No. 3, Make Good Art. The least important of the three rules but still a rule.
I have a lot of photographer friends that think of themselves as photographic artists. The lecture was more to those that wish to make a career but Rule No. 1 has a very, very important application to even amateur photographers that wish to produce works of art if only for themselves. The lecture was to artists that wish to sell their work but Rule No. 1 is very important to amateur photographs that wish to produce art even if only for their own pleasure.
Rule No. 1 is something I have harped on for years, the most important rule for succeeding as an artist and I am copying Klein’s words even though I have rearranged them to leave out some comments he threw in about changing the order he would talk about them.
Rule No. 1, Be Distinctive. “, …be yourself, be who you are, be honest, dig down inside yourself, reveal who you are. All of us on this planet as human beings are unique. You know there is nobody that is quite like us. We probably have more than one soulmate but there is nobody that is identical to who we are. Okay? So, if you are yourself, you know this little quote or sign on Facebook it says, be yourself everybody else is already taken. You know it is kind of like that. As an artist you don’t want your work to resemble somebody else’s art. If your work looks like Sam’s work and you’re doing a good job of getting it out into the world, you are promoting Sam. You know, it not so much about you. You need to find what makes you distinctive from everybody else and you need to focus on that and expand upon it. Art comes from your life experiences, if not it is mimicry, not art.”
I am sorry people, no passion, no art. And a passion for ribbons, or a passion to emulate how other club members photograph doesn’t cut it. If it does not come from within you—it ain’t art no matter the technical proficiency or the capitulation to rules.