Archive for December 17th, 2008

Salvador DaliAt the opening for my show at the Haen Gallery in Asheville, a young woman approached me, telling me first that  she had a piece of mine and she loved the work.  We talked for a bit then she came out with the inevitable.

“You’re not what I had expected.  I thought you might be wearing a beret or a cape or something like that.”

I get that a lot.

People expect something much different than I appear to be.  More flamboyant, I guess.  Maybe more boorish.  Maybe like this guy, Salvador Dali, who exemplified that stereotype of the crazy artist.  But they’re faced with me-  a thick-waisted, middle-aged guy with a sloppy gray beard.  I used to kid with the folks at the Principle Gallery that I would show up at a show one day in a Dali-like manner, swooping in to hold court in my flowing black cape, waving my arms about in dramatic flourishes.  Maybe wearing a monocle?  I sometimes wonder if people would look at my work differently if I donned a cape and had a long waxed mustache.  Would they find different attributes in the paintings?  Would they find a different meaning in each piece?

I don’t know.  I hope not.  But I do know there is an illusion behind each person’s impression of a piece of art, that it is a delicate web that supports how they value a piece and that can be affected by my words or actions or even appearance.  That is one of the reasons I’m a little reticent to do this blog.  I could write something off the cuff, something that I might soon realize was a product of flawed logic, and  quickly destroy someone’s whole interpretation of my work.  

PopeyePerhaps that is not giving the work enough credit for its own strength and life.  Perhaps this is the flawed logic I mentioned.  Whatever the case, it’s something I bear in mind.  But for the time being, I will keep the cape in storage  and stick with the credo of my childhood hero, Popeye: “I yam what I yam.”

And that’s all that I am…

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