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Archive for November 3rd, 2009

Albert York Grey Cow in Landscape with PondA friend sent me a New York Times obituary from the other day of a somewhat obscure painter.  The headline read, “Albert York, Reclusive Landscape Painter, Dies At 80” and told of the life and death Albert York, “a painter of small, mysterious landscapes who shunned the art world yet had a fervent following within it.”

I’m not sure if my friend forwarded this because it ‘s an interesting read or if he saw similarities between York and me.  But reading it made me think about my own form of increasing  reclusiveness and its effect on my career and beyond.

I used to worry about what sort of legacy, if any,  I would leave behind with the work I’m doing.  I guess that’s only normal when you feel you’re putting everything you have into something.  Much like a business owner who works his whole life growing and nurturing his business wants to believe that his toil will leave an enterprise that lives on past him.  Nobody wants to believe their very best will leave no footprints in the sands of time.

As an artist, these footprints are left through the recognition of your work.  This involves putting your work out there, pushing it and promoting it, making it known to those in the art world.  Sometimes doing good work will be enough but that is a rarity. It is a very social game in most cases, with careers advanced primarily through contacts begetting contacts.  The socially aggressive, those who seek to mingle with the art crowd, are rewarded.

I realized years ago that relying on leaving any sort of artistic legacy through these means was futile for me.  I don’t mingle well, haven’t been to anything resembling a party, outside of a few openings at my local gallery, for many years.  I don’t make contacts well.  Barely keep up with my best friends and family.  I can’t remember the last time I went to a movie, let alone a party.  I seldom like to venture beyond my normal routine or the end of my driveway.

I now realize this who I am and as such, have severe limitations on how I can affect the legacy of my work.  I will never be the insider, the social gadfly who constantly self-promotes.   I thought I could do that at one point but I know now that it’s not for me.  This blog is as close as I get to self-promotion these days.  I can only do what I do and that is paint and try to keep slogging ahead, hoping a footprint or two remains behind.

So, Albert York, my best wishes for you on your new endeavor.  Your work seems to have left a footprint…

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