Archive for November 17th, 2009

I’ve had the term body of work in my head recently and was reminded of it once again by a couple of sports related stories in recent days.  First, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick made a risky decision this past weekend that failed and may have paved the way for his team’s loss.  This morning, sports talk radio was filled with analysts calling it a bonehead move but one analyst made me think when he said that sure, it was a mistake but he wouldn’t judge him on this one mistake. Instead, he would look at his whole body of work.

Then there is the case of Andre Agassi who, in his recent biography, revealed that during a year in the 90’s he had regularly used crystal meth during the tennis season.  He was widely attacked for this revelation, many judging his entire life on this episode of bad judgment.  He expressed surprise at the reaction, saying he hoped people would judge him by the whole of his life and not a time he openly and honestly regrets.  He wanted to be judged for his body of work.

It made me think.  How many people out there have judged me on one bad moment I may have had?  Something idiotic I said?  How many people was I holding judgement on whose only exposure to me was in a less than stellar moment in their lives?  How many of these people had changed, grown and evolved, yet I only knew them from a much less developed time in their lives?

I guess the same dynamics are in play when I speak of my painting as body of work.  There are certainly people who have seen my work and it may not have hit them favorably at that point and they formed a judgement that becomes set in their minds, making it hard to overcome.  Like Belichick and Agassi probably realize, there’s not a lot that can be done except to try to focus on what you can control, to try to constantly evolve and improve and create a body of work that shines brighter than the inevitable lowlights we all encounter in our lives.

I try to keep that in mind when I’m in the studio, that I cannot worry about those whose opinions of my work I can’t control.  I can only concern myself in satisfying that person whose opinion I can control and that’s me.  If I can do that, I will create a body of work  worthy of the most critical eye.

The piece at the top is Climbing Beyond the Blue and is on its way to the Kada Gallery in Erie, PA today.  I’m on the road again, visiting my friends in Erie before the holidays and delivering some new work.

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