The other day I came across a necklace for sale in a well-known major catalog that was so artless and uncreative, and such an affront to my sense of design that I just had to rant about it on facebook.
The response I got from another artist who read what I had written just blew me away. Here is the conversation below.
(Me, talking about the necklace): Ok. What is the point of this? Does this design make sense to you? It looks like someone just grabbed something from the machine parts department and threw some sea urchin spines on it and said “Fiddy Dolla”. And they wanted twice that much before they marked it half off. Sorry, but I just don’t get it. This is hardly art. No wonder I drink so much.
(Response from K.): I just bought some earrings from you with antique beads and I love them. YOU are an artist. Sounds like you are a little down. Got to look at the glass half full side of life. [parts unpublished to protect privacy] …, it’s taken me months to start feeling better and it takes work to get there. YOU have inspired me to purchase everything I need to set up my own silver jewelry studio, I’m getting my music midi studio set up, started playing my keyboards again after 10 years, have written 30 songs in the last 6 months. You inspire people with your work so please believe in the beauty of yourself because it comes through in your jewelry. Don’t worry about the junk…not relevant! Love you even though we’ve never met!
(Me): Wow! I’m truly overwhelmed! You brought tears to my eyes! I’ve spent all day trying to think of what to say. My son said, “I hope you saved that somewhere!”, which I have, and will cherish your comment forever. I am so touched by your candor, it is one of the best-best-best things anyone has ever said to me. In fact, I will be printing it out and putting it in my studio so I can read it whenever I need to.
I remember when I crashed and burned in 1994. It was 3 years before I went back into my studio, and I would sit there and literally force myself to make something, even if it was just to twist wire into a jumpring, with tears streaming down my face because it was like starting up an old rusty train engine. But it gets easier with time. It does take grit and determination and a will to thrive to overcome pain and wrenching loss, and the crippling atrophy it causes, and it sounds like you, K., have the momentum burning ardently enough to really burst through it now and shine.
So often I see stuff like that horrid necklace and wonder why I bother trying so hard, why care so much about trying to create something worthwhile and artistic when it’s the tripe that gets chosen to sell in the big catalogs, it’s the people with no talent that make all the money, and some days I feel like I am invisible and forever will be no matter what I do.
All I’ve ever wanted to do as an artist was to make a dent in the world with my art. To touch someone’s heart in a way that makes a difference, that changes a person, even just a little bit, so that their world becomes a better place. I don’t believe anyone has ever put it quite so succinctly before; letting me know that I have done just that. Thank you so very much!
And thank all of you out there who take the time to respond to my comments and rants. It really means a lot to me. I am truly honored, grateful, and happy to know you all.