The object becomes aesthetically significant when it becomes metaphysically significant. –Joseph Campbell
I RECENTLY had an interview with Jerry Hardesty of the podcast The Artist’s Voice. I’m glad to share my artistic journey with fellow artists and collectors. It isn’t always easy for artists to share our story. We are often notorious introverts (I count myself in that category).
But we shouldn’t be reluctant to get in front of a mic or camera. Such willingness to tell our story is critical for our careers. Like so many things in life, we don’t get what we deserve, we get what we strive to achieve.
Many artists wonder why sharing our story is so important. Recently I was asked to share with buyers why I created the paintings they purchased. Initially, I thought, “It’s a painting! It doesn’t need a story. I’m not an illustrator!” But I softened my view. I believe that those who buy paintings change their lives as they pass the painting every day. They are incrementally changed by its beauty. I want to expose as many people as possible to that beauty.
I realized that my painting project is not about the objects I create. It’s about the change I make by creating a beautiful space collectors want to inhabit. It’s not about the thick paint or the painting as an object. It’s about the positive change in the lives of viewers. If we love our careers and our paintings more than we love our collectors we are destined to fail. As we regard our paintings as a product, we diminish the metaphysical effect of the painting.
Artists are creating an emotional experience for the viewer. By focusing on the emotional experience we see why collectors want to know more about the painting. They want to know why it was created, what was its inspiration, what is the technical background of the artist. The collector wants to connect with your inspiration. They want to envision the ideas and conversations that will emerge. If we disparage that possibility saying the painting wasn’t intended as a conversation piece, we disparage the emotional impact of our paintings.
As we communicate our narrative to our collectors, we reinforce an emotional connection. No one can do this more effectively than us. And if we don’t do it, it is unlikely that anyone else will.
Where do artists get such negative ideas regarding our potential collectors? I blame it on the postmodernism that art schools foist onto their unsuspecting victims. Postmodernists pushed the idea that the love Aunt Bea had for Andy and Barney was a deceit to navigate an oppressive patriarchal hierarchy. After all, postmodernists don’t believe in love. So it isn’t possible for them to embrace painting as an expression of love. What appears as love is an evolutionary and deceitful attempt to acquire the physical resources to survive.
I think it’s time to retire such profoundly flawed philosophies. I think the world is ready for it. I understand the function of postmodernism; to shear away the barnacles of corruption that inevitably emerge from hierarchies. But as a day-to-day operating system, postmodernism dooms its practitioners to unhappiness and failure.
When I attended the Van Gogh show at the Metropolitan in New York City, I was profoundly moved. And the emotion I felt was love. It was so intense, I wept. I have never mentioned my experience publicly because I know the reaction would most likely be, “how sentimental”! But I now understand the necessity for authenticity in telling our stories. I intend to mention my experience more often.
Brad Teare — May 2019, Providence, Utah