I was in a funk last week after finishing a painting. But then Whiting sent me this postcard. I haven't posted a "How To Draw A Bunny" post for five months. I guess I was getting tired of hearing about Whiting Tennis. His band has a new album coming out next month and last month one of his sculptures was purchased by the Seattle Art Museum. But when this card (a painting actually) came in the mail, I started to feel a little better. The gesture is full of action that I'm afraid some people will never understand. The painting still has a gallery tag on the back with the price of $350.
Allow me to tell a brief story. The other day, I was at a party and several of us had gathered in the kitchen. We were all chatting and I was nonchalantly drawing a bowl of fruit that was in front of me. Eventually, the host asked if they could have the drawing. I laughed, and said "Of course not" and crumpled up the drawing and threw it into the garbage. This did not go over well.
I am not saying that I have become Whiting's garbage can. I also don't think that people who paid $350 dollars for a Whiting Tennis painting in 1999 should feel as if this gesture de-values the artwork that they purchased. And yet it seems that it is impossible for some people to understand that the finished piece is ultimately above the value system. They, we, apply the value. The doing is where it is at. Unless the doing is just therapy? Unless, I suppose, a person has some sort of original meaning-of-life to reveal? Ok ok, so it is not just the doing, communicating is important. But for the sake of the postcard, an "artist" whose own internal value system fluctuates is bad news for dealers and collectors of "art". It is the main reason that someone like me needs a gallery or a manager. The arbitrary nature of value makes no sense to me, except for maybe as an hourly rate, and even that is wonky. Someone else needs to apply their knowledge of these things for me. This someone is, ironically, a person who I need, but who I don't understand. It can take years for me to comprehend the wake of images that is produced from my doing. Over time, paintings of mine that haven't sold have become shelving, while some (regrettably for the planet) have become land-fill and still others have become postcards.
Here is my proposal:
Give me a title in the comments section of this post, and I will mail you a postcard drawing based on your title. I get to scan your drawing and post it here before I send it. Be careful with the word verification part of Blogger, often you will be asked many times to jump through that hoop. Make sure it says "Your comment has been saved".