Thursday, July 31, 2014

Telling it like it is: Mel Jacobson

I read the ClayArt listserv most days and wanted to share Mel Jaocbson's post from July 29, 2014. Mel has been potting and painting canvases for close to 60 years, most of those in Minnesota, and is one of my clay heroes. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

it is a very noble profession to be a fine artist.
it is hard work, and money is hard to come by.

anyone that thinks they have talent and are willing to take
on the challenges of fine art are fine with me.

just like being a competent, professional is
amazingly hard work, and takes a great deal of discipline
to achieve.

the world at large has always been suspicious of artists.
and, since artists are free thinkers, sort of free spirits they
continue to be out of the main stream in any society.

where does the art faculty rank in any major university????
be real, they are not up with the big boys/girls...for sure.
in most cases, the lowest paid staff members.  pay means something.

of course, artists often tweak the public and sort of act
without boundaries, so the society judges them by that sort
of action and standard.  if you call your work `play` the society
will not take you very seriously.  i have argued with nils for years
about `play`...i know what he means....being open and ready to
try anything...but, the society thinks you mean...`screwing around`.
and, if you are judged by that standard...well, no one wants your work.

i have always encouraged my students, and those young people that
come to me to be `professional and set a high standard of behaviour`
for self.  your public is watching.  the more you set a high standard, the
more the public will admire you and want what you make.

it is why i sell out of my home.  it is a very high standard.  even better
than a high end gallery.  i pay myself that 50% commission.
(now passing 65% in many cases)

i want my customer base to admire me, and think of me as a
source of quality work and things that they are able give as gifts
and be proud to give them.  it takes a great deal of work to
pull that off.  you must be diligent.  it does not `just happen`.

i have never lived in the land of `artsty fartsy`.  i live in the world
of competent quality art.  it is my profession.

i listen/watch artists talk on our local pbs tv station. (sunday night)
 some are so damn
smart and good and quality that it makes me proud, then the next
one talks about `need for expression, and art conversation` that
makes me gag....dressed like freaks, covered with tattoos and ring
nose pieces,  they are jokes unto themselves.  who do they think they
impress??  not the buying public.

so, as always, it is up to the individual to make or break your art
and profession.  the world is full of `flash in the pan`
one day, gone the next.  fame for a minute. then it is `working at starbucks`.
the good ones are in for the long haul.  it is daunting. but, the best part
is...`your life is your own.`

from: minnetonka, mn
 clayart link:
new book: