Art Philosophy : The Penalty of Greatness

Every human endeavor has its aficionados, and its purists. It has its own Taliban, too, who will punish you if you fail to follow in the line of orthodoxy. In painting, one orthodox view is that you must do ONE thing and one thing only, and to do otherwise will incur penalties.

This is one of the things that has held back my art, so I’m told: I am fluent in many styles, from my own special version of abstract expressionism to expressionism to classical impressionism and the all too hip abstract impressionism. You can’t do that in art.

The Art Taliban tell me that unless I become known for one thing, I will never get anywhere. This conflict goes to the meaning and purpose of art, and how it diverges between the collector-commerical artist cabal and myself.

Art investors often look at one of a kind paintings like stock purchases: They want they want 15% minimum annual return on investment, the uniformity of McDonald’s french fries and the brand name recognition of Sony. But art isn’t stock, it’s the soul of an artist.

I am my art, and one thing that I’ve discovered in my life is that I’m not the kind of person who is good at being only one thing. My mind reaches too far for that.

I have a good relationship with collectors and sometimes I even feel guilty that I’m not “branded” enough for their tastes. No one should think that I have any hostility toward art investors, far from it. But somehow I must strike a balance between living the one life I have successfully, and being a successful producer of value-added, investment quality art. The latter is the icing on the cake for me but the only thing that matters to the investor, the former is what I need to survive.

signed, Chriss Pagani

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