I used one of the frames I got the other day for my most CONTROVERSIAL(!) painting – Toilet Humor. When I shared a photo of that, I got one particularly succinct response: “Crap.”
That (I think) is fair. Sort of. As a standalone image, it kinda screams, “look at me!” and (arguably) little else. I added a link to its entry on my website, with the statement I had written. That’ll clear this all up!
My critic’s response: “Still crap.”
I guess I understand but, at that point, I no longer thought it was fair. I said as much and added that it’s clearly something I put a lot of time and thought into it. She said it’s contrived. In a sense, that’s true. It wasn’t natural; it took a lot of strain and effort, not because it was bullshit but because it’s difficult and scary to work with and write about something that’s got such potential to hurt (or at least offend). And that’s especially true when your audience is online. Truth be told, it even makes me so uncomfortable that (as tempted as I was) it took a little while to compel myself to actually re-read the statement. There’s nothing easy about “Toilet Humor.” And if it’s insulting to my critic’s intelligence (as I was also told) she must be a whole lot smarter than I am.
The point I’m really getting at [I have one, I swear!] is that, while I absolutely stand by the piece, it is worth mentioning that it’s one of my very first; is totally unlike the stuff I paint these days; and that that’s (I think) both good and bad. On the one hand, “rich kids care about politics”; I’m too caught up in my own nonsense to wanna make any kinda statement beyond my “artist’s statements,” e.g. “Today I threw an emotional shit fit and then painted a bunch of funny faces about it!” [My regular “go-to” when I wanna make fun of myself and my art. Pretty spot on, right!?]
I poke fun but that part of my process is really important to me, I’m glad I do it, and I need to do it. But the value of work like “Toilet Humor” is that it forces me outside my comfort zone and (I don’t think) that’s ever a bad thing. And I don’t mean to say that I’m tackling issues; I wasn’t off on any irrelevant/diversionary social or political rants. Like most of what I do, it’s thoroughly personal.
Which brings me to my piece from today, ”Shit Fits / Funny Faces.” (It was bound to happen sooner or later, if only because I think I’m hilarious).
The “shit fit” that gave rise to it had nothing to do with Toilet Humor. It takes a lot more than criticism of my art to send me into a downward spiral. That only happens when something really serious goes down. You know – like A GIRL NOT PAYING ENOUGH ATTENTION TO ME FIRST THING IN THE MORNING WHEN WE WAKE UP. Or, um, something like that anyway…
Hey, Heather! Look! I’m talking about you on my website again! JUST LIKE YOU (implied that) YOU WANTED (or at least liked?) (I think!?!)
(I love you).