First, my memory isn’t good. Never has been. I can’t remember people’s names. At school, I would take all evening to remember foreign language vocabulary. Friends would take one look and have it nailed.
Never ask me to join your pub quiz team.
I have a friend who is dyslexic. Show her once and she’s got it. Tell her, give her instructions, and it’s all wrong. Just show her, once. That’s how she’s learned to get through life.
So my superpower, the way I live with a poor memory, is I summarise facts into principles. Rules. This kinda person is like this, if this then that. It suits marketing well. These rules live effortlessly in my subconscious.
So, if I’m ‘live’ on video talking about art marketing, I need an easy go to when I’m giving examples of types of painting. Cat portraits -v- dog portraits is mine. Otherwise I’m going to be struggling to remember the words.
Second, I’m repulsed by snobbery.
Intellectually, I understand. If you’ve worked at your art for thirty years, you deserve some respect. Your craft, your ability, is likely to be at a much higher standard, objectively, demonstrably, obviously, than someone starting out.
But, that doesn’t make you better.
In the world of marketing some young pup could pop up and get a zillion followers on TikTok and leave me in the dust. Same with art or music. People love new stuff and practitioners can ride that a long way. Doesn’t make me bad and them good or vice versa.
I have a friend, an artist, who believes any encroachment of commercialism in art turns it into ‘not real art’. I respect that view, but reject the hierarchy that comes with it. This is real art, and that isn’t. The denial of other people’s work.
That’s the whole point of what I do. I’m here to promote art so we empathise more. If art is used to divide .. oh, those artists are not real artists, oh that person is new or not as skilled .. then I’ve a problem.
I walked the dog and met a friend who I know to be a very talented musician with a lovely voice, very easy to be with. I wondered what they were doing and they said “I sing in old people’s homes”. Absolute respect to that. What a laudable thing to do.
If someone makes their living painting dog portraits, that’s fricking beautiful. I’m very close to saying that deserves more respect than trying to impress the gatekeepers at the top of the art industry.
So I use cat and dog portraits deliberately to say that art is of and for the people. I use it to say that even though a fine artist with a long career and many accolades deserves respect for their accomplishments you can also respect the new artist with nothing but an idea. You don’t have to be divisive.
It’s all human experience, and it’s all art.
The bit that I haven’t resolved is that division seems to be part of our psyche. It’s embedded in leadership, I even teach it. When we stand for a value, we naturally stand against something. There’s us, into for example excitement and adrenalin, versus those who are satisfied with the routine. Them and us, we are different, that’s the start of building and leading a following.
Division is something we should try to lessen. Otherwise racism, sexism, brexit and so on and I’d rather not live in that world.
Stay safe, sell art