Inspiration Fridays! What does your artwork say about you?

8paint Inspiration Fridays

What does your artwork say about you?

Last week I was asked if I ever painted paintings just because I thought they would sell. And I have to admit, that, especially when I was broke, I did everything I could to anticipate what the market might want. I wanted to survive as an artist and that wasn’t easy. I hadn’t even begun to grasp the vastness of that divide that lives between being a painter, and the marketing of a painting.

“The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.” – James Baldwin

But reaching the market wasn’t why I started painting. It’s also not why I continued to paint when even being a painter seemed like a fool’s journey.

I paint because it’s my way of making sense of the world that I live in. With paint, I can say what I think about the world, and those thoughts are reflected back at me in visual form.

When my paintings are honest, I get to learn about my truth. When they’re superficial, motivated by insecurity, or the need for validation, I end up learning even more about myself.

Lilies #4 - acrylic on panel - Gabriel Mark Lipper

Lilies #4 – acrylic on panel – Gabriel Mark Lipper

How many times in life have we tried to anticipate what someone is going to want only to discover that we have no idea? We can end up sanding down the parts of us we feel might stick out too much, with the hope of fitting into another person‘s mold.

When we put our real selves out there and risk, our risk resonates. Our risk even resonates with people who haven’t had the courage to try. It resonates with people who have failed, and it resonates with everyone who has ever had a crazy idea, and chased it.

And this is the job of an artist. We are here to share what we see. An artists’ perception is an authentic reflection of both the internal and external experience of life. That’s why making good art is so hard. We are addressing the business of living, and life isn’t a product.

So the next time that you’re standing in front of your easel, don’t bother trying to discover what’s trending, or what the market is looking for. But do be intentional. If you are still at the beginning of your artistic journey, show us your struggle. Don’t try to cover it up being slick or careful. Give us your best, and if it’s clumsy or fragile, it will be all the more beautiful for it.

Show us your process. If you’ve already logged your 10,000 hours, make sure you’re leaning in and forcing yourself to go deeper. It would be a shame to waste your mastery on something easy and redundant.

Art is sacred because it can show us what we haven’t been able to see. That’s where its value comes from.

Are you painting what you love?

If your paintings could talk, what would they say?

What does your artwork say about you?


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