Every artist has some personal measure for a quality control standard to aspire to. Have made references to this standard in describing my work. To be blunt, my goal is to craft something, in some media, that is made well enough to survive through the third garage sale cycle beyond the original buyer (who loved the work enough to want to live with it) becomes unable to maintain him or herself, and/or dies. To create something compelling enough to pass into new hands through that first garage sale, and again to pass into new hands through the next one, and the one after that – is an indicator of quality. Most especially so if the person buying the work knows nothing about the artist or the details of the aesthetic involved. Artwork in museums and corporate collections are not immune from this dynamic. Deaccessions in collections happen all the time.
Walking into a gallery of art on display, I search for works that would survive that ‘third garage sale’ test. Most of what we create will end up in a landfill somewhere. Stages of growth and Sturgeon’s Law applies to all artists, and this demands making a lot of work before the mature stuff can bloom. To be sure, that is a long-term goal – but why settle for less from yourself?
What felt odd today, was spotting the first stage of that test playing out with a small blue drawing posted online in someone’s estate sale….
This drawing from 1993, “Max and the Blue Church Men” was created for’Cuentos’ an exhibition put together by Galeria Mesa and Desert Caballeros Western Museum. A writer-in-residence worked with students in two schools to produce personal short stories which were then given to a group of artists for visual interpretation. The story from student Max Hobson contained this sentence: “They don’t notice you if you’re small or if the church is black or blue.” Bon voyage little Max.