This is a talk I gave not too long ago at a gallery in Santa Fe. I figured if I did a good job on the talk, maybe I would be recognized for my genius, and I could weasel my way into the gallery, (which did look good), I would then begin to show my artwork in Santa Fe again (something I haven’t done in a while).
Just as I stood up to give the talk the gallery owner and the gallery director both got up and left.
They did not see my talk.
THE GALLERY TALK
I was just six years old when I first announced to my mother that it was my life’s path to become a professional artist.
Her response was immediate,
“Ed” she said “you need to hire an agent”.
Those words of wisdom were to remain with me for the next 54 years of my life .....not because her words had merit or that I was inclined to heed them…………
In fact, I soon discovered that the international code of conduct for artists includes "never heeding advice of any sort".
Rather, the reason I remember that bit of early dialogue with my mother is because it was the FIRST bit of "UNSOLICITED ADVICE" I was to encounter in my life as an artist.
Sadly it was not the last.
Soon my mother was a veritable fount of "UNSOLICITED ADVICE".
I believe it all started out somewhat innocently at first ......
“ Ed, I saw the prettiest little bird painting the other day,
maybe you could try doing paintings of birds”,
she might say.
Then as the years progressed, my mother seemed to pick up steam…..
“ Ed, I think you could really make some money if you made dinosaurs out of car bumpers.....you know, like that young man we met in Arkansas”.
As any good son would, I learned to humor my mother, and I would from time to time even make crude attempts to show that I was taking her advice to heart.
What is truly frightening, however,is that for artists (especially visual artists, I think) "UNSOLICITED ADVICE" seems to expand and breed like rabbits.
I believe the term they now use in the computer world is “it goes viral”.
Everyone and their brother it seems,knows deep inside:
1.how to make art
2.how to display art
3.how to sell art
and 4.how best to lead the artist’s life,
(which almost always involves fame and fortune).
Friends, neighbors, and all the relatives will soon get in on the act .....
Often repeating a bit of wisdom, that one has only just heard from another source:
”Paintings of frogs are big this year, Ed. Do some frogs”, they will say.
By the time I was 12, if I even uttered the word “art” in public, total strangers would approach me on the street, and advise me to make dinosaurs out of chrome car bumpers, and sell them at flea markets…… just like some guy they had seen.
That man from Arkansas must have really gotten around.
Once the mailman said he had had a vision of sad children with big eyes,
And he hoped I might paint a picture of some for him.
It could be that that mailman went on to influence Walter Keane, or maybe he was Walter himself……I don’t know
Before I get too carried away explaining this phenomenon,
Which will have a chapter in the book I hope to write,
let me stop, and tell you why I have brought up the subject of "UNSOLICITED ADVICE".
YES, it IS primarily because I was asked to say something this evening, and I had nothing really to say.....
But like most things, there is a little more to it.
Here, I must pause to remind you, that it is my civic duty to be honest.
And to be honest, even though I have spent my entire life pursuing the arts, I do not have a clue what the whole thing is about.
The best I can come up with is art and creativity are a benign form of mental illness......that it is formed at a young age......perhaps, when a child fails to properly bond with the mother, or something.
But clearly from the phenomenon of "UNSOLICITED ADVICE" that I have just recounted to you, we can see that there is something buried deep in the human condition......something common to all of us that seeks fulfillment in creativity and the arts.
It simply MUST bubble up to the surface......whether it takes the form of advice to artists, or becomes the art itself.
Creativity and art are a corner stone or a building block of our entire civilization, and though we have tried hard for millennia to ignore it, ART is still with us.
We as a society have simply not yet out-grown antiquated ideas like ART or creativity.
So, like it or not, it is up to some of you to learn to interact and cope with artists.
It CAN be done. I have seen many people learn the skills necessary to not only talk to artists, but to deal with them on a personal basis.
My wife and daughter are two such individuals, feel free to talk to them.
And there are others out there who can help you.....so keep your eyes open for them......
people who will encourage you to be wary,but not afraid of creativity, or art, or artists.
Let these people guide you and nurture you and perhaps somehow we, both artists, and non artists, will all learn to get along and live together in harmony
Finally I want to say I think Jackie’s idea to create a website which brings artists, architects, and interior designers together is a big step in the right direction. It can be an important part in the healing process.
I want to applaud her for all the hard work she has done to get this web site up and running.
The Jackie I am referring to is JACKIE BUTLER of Santa Fe
Here is a link to her website “ARTGRAZE” :
Ed Haddaway is currently seeking gallery representation in Santa Fe (and anywhere else)