Art Alchemy Studio

Mixed Media Art by Chaska Peacock

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Encourage the Journey

When my invitation to the 2007 Florence Biennale arrived a few weeks ago, I could hardly breathe from excitement. I read it over and over in disbelief, but it really did say I had been selected by their international committee....and named them. The invitation folder and all the information was exquisite in its simple, elegant
design. After I got over thinking they had me confused with someone else, I wondered whether I could handle such a thing. Did I even want to handle the pettiness which exists in the art community? Had I not decided I had had enough of pretentious, sneering posturing? Could I stand strong and not cave in to what was bound to come: subtle...or not so subtle put-downs?

Some people surprised me pleasantly. Others were quick to point out that anyone who was willing to spend the money could be in it, they would have thrown their invitation into the garbage, and one person who had never been to Florence referred to it as a glorified craft show.
Perhaps, I was shot down by all the negativity, but I'd like to think it was because this wintertime adventure was not worth the high dollar cost to me. Whether all the comments were correct I do not know. I'd like to think they were meant kindly.....but it's a bit of a stretch.

The person that I am today finds it a bad thing to shoot down anyone! More harm has been done by telling people things "for their own good" than the "helping" individuals could ever imagine.

Carolyn Newberger of Brookline, MA wrote:
No one is "good" or "bad," in my opinion, but either moving or stalled in their development. Comments that support or unblock that process are far more helpful than judgments about their work or their "talent," and can provide needed tools for fresh perspectives or techniques. When I was 18, my first and last art professor in college let me know that I wasn't talented. I abandoned art for 44 years, only to discover accidentally at age 62 that I am indeed an artist, and have been working hard, passionately, and successfully for the past three years. You never know where a person may go, so always encourage the journey.


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