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Why You Suck As An Artist

Forum > Educational Presentations

by Honeybunch
Article of the Month December 2007
Woman-Painter TUTORIAL

Why You Suck As An Artist

1. You were bad at maths, English grammar and everything else academically related. Someone told you “that was a bitchin’ drawing you did of Johnny Dep”, and you had a crush on one of the cool art guys – the one with the emo cut and cute butt. So, you took refuge in the art room and there you stayed until one day you got to thinking “hey, that’s what’s wrong with me, I’m an artist.”

2. You make work that kind-of looks like the stuff you see in the art magazines and no one here notices that anyway, because they’re either doing the same thing (and don’t wish to draw attention to the phenomenon) or they spent their money on piss last night, can’t afford the extortionate price of art-mags, and can’t be bothered to go to the library after their day job (a job that lets them dress like an artist but pays crap) and look at the art magazines.

3. You never had an original idea in your life - after a lifetime of TV watching, vacuous conversations about boys, “that bitch”, and a variety of celebrity celebrities. You have no real-life experience of any note, no informing psychic wounds of any magnitude, and you’d need a micrometer to measure your teeny-weeny range of interests.

4. Your main interest in carrying on as an artist is the free alcohol at openings, the off chance that you may get your ‘clock punched’ post-opening, and the artist’s dole.

5. Being an artist gives you a convenient answer to your mum and dad’s perennial questions as to why you’ve never made much of your life and why you keep borrowing money from them and threatening to move back into your old room because your so depressed.

6. You make work that is ‘conceptual’ in nature because all of the jades who taught you in art school couldn’t be bothered to teach you technique or how to go about intelligently strategizing a body of work. Besides, making conceptual artwork saves on the cost of materials, takes way less time, and can be thought out and sketched on a pub drink coaster.

7. Being an artists is your lifestyle choice, sort of like choosing an outfit to wear for this lifetime….and, after making that choice you’re too lazy (or afraid) to change your outfit.

8. Somewhere deep in your heart of hearts you shelter a flickering dream of ambition – a dream of that ambition consists primarily of the cash and prizes that putatively come with being an art superstar, but don’t include long thankless hours in the studio – thank you very much.

9. You like group shows ‘cause there’s always more people at the openings (10 artists x 10 friends each = at least 100 merry-makers) increasing your chances of caging drinks afterward and maybe, just maybe, getting laid one of these nights.

10. You think theme shows are great – you don’t have to come up with your own idea for an installation, which is great, because doing that always gives you a headache and what if your idea turns out not to be up-to-the-minute, or uncool.

11. Your conceptual art practice is super because it saves you the money you’d have to shell out for a studio, if you were one of those lame sell-out object makers – who are just providing commodified couch-pleasers and garden sculpture for the wealthy.

12. You practice your cool-art-face in the mirror at home ( and check periodically in a public restroom mirror during the course of an evening ) before going out to an art event – you don’t want to look to eager, enthusiastic, aware, or upbeat, now do you.

13. Your currently researching and applying for multiple grants and residencies – you can meet some really cool and cute people at some of those residencies, and grants (although difficult to get) provide some sort of imprimatur for your practice since your work is way too avant-garde, ephemeral, edgy, elusive, immaterial, for anyone to think about collecting.

14. Your boyfriend ( or girlfriend ) husband ( or wife ) just left you. They never did give you the support you’re entitled to…considering what you contributed ( in terms of glamour and access ) to their life. They were always complaining about the fact that you could sleep in all the time, while they had to get up and go to work.

15. Your waiting for your parents ( or grandparents ) to die so you can sell their house and/or inherit what’s left of their estate after all the elder care was deducted,
Or, you’re living on your family trust and being an artist gives you an ongoing project that includes the sort of luster that works great with guys ( or girls ) you’re interested in.

16. You like talking about art because no special knowledge or language is really required to sound like you’re in the know. You’ve picked up enough Gallic and Frankfurt School philosophical jargon to get you by - and if you run into trouble with the wrong identity group, opacity and obfuscation always come in handy in an art-conversational pinch.

1 to 20 of 34
Chris St Clair
4 articles & 17 comments since 20 Sep 2007
17. You spend a lot of time sitting alone and drunk in your room coming up with lists.
11 articles & 65 comments since 26 Oct 2007
Chris sweet boy, Mmmmmmmmm, that hurt so good. Do THAT again, pleeeaaaaase.
No, on second thought, don't bother.

By the way, Chrissy, I'm "sitting alone" right now. What am I wearing? What am I doing? Drinking? NOT.

18. You're probably young, so you really can't be blamed for not knowing how to use IT. You think you have a big one (intellect that is) but as we all know it's not the size of the meat (brain that is) it's the motion (mind that is).

19. You think you're a critic but your stuff (on artbash) comes off as sophmoric and sadly predictable...although your mates tell you you're clever.....after you've had a few.

So, Saint Clair, what's a girl to do with a BOY like you. Hmmmm. I think I'll just ignore you next time - as a well bred girl should, when she's fiddled in a public place, by an amateur masher like yourself. When you grow up (and out) come back and see me.

Ta, ta.

Chris St Clair
4 articles & 17 comments since 20 Sep 2007
20. You're naughty. Very naughty.
cadmium hed
6 articles & 432 comments since 30 Apr 2006
21.You read a concise, and disturbingly accurate, list of all the reasons why you suck as an artist and still you don't think that you suck. I mean, you went to artschool so how could you?
3 articles & 366 comments since 9 Oct 2006
22. you are genuinely bewildered what reading and thinking could possibly have to do with making art because you just want to make the world more pretty (why cant people just respect that dammit?) and if possible sell something to pay for this months sms bill and your personal trainer.

23. you know in your gut, and by that nagging feeling that you are essentially empty with nothing in particular to say, that the universe is expressing itself through you when you paint.

24. you spend so much time agonizing about how your work makes an essential contribution to improving society that its been months since you actually produced anything.

25. you especially hate it when another artist is honored, gets an award or is invited to show somewhere because you cant understand why it isn't obvious to everyone that your work is so much better than the crap that suck up asshole sellout makes. I mean, your lack of success absolutely proves it that the art world is run by over-educated parasites and corporate bastards, doesn't it?
137 articles & 705 comments since 12 Feb 2005
#4 "Your main interest in carrying on as an artist is the free alcohol at openings" BINGO! Although it's not just artists who go to openings.
Captain Dece
3 articles & 39 comments since 1 Jan 1970
Honeybunch is right - OLD people like her definitely know how to use IT?
11 articles & 65 comments since 26 Oct 2007
26. You think that reading and thinking ( i.e. researching ) will give you the ideas that you lack - due to the absence of any significant or humanly compelling experience of your own - but instead, because of your chronic looking elsewhere, at the experience of others, your work has a sort of dry, sociological sensibility. To make up for your work's essential barrenness you take to involving non-art communities in your process. This perversely satisfies you but leaves your involuntary community audiences baffled, and at times irritated, by your antics. You take the social irritation you encounter in these situations as validation of your work as question raising, and challenging.

27. You are suspicious of beauty. You forget that great novels (and great works of visual art) can be brimming with it - and that a terrible beauty is sometimes distilled from the coarse grain of mundane human experience when individuals and groups come, often unwillingly, to grips with the extremes (crime, sexual abberation, war, personal and political betrayal) of life. You think of your practice as slice-of-life stuff but you fail to realize that it takes an exceptional novelist ( or visual artist ) to engage an audience with the base-clay of things.
75 comments since 16 Nov 2006
29. You are so god-like in your ability to distill the truth from everyone elses' unconscious actions that you choose not to acknowledge the number 28.
4 comments since 10 Nov 2007
30. You spend time doing this.
cadmium hed
6 articles & 432 comments since 30 Apr 2006
31. (To infinity....)
You see little red dots everywhere, next to windows, your car windscreen, your tv, your sunglasses!!!......why can't others see the things you see and indeed how valuable your unique way of looking at things is??!!
11 articles & 65 comments since 26 Oct 2007
32. You seek out the company of a-oles because everyone has one - and with that biological assurance (tucked neatly between your legs) you eliminate the need to compare yours to other's...or sniff out those that are different from your own.

33. You are the Captain of your own destiny. And while seated in the snug ( smug?) comfort of an adolescent's imaginary Captain's chair you forget (but will be reminded soon) that biology is your fate (as well) and that everything new is OLD.
3 articles & 366 comments since 9 Oct 2006
34. you enjoy feeling misunderstood, it gives you a special status as voluntary exile from the cattle (which is how you regard everyone else) being alienated gives you permission to be endlessly scornful. It is your duty to teach the rest of us what we are doing wrong.
11 articles & 65 comments since 26 Oct 2007
35. You love everyone unconditionally. But some more than others.

ali-bi - If I've offended you I'm heartily sorry - in consort with Mr. Artbasher I'm a fan.
3 articles & 366 comments since 9 Oct 2006

#35 sounds like some kind of emotional communism, or organised religion...

oh dear, did you think #34 was a bit pointed?

not offended sausage munch, I said I enjoy sparring with you and I meant it, you liven the place up, you are smart and fearless and funny even when egregiously wrong, and a worthy adversary ...and besides as my dear old mum (hokey schmaltz moment thrown in just for you) used to say:

"your father and I are not fighting ...we are having a lively discussion"

your flame thrower is probably bigger than mine, and I am generally handicapped by a stupid unwillingness to go for body shots when they present...but you shouldn't expect me to be entirely passive either.

[comment added later: thats a compliment honeybunch in case you missed it, I only fight with people who can handle it. dont take my bites too personally...how can they be personal? I have no idea who you are]

cadmium hed
6 articles & 432 comments since 30 Apr 2006
35. minus 1. You pull up just before really throwing round the offal as it's always better to drown in sugar and not shit.
11 articles & 65 comments since 26 Oct 2007
Dear Mr. Cad Hed

36.Your earnest studio wallowings find you drowning in awful (rather than offal) - and, as with quicksand, the more you struggle the quicker you're swallowed up by your fin de siècle fever-dream of authenticity. Unbeknownst to you, your so-called artistic activity is merely the many limbed manifestation of your own unconscious agony - summoned each time you face one of your just completed couch-pleasers ...failed objects that never fail to soundly trounce you, in your solipsistic arena for creative-heroics.

cadmium hed
6 articles & 432 comments since 30 Apr 2006
37. Having failed again, soundly denounced, you crawl of to die quietly behind the couch, guiltily aware that in some sort of misguided van-goghian groundhogday fable(rather than feeble)-dream you actually enjoy the abuse and will return in futility to the studio again, and again, to have more honey poured on your wounds.
3 articles & 366 comments since 9 Oct 2006
Cadmium Hed, Ive often thought you are an elegant wordsmith without saying so. That was the written equivalent of an aikido throw, you take hold of the incoming force, shift your center of balance and redirect harmlessly...
cadmium hed
6 articles & 432 comments since 30 Apr 2006
Why, thankyou Sensei Alibi, but i don't come remotely close to the fine (s)wordplay displayed by yourself and Honeybunch...bring on the next round.
This threads days could be numbered though, ha, ha......sorry.
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