If You Draw Something and No One Sees It, Is It Still Art?

Do I really have to show stuff to people? If I work for hours on a drawing and then put it away and never show it to anyone, were those hours wasted? If I have to rummage through my storage room to find my accomplishments, does that mean I really haven’t accomplished anything?

I had some stuff in a gallery not too long ago. A real gallery in a tourist-y little town. I had to pay rent to keep my stuff there, and I sold a couple of things, but I didn’t make nearly enough money to keep up the rent payments, not to mention covering the framing costs. So I took my stuff back and now it’s in my storage room, quietly gathering dust, and I’m wondering why I ever bothered showing it in the first place.

I always did art because I liked doing art. It was a challenge for myself, to see if I could come close to reproducing the Great Idea in my head. Most times I failed and put it away so I could try something else. I mean, it was my idea, after all, and who else would know anything about it?

But I guess there’s the point that art is communication, which would mean that there should be another side to the conversation, where someone else looks at what I did and tries to figure out where I was going.

So, I don’t know. Maybe challenging myself to put my Great Idea on paper isn’t enough. Maybe I should be challenging myself to show someone else what my Great Idea really was.


3 responses

  1. I reckon that if you draw it, or paint it, or photograph it, or write it, then it isn’t wasted time and is still art. What you decide to do with your art is entirely up to you.

    I would show it, though, because I’m an attention whore. :)

    October 1, 2011 at 9:19 pm

  2. I think it’s a particularly American quality that we feel driven to monetize our passions. I have a friend who gave up a career in set design, because it stole all her joy out of painting and creating. Others, though, are happy with the creative restraints provided by the market.

    I don’t believe there’s an empirically right or wrong answer to your question…it’s what’s right for you.

    October 28, 2011 at 9:33 am

  3. Exactly! Exactly!

    November 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm

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