“Being able to mimic an earlier period was a sign of ability, not duplicity. So when, towards the very end of the fifteenth century, an early sculpture, sold as a Roman work, was revealed to be created by the young artist, Michelangelo Buonarotti, the fraud only emboldened his reputation.” -Noah Charney in Phaidon’s book The Art of Forgery.
One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about working in a retail gallery, is that there’s a constant flow of new jewelry, ceramics, clothing and visual art cycling through. I can study the material and design choices that all these artists have made, note their techniques, even try my hand at a few for practice, or see how they might work with other materials I’m using. It’s like the same kind of insight you’d gain from critiquing in a shared studio space in college. I also love having a reason to get to know all of these folks in person and through social media, as it helps me to talk up their work to potential buyers.
This job is the first one I’ve ever felt 100% relaxed and free to be myself in. Though only a weekend gig, it feels like much more, as I bring creative insights home with me that help guide what I’m doing in my own pursuit of beauty. I know that I have a good eye and solid feedback from my employer, and an outlet whenever I have new work I want to show. I even take the opportunity for granted, as there is no sense of urgency. I will produce the work as I am able, which is a dangerous lull to fall into. This year, and maybe for the next three, a twice a year deadline to produce new work is what I can realistically accomplish. Due by June and December.
Forms borrowed from local jeweler Lindsay Locatelli, just to practice new techniques.
It won’t be long until I get more time back, I tell myself; ‘it won’t be long until they’re all in school’ is my bittersweet mantra, to make time move for the purpose at hand. There’s so much to learn all the time, so much story to integrate into action, so many feelings to embody in an assemblage. Trying all these techniques is so inspiring, but also distracting a little from time to time. Some of these I’ll adopt, some are just good to know, some will come in handy later, and some will be forgotten altogether.
I recently made a bunch of ornaments after a Finnish folk art, just to see if they would be better received than other, less common forms I was making for market. They were less of an attractor than I had anticipated, which was good to find out. Sometimes we push harder and faster than is good for what we’re trying to accomplish, I’m trying to be less fixated on hitting numbers and quantity than in the quality of each individual piece. To slow down even further when you know you are only moving at snails pace to begin with, there is discipline.