Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How About You?

What Do You Make?
What Type of Artist Are You?
Is Your Art Acceptable to Society or Cast Aside as Something Unworthy to Behold?

"Oh, you're an artist, too? What type of art do you do?" When she heard I made art "dolls", I could hear the huge disappointment in her voice. The theater is "real art", which is what she is involved in...a small local theater but nonetheless a theater. One where kids and the community volunteer to put on shows. Her response to my form of art..."That's nice. Well, we all need an outlet." Can we get any more condescending? I wonder if it would have made a difference if I made a Theater of Puppets that danced and sang to the musical masterpieces of Broadway plays? If I tap danced on the street in baggy clothes and a ripped tee-shirt, would that not be accepted as art; or, would I need to be decked out in fine clothes, tails, and a top hat, donning the stage with a spotlight on me?

I find lately I've been stumbling when trying to explain my work, so I use multiple terms with a description. Why must I explain anything at all? Can't anything be left to one's imagination? What happened to people deciphering things for themselves? Perhaps I will begin carrying little wallet size cards of my work instead. Allow the visual images rise above the verbiage and speak to their inner child-selves. Funny thing, not one child has ever asked me these questions. They take a closer observation. They either like it or don't.

The term "Art Dolls" seem to perplex a lot of people. Art and Doll don't go together in many minds. "What is that?" When I say "Fiber Sculptures" or "Multi-Media Sculptures", a light clicks on and their interest is peeked. Why? I don't know. However, I find I receive a better reception when using these latter terms.

I make what I make for myself. Does that make it less than art? In my opinion, no. Some people like it. Some people don't. Does it really matter if it is valued more by some than others? Does that make it considered art or not? I would never put down someone else's creative endeavor as something insignificant or unworthy because I may not value, appreciate, or understand it as much as other forms of art.


julie mitchell said...

I create art dolls too, but started calling them Spirit Figures early on...much because of the look of dismissal I would get when people heard the word, 'doll'....and yes, I heard the muttered, 'and she calls that art', on more then one occasion.
I do feel I've earned a bit of acceptance in the 'fine arts' world, but more is needed. Fiber artists create amazing works of art and deserve recognition....julie

Mrs. Art Doll Maker said...

"Spirit Figures" is a very captivating and intriguing description. It's a term that will draw people in. It something that can resonate within someone. I love that. The terms I've been using still don't seem quite appropriate; and, I'm still not fully comfortable with using them. I've been tossing around different names myself. Nothing has fit yet. Thank you so much for your post.

needlewings said...

You pegged it! Amen!