Things I'll Never Understand - Art for Art's Sake?
"Art is a jealous mistress; and if a man has a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I had taken a choice early in life.I could either work hard to achieve perfection in my pursuit of art or leave it totally and join the rat race and be an ordinary wage earner.I chose the latter because I had no stomach for suffering.All the stories I'd heard about great artists and musicians, who had suffered for their art really scared me off.Besides, I'dprobably go off the deep end if I have to live such an isolated life.And in my dreams when I was younger, I'd already seen myself as a loving husband, a wonderful, understanding father to my kids.I wouldn't let them suffer for a second if I can help it.
Once in a while I exhibited some of my paintings at the PenangMuseum and ArtGallery.At some of the forums I attended with other artists, I learned that to be true to your art you must make sacrifices for it.You must not commercialize it.You must work on art for art's sake.And so on and so forth...sheez...
I found out that most of these artists who preach 'art for art's sake' are school teachers or sell art equipment.They can survive because they have steady income.I had nothing.My dad couldn't afford to send me to college.There were no local art schools.Only training I could get was from a local artist who taught part time.My dad actually asked me to continue to work on the farm and work on my art in the afternoons when it is too hot to be outside.I couldn't see any logic in this arrangement unless I'm a machine.Pour in fuel, start me up and I'll go.No way....
So, I dropped the idea, shined my shoes and went to town looking for a job.