Guest Author: romy owens
Dear Oklahoma artist under age 30 (specifically those of you who are currently college students),
With the deadline for OVAC’s Momentum: Art Doesn’t Stand Still OKC drawing near, February 7 with online digital submissions as the method of entry, I desperately want to encourage you to submit work for this exhibit featuring the best young emerging artists in Oklahoma.
I recently mentioned this deadline to an art major from a local university, as I was suggesting that she enter. Her response was threefold: money is tight, the process seems difficult and she is too busy.
|romy owens discusses artists' careers with |
David Holland at an ASK workshop.
Excuse me? Even thinking about this conversation again makes my stomach curl.
Please allow me to share with you what I shared with her, and please know that I don’t care if you find this message patronizing. Truly, I have your best interest at heart.
Showing up is the most important thing.
So, for all you young artists out there who think it is too expensive or too difficult, or you’re too busy to enter the hands down best Oklahoma exhibit that is SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED to give you practical art experience, if this is really really really how you feel about it, if you think these statements about time, money and ease apply to you and your life and you can’t manage to submit artwork for one or more of the above listed reasons, either your priorities need to be shifted or, if your priorities can't be shifted, you need to change your major. Immediately.
Art is hard. Making art isn’t the hard part, but the profession of it is. Unless you happen to be independently wealthy, money is always tight. Despite your amazing talent, rejection is tough and 100% inevitable. And there is NEVER ENOUGH TIME. It’s not a career for the weak-of-heart or for those who can’t be motivated to take advantage of opportunities that are readily provided.
How do I know? I’m a full time artist. It's a tough career choice. I'm not being bragadocious like I'm some kind of successful role model. I'm being candid because put down the Wii remote, or the beer, or the TV remote, or the phone and get off your ass and enter your art in exhibits already!
And right now, while you are in college, this is when it is the easiest. It will never be easier than it is right now. Never. It only gets harder. Well, until you are über successful and sought after the Whitney for their Biennial, but even that won’t be easy. I vaguely remember some kind of bleak statistic about 5% of art students actually having a career in art after graduation. So even if you have 18 credit hours this semester and a full time job at Taco Bueno and a newborn baby, a career in art will never be easier than it is right now while you are in school.
So, please enter Momentum. I sincerely hope you will. I know there are many many people who attend Momentum looking forward to seeing the emerging talent. It’s exciting. And we all want to see your fantastic art.
But if you can’t be bothered, go visit your advisor tomorrow, and see about pursuing a career in a field that is always hiring and requires less personal initiative.