Monday, December 04, 2006

Time ≠ Great Art

As an artist, one thing that I often get asked and overhear, is that people will ask how long it took for an artist to create the work of art.

If time was the best indicator of good art, the greatest painting would never be finished. And what does this say about photography? With the click of a shutter lasting 1/60 of a second or faster, by the more time equals better art method, photography would be the lowest form of art, if it would even merit such a label.

I heard a story once where a customer went into an art gallery to buy a painting. The customer found one he liked but its price was a little out of his price range. The customer called over the gallery owner and asked if he could lower the price since after all, how long could it have taken the artist to paint it anyway. The gallery owner replied it took sixty years. The artist was sixty years old when he painted it, and up until that time there was no way he could have painted it before that moment.

The point of this is simple. An artist's work is a reflection of who they are, the environment around them, and the skill they have acquired, not the time it took to create it.

A good thing to remember is if you like the artwork, then whatever time it took to make it was the correct amount. Any more or less would have produced a different work. And if it is a different work of art, who cares how long it took?

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