I have also come to intimately understand the idea of "art for art's sake." What I make each day is simply what I make each day. Whether or not anyone ever sees it or is influenced by it matters, but there are other things that matter more. The significance is all about how it works in me, how it changes me, how it helps me express myself, allowing me to connect with others.
Walter Darby Bannard writes, "Art, like many things, can be used for whatever one wants to use it for, but the source of its value is aesthetic. It delivers a kind of pleasure which brings us something profound that we can’t put into words. This is what the phrase really means. It is as “human” as anything can be." (aphorismsforartists.com)
So am I a sellout?
So, of course, I sell my art. This is my job. And I am one of the most fortunate people in the world to be able to work at something I love each day and get paid for it.
My husband always jokes that "we can't afford any Cheryl Hicks art!" And yet we seem to have a lot of my art on display. The photos below are of pieces that have not sold, are currently hanging in my house, or have hung there for extended periods in the past, or have been painted over to be replaced with a new idea.
Picasso famously said, "To finish a work? To finish a picture? What nonsense! To finish it means to be through with it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul, to give it its final blow, the coup de grace for the painter as well as for the picture."
I appreciate the truth behind this statement, but it is perhaps a bit too dramatic for me. I am more inclined to align myself with Leonardo, who said, "A work of art is never finished, it is abandoned." Bannard adds, "A work of art is a living accumulation of creative judgments. Each judgment is a reflection on, and change to the existing accumulation. It is never quite clear when a work is finished because it can only be finished when the artist can't find anything to improve. Sooner or later, however, it must be done with. Creation, by its nature, is never complete."