Friday, May 21, 2010

To be or not to be.....

As I near the final stages of this photography project that I am working on, I find myself at a familiar crossroads. Its exactly like the crossroads I came to with my record. I create my art for the love. There is no question there. But, what do I do next? In music, the question was, do I look for a deal? Do I go play gigs? Do I promote my art in all of the ways that a relatively shy and introverted person like myself hates to? (As I say that, I can hear my friend Angela saying, "You? Shy?!") See, for me, art is more of an outlet than an occupation. When I made my record, I honestly never figured anyone would like it. It was a bit of a shock when people did. But I made the record with the understanding that I had no intention of PROMOTING it. I just wanted to put a piece of me out there in the world. But things have changed since then. I have come to realize that my art is not JUST my outlet. The response I've gotten to my art has made me realize that I really want to give it to the world on a larger scale.

As an artist, there is a certain degree of selfish love that goes into the process. I make art for me. I don't do it for money. I don't do it for fame. But when the idea of making money through my art comes up, things begin to change. The business of SELLING art can often over shadow the the business of MAKING art. The independent spirit in me tells me to stay independent, just like I did with my music. Don't worry about record deals or publishing deals. Don't look for mass approval. Make art. If anyone likes it, great. But on the other hand, I also know the law of averages. If I expose enough people to my art, I am bound to find quite a few that like it. To do that, I'll need the help of those yucky business type people who sell things by marketing them and labeling them and making them appealing to the masses. While the process of releasing my record on my indie label was very gratifying, so was the moment I get national distribution and the moment I heard that I'd been put into rotation on a major radio station. Last time, those things happened almost by chance. If they had happened by design, its possible the outcome of that project would have been very different.

So here I am at the crossroads. Do I continue on my path as the independent artist, the backpack kid with a camera in one hand and a dream in the other. Or do I go for broke? Do I push to get my book published in the traditional sense and promote my work to the masses? And if I do, what happens if I fail? Ah. There's the rub. After all, one cannot fail at anything one does not try. Is my anthem of independence really just a cry of fear. Because I've been to this crossroads before, I'd like to say I know the answer to that question. Still, here I am pondering the question once again.

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