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Public Opinion is a Weak Tyrant for the Fine Artist

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

A Few Notes on how Your Own Private Opinion of YOUR Art is the Key... by Jennifer Klemp Artist

As an artist, you are often scrutinized. Is the work good or bad? We aren't creating and selling commodities, we're selling art after all. And art today, is for enrichment. You could argue so is coffee, but I think you get what I mean.

This is why it is very important as you keep working as an artist to be happy with your own private opinion of yourself. The most crucial element to all of your successes and failures as an artist is to keep going with the work, whatever that work might be.

If you aren't happy with your opinion of what the work is, then you must change it. Are you feeling like the work lacks meaning, or that it has become stale, even though you might be selling much of your work? If that is the case, it's time to change things up.

This is the artists journey: 1. Make work. 2. Evaluate. 3. Decide if it makes you happy and why you are creating that work. 4. Set out to Sell the work. 5. Re-evaluate. Then, go back to step one with the information you have gained. (This is the simplified version of the journey of course!)

The process of creating your work gets tricky when one of these two things happen:

  1. Your work is fantastic, and you love it, but you aren't selling the work.

  2. Your work is not where you want it to be, but you are selling the work.

The sweet spot is where you have created work you LOVE, and then the work is ALSO SELLING. (Preferably at a price point you are happy with.)

The place where artists find themselves often is in this area: We are experimenting with our work, and have to give it a chance to succeed in the world before the re-evaluation process. It is up to the artist to decide how long we experiment with a particular series. I've started many series, and drop them for a time, years perhaps, and pick them up again. One example of this is the 'Hive Series'. I started the series long ago, and I just haven't gotten it out into the world yet.

Timing is everything, and I feel now is the right time for this series to make its debut!

As an artist, I am most concerned with the work I am personally creating, and the motives behind the creation. For those of you who are conceptual artists, the meaning behind the work is everything!

My personal work in the GRID SERIES is concerned with tapping into the spiritual realm in order to answer questions about manifestation and power. On the other hand, the HIVE SERIES is an environmentally conscious collective of work that is related to 'Grid Series', and is concerned with awareness of declining bee populations. Public opinion is secondary on my list of concerns about most of my work, however, I can't say that the opinion of the public doesn't matter.

As the artist, you have the right and the power to change your work up at any time if it does not meet your own approval, which is the most important aspect of being an artist.

We all want that 'sweet spot' where we are creating work we love, and art buyers also love our pieces. To say we, as artists are totally immune to public opinion is false in most cases. It's just hard to create work forever that no one loves, buys, or gets shown.

I've become less concerned with public opinion in my later 40's and much more relaxed about the grand scheme of my art life and my art in the world. Maybe this comes with age... After all, Josef Albers started his most prolific work, 'Homage to the Square' at the age of 62. (And, went on to create that series for 26 more years and create over 2000 paintings of squares!)

One important key point is that if you feel very strongly about the work you are creating in a particular series, and the work isn't selling, keep going. You can strategize your 'creating' routine to make work that is selling, and still make the work that you believe in. As you keep creating and 'doing', the work in every series, your work will come along, and there may be a 'time' for the work 5 years from now, or maybe even 10.

If you haven't signed up for the 'CUE the COLOR' mailer, then you will want to sign up for additional information on all the fine art things, and to receive special coupon codes and promos for these limited edition prints in the HIVE SERIES as in the large photo of 'Alvarium', which is now a limited edition print.

I will be writing soon about limited edition prints as I am offering these on my website. If you have any questions about my limited edition prints in any series, then be sure to send me a message via my website.

Until next time,

Jennifer Klemp


Jennifer Klemp Fine Artist St. Louis behind the scenes art blog

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Since receiving my M.F.A. from Fontbonne in 2001, I've been busy creating figurative work via traditional drawing and painting techniques. I love sharing my knowledge of techniques with fellow artists. This blog will show you the process through which my art is created, whether the work be abstract or figurative. You will find details on my current and past pieces along with news regarding my future works and events. 

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