Building something in my workshop is the easier part. But then trying to sell it as art – that’s terrifying. It’s a fundamental shift in the relationship with my work. I usually make things to prove to myself that I can. I’m not trying to start a business or make products people want. Plus, I’ll make better decisions about a project if I don’t worry about how it’ll be funded. I love the similar philosophy Tom Sachs has when it comes to his practice:
“You do something for money? Well, that seems fucked. Money is this thing that screws with your desire to make things. It ruins everything, but money is also like the universal measure. So, you can’t completely ignore it either.”
I had to sleep on that quote and let my subconscious process it before I could wake with an epiphany: We live in a world where price more or less equates with quality. If you want a “better” product, spend more money.
So, to say at the end of a project that this art is worth “X” dollars, I’m implicitly defining how good I think it is. I’m comparing and measuring my work against all the art that has preceded it. That takes some serious guts, to consider your work in those terms, “Oh, this is worth some fraction of a Mondrian.” That’s the terrifying shift – now I’m not just pottering around in my shed, but trying to make a real go of it. A professional.
Originally written for the Sachsian Syndicate.
Previously: TGIM 22 - When you pause on that for a moment, the misnaming is puzzling; Tom is a man who prides himself on accuracy and authenticity. It’s a subtle detail that opens up Tom’s work to all kinds of speculation…
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