Hard Times for Art

By Rick Rotante

Art is having a hard time. When a choice has to be made whether to pay rent or eat or buy art, it becomes a no brainer which one to choose. After all if you don’t have a roof over your head it stands to reason you also won’t have a wall to hang art. In this depressed art market there are also many new art grad students out there hanging up their teaching shingles and sadly they have little idea what the real world is like in the trenches.

In my view, so much in general is wrong with our present teaching/learning processes; add into this equation new teachers with fresh ideas eager to impart their knowledge and one has to wonder who is going to search out these new teachers and pay for art lessons.

Music and Art programs are disappearing from school curriculums and interest in art waning. It is scary to realize the importance art occupies in the minds of today’s young people. If art isn’t in your life at an early age, it becomes increasingly difficult to learn and appreciate later on. I understand why art isn’t prevalent; at the top of our list of things to learn. America is an industrial nation and technology rules.

Without Art true we have lost our imagination. We have lost our vision. Without Art we are losing curiosity. Technology in America is also changing our view of Art. What it is and how it’s made. Much of art created today services commercialism. It is used increasingly to sell consumer orientated minds. It is no longer created to show us the beauty of the world; the wonders of living a full life.

But what we have lost is what we once called “downtime”; time to relax and re-energize our minds and hearts. Art has the ability to slow you down; help lower your blood pressure and in general positively affect your emotional wellbeing.

I find today, most aspiring artist’s either don’t care to learn or don’t have the time to learn or just plain aren’t interested to learn to draw. The fundamentals for making good art.

New artists struggle with excruciatingly bad results. In general today, if you teach art, you will have to overcome the fact most students will not know how to draw. They are not being equipped with the tools to make the process of creating art a lot easier.

I audit drawing workshops and watch people making these little tiny figure drawings from a live model and the instructor critiquing the work. What can you learn doing tiny drawings? How do you articulate the bones and muscles of a figure you can barely see? The émigré Chinese artist’s here are kicking our proverbial butt’s with the training they receive back home.

In America, we need to realize drawing and painting are essential worthwhile endeavors, and invest in real training for our youth. Western art students are in for a very hard, disappointing time

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