I was talking to a close friend recently about how I feel as though I've turned into that person who wants to constantly use the hashtag "blessed". Annoyingly optimistic and falsely humble, the tag is generally reserved for yoga poses on mountaintops or being showered with gifts from a lover.
The truth is, I do feel blessed.
I am currently at the stage in my art career where my day job is no longer a necessity. It's a scary but exhilarating feeling. I have people who love my art, want to collect my work, are excited by the accessible options I've created, and who are genuinely interested in my process, the work, and the meaning. It's amazing. I am floored on a daily basis, and dare I say it, blessed to have this happen.
Simultaneously, I am being consistently rejected by the white cube which seems to systematically determine if you, as an artist, are worthy of the attention of the art world. You know the one. White walls. Concrete floors. Says "gallery" on the door. Caters to the elite. That white cube.
The words, "we regret to inform you" followed by whatever generic rejection the gallery has prepared is so commonplace in my inbox that it's stopped stinging to read. It would be nice to be recognized by the white cubes of the world, and their accompanying institutions: awards, grants, and large ticket collectors.
Being an emerging artist in the age of instagram being the worlds largest art dealer makes things interesting. I could cater my work to the white cube — pushing limits, being better, making less pretty paintings than I do. Or, I could cater to the group that actually makes it possible to do what I love. I think it's pretty evident which route I've taken.
While it would be wonderful to have a show (and boy do I have ideas for some elaborate, interactive, and fun for the public shows), I have begun to wonder if I should abandon my pursual of the white cube completely. There are always pop-up shows and self-funded rental spaces. I could carve out my own space in the physical art world the same as I have done in the digital. I could focus on publications and crowd funding. I could grit my teeth and keep applying for shows and open calls. Or, I could throw in the towel and embrace what I have.
Chances are, I won't. I'm too stubborn. Let the fight continue.