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January 2006, 10 posts, 202 lines



Does anyone have any ideas on why artists stop making art?



Considering a career change?

jno wrote:


On Mon, 30 Jan 2006, Richard Holland wrote:

naw, but talking to others over 50, we all seem to be much less motivated, as if we dont really wanna 'do art' anymore. I dont know if there is anyone either over 50 or who's drive to make art has flagged.. but, wondering how prevelant this is, if others have experienced this, if people end up feeling guilty, how it effects others, and mainly: what are the causes. /jno


Actually, I'm more motivated. Family responsibilities have lessened and I have a lot of energy to put into my work. Also I think my work has matured so that I can get to where I'm going easier and faster and that provides a lot of satisfaction.

Claire Wolf Krantz



Other Group

Opps, I an trying to find copies of the most excellent PBS show ART 21. I don't have a TV and only caught a few episodes of season one. I've had an impossible time getting copies from the library.

Is there anyone who might have some of the shows to lend??


haddonpearson at


I quit painting because the gallery demanded more and more time. I never begrudged my decision. At the time it felt right, the city needed the gallery more than it needed another painter. My thought was that if I wanted to go back I could when it felt right and necessary for me to do so. As for the age thing Mr. Nick Black and I had a similar discussion a few days ago and oddly, you among others were mentioned. My think, far too much emphasis is being placed on stardom and not enough recognition is given for achievement. A young artist's work can be important and innovative but its not worth a tinkers damn if they end up spitting out product by the time they reach their thirties. If you're over thirty and committed, not being recognized for your efforts and the strides you've made can be a compelling reason to let things slide. Just remember, it's not a race. DB


In response to the distinguished Mr. Thomas' e-mail, it's not a race, but should be thought of as an armed struggle. Artists should buy rifles.

Seriously though, it is a commercial enterprise however, and for many people the eventual lack of any financial incentive burns people out from the process of trying exhibit. Also the art world is such a cliquey scene I suspect the older you get the more full of shit it seems. I would bet that lots of folks just stop showing, and don't stop making work.


I don't think anyone on this list knows me. Hi everyone!

This is an interesting topic. about the over thirty part being a quasi benchmark for when to think about giving up when you are not recognized for your efforts. this makes some sense, but for someone like me I just turned 30 last year and consider myself just starting out in the art world. I had other considerations, a wife, getting a stable job, looking into 'establishing' myself in my graphic design work and other immigration concerns that was more of a priority. I guess what I am saying is that there is no hard and fast rule, but maybe its more about how long you've been at it, without getting recognized that matters.

also, I like the idea of making work, even though you are not showing because you think the scene is full of shit. If you make work for yourself, work that you must make, like an itch you have to scratch, then even if no one else sees it, your a happy artist.

and wtf, everyone should be able to see that the cliquey scene is just a pile of ****** (insert your favorite expletive here) : -)

Justin Goh

On 1/31/06, Richard Holland rholland at wrote:


On Tue, 31 Jan 2006, Michael S. Thomas wrote:

And then again, as Claire reports, now she does more because ahe has more free time. But I think Claire fails to mention that "doing art" is much broader for her than just making objects -- it involves her critical writing (for which she has gained recognition), and is an effort that goes well beyond reportage, for it involves trying to understand the work of others. But is it art? Sure.

With a few exceptions, I quit making art objects when I was overcome by a need to write an article about "everything" which ended up consuming 8 hours a day for two years. But if, "whatever an artist does, is art", then writing has been my art for the last two years. I wonder what you and Nick Black talked about.

.. and mine. But like Claire, your efforts extend beyond painting, as with old Dogmatic, the curatorial work at Butcher Shop, the promotion of other people, even the willingness to share opinions here. You probably dont count that as art making.

I worry, for me, if the time will ever come to do more work. I'd rather do what I want, and most often that is perversely opposite of what a gallery will show. I do best (in my opinion) when I have an open commitment for a show from a gallery, and I can subvert that into whatever strikes me.

I have also canned two sponsored projects, in the last few years, because they looked like they were becoming way too large, and I was not getting the cooperation I needed. Maybe it is a sign of old age -- not wanting to undertake another enormous task.

I agree, and way too much emphasis is placed on "new artists" and "up and coming artists" to the complete exclusion (it seems) of old farts, people who keep trying, at-one-time famous artists, etc. It is nice to give young people a chance.. but often you never see them again, especially if they get a job as a result of their early art efforts.

I started at 30. Looks like correspondent Justin is starting at 30. Maybe 30 is a marker for you youngsters.. I got more done with kids and puppy dogs hanging around the house, than not. I'll also forward another discussion on this subject I had with a colleague.