Best in show.
My first mentor, Seymour Leichman, said often, "The primary job of an artist is to engage the viewer." Seymour did not mean this business of engaging those outside oneself supersedes the most basic reason to make art, i.e. self inquisitory expression. He did mean failing to pull the eyeballs of viewers onto one's artwork results in the loss of another primary reason to make art: Communication with fellow human beings. Recently I have been preoccupied with finding forms and compositional space which runs true to me and my anima. To some degree, this preoccupation supplanted my developing my artistic persona. Well, Seymour says, You got to do both! This new painting is me trying to do just that, both! I am making a strong effort to be in touch with the most forceful manner to engage the viewer, while simultaneously expressing my instinctual, intuitive concerns. Early in his career Pablo Picasso learned the importance of captivating through presentation. Picasso's ability to engage the viewer had great power. This allowed him to take tremendous risks in his creation of form, and consequently in his compositional manner of story telling. Seymour Leichman may have said it, but Picasso knew it, and did it, better than any artist I know. Both Picasso and Leichman are now forever in my mind as I make my art. "Best is Show" does not simply mean well drawn and well composed. It has to grab viewers, pull them in, and make them want to be involved in one's personal quest. It is showmanship, plain and simple. It separates great art from the mediocre.
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