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Art Rant

Obviously, some people cannot differentiate between jewelry that is functional art, as in hand-made, one-of-a-kind and the mass-produced shit you can buy at Target. As much as I enjoy indulging in a certain snark community, I was annoyed by some of the comments I read in a particular post this morning. I decided to keep my comments to myself and just go off here. The comments were regarding a woman who made some found-object jewelry out of Barbie parts into hand-made metal settings. Her work is expensive, as I would expect any work of art, functional or just-for-show, to be.

I often don't toot my own BFA in Fine Arts horn, but I didn't go to a university and walk the stage just to keep quiet about some things. At the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), I chose a major in Fine Art with a concentration of painting and was required to explore other electives such as graphic design intro, clay and metals. We were taught how to price our work, how to improve it and my professors all touched on why art is and should be marked up.

In my semester with metals, I learned how to cast, how to polish, how to link wire to make a chain. There were some days I was in class for 5 hours! It was easy to spend a total of 5-6 hours on something as simple as a hollow heart with a stamped pattern with conceptual patterned wire soldered to it and a hand-built, mounted pin. I realize that most people, particularly catty-ass women, are jaded by ready-made, machine-casted, mass-produced jewelry that you can find at the impulse-buy counter of a department store or clothing boutique chain. It's becoming easier for those companies to imitate the look of hand-crafted art, too, I've noticed. Still, to the more trained eye, the difference is still clear.

This country is going down the tubes with it's Bubba-like mentality. We're becoming a country of drones. I understand being broke and looking nice for less, I do. I understand that your money could be better spent on paying bills, insurance, things you really need. However, unless you are the one toiling over sawing, sanding, filing, annealing then shaping and soldering, shut up about the price of the work. Artists not only put effort into their work, we also have a tendency to become attached to it. Of course there's always the piece we hate and can't wait to give away, but we often come to love a piece we've busted our humps on. We not only charge for the materials, the hours of labor, but the fact that we're giving away a part of who we are.

It's not just the fact that this person made jewelry out of doll parts, it's that it was her idea. I love the Frankennstein-effect that her work has on me (I glimpsed at her website), but maybe that's just my own influence in seeing the work, as the novel had an impression on me. When I saw the work that one person was claiming was "too expensive", I saw hard work and a fun idea come to fruition. I saw the hammering, the soldering, the cutting and the setting with epoxy. It's been a while since I've set foot in a metal's shop but I remember enough about it to know it was not easy work and though a finished piece of art in any medium looks near effortless, anyone who has been there, done that, knows it isn't. The ignorant arrogance of the outside viewer who really doesn't know anything never ceases to astound me and piss me off.

People will dismiss this. They will see it as arrogant. I will come across as a whiny artist to some and that's fine. I could write a book about my thoughts on this subject, maybe a series of books. I'm not sure who would read the ramblings of a bitchy, misanthropic artist who drinks too much coffee and I can't say I blame them. The rantings of others often annoy the shit out of me, too, yet we all still feel the need to rant and get the shit off our chest that is bothering us. That's pretty much what I'm doing here, and hell, it's my fucking journal. I think my education counts for something. If this were coming from some arrogant, 21-year-old pseudo-intellectual who had a semeseter of art appreciation and now thinks he knows fuck-all about art then, be annoyed. My hope, though it's not my expectation, is that this entry will hold a little bit more weight considering it's coming from an insider even though it took a good portion of a webpage for me to say, "SHUT THE FUCK UP!".

You can view Margaux Lange's work at her own site: www.margauxlange.com.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
seriouslyjaded
Sep. 12th, 2008 08:27 am (UTC)
I had a look at her jewelry, and it's fascinating.
x_lysistrata_x
Sep. 12th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
I love it! What got me so mad was people saying she shouldn't be charging the prices that she does and they could make it themselves. I would love to see some of them in a metal shop.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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Elizabeth Ashbury

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