The one concept which struck me most from David Cutler's talk was the idea of "selling out." On the one hand, I have always wanted to be a classical figure artist...on the other, I realize that in this modern age, such a profession is somewhat futile. It's not as if this is a new reality-check. Of course, as a figure artist, one must question who wants non-sexual nude portraits of strangers in their house. Granted, I've always thought I would make money off of large scale portraits commissioned by the sitee's doting parents or art enthusiasts, but Cutler's talk got me thinking.
What can a figure artist do if they're really, really talented that one might consider as 'selling out'? Some say graphic novels (which I definitely DO NOT consider to be selling out) because they employ the figure artist skill set without the certain prestige of classical art. But what would I consider to be selling out? Two words: Romance Novels. What takes immense technical artistic skill, pays a lot of money, is a steady job, allows your work to be seen by people from all walks of life, and is something that most classically trained figure artists would never even consider? Well, it's something that I might consider after hearing Cutler talk. Perhaps doing the cover art for books such as these is akin to a classically trained pianist playing in a costume with his nose. If it pays the bills, it allows one to focus on what they love – and certainly, doing something you like to do to make money to do something you love is, in my eyes, better than doing something you hate in order to support doing what you love.
Note:: the painting on the left is by Bouguereau, one of the highly regarded figure artists of the 19th century, the painting on the left is the cover illustration of a romance novel.
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