The end of art?

Puppet Goddess <p> Watercolor Copyright Margaret Sloan 2009
Puppet Mistress Watercolor

This painting started out as a meditation on three young women I know who are entering their college years at what may be the worst economic time in recent history. They are all artists, although in different arenas, and they all want to pursue a life in the arts. I have no doubt about the talent of these three young women. It bubbles out of them in everything they do; they are incredibly creative, innately talented. They simply glow.

But all is doom and gloom in the world these days, and bad news begs the question: Is this the end of art? The end of being able to make a living from your art? Will my  young friends find a world where they can profit from their lights?

Of course I worry that the storms of reality may derail their (and my) dreams of making it as artists. So this painting is a charm for them (and for me). We’re all hiding under our umbrellas right now, but really, we should be looking around, letting the storm entertain and inform us, and making better art in response.

If the silver lining to this economic train wreck is brought by a half-naked Amazon making marionettes tap dance on our heads, so much the better!

BTW: There’s a good op-ed piece from the New York Times (The Boom Is Over. Long Live the Art!) about the effects of the bum economy on that rarefied world where artists hawking pickled sharks and embalmed calves become high-end darlings of people with more money than God. It’s an interesting read, if just for the historical value of seeing how the last few downturns in the economy affected that otherworldy land, and that, for the health of art, this downturn might not be a bad thing.