So I was doing an art show and this guy comes up and engages in conversation. He asks how long I’ve been painting, what inspires me, why I chose Pop Art, etc. I’m super nice, as usual. Then he moves on to the next artist. There’s no one at my display so I’m watching this guy talk to the artist I’m sharing space with. Granted, they’re less than ten feet away.
They’re chatting about her work and then he says, “I know art. Your work is fabulous.” Then waves his arm at my work and continues, “This takes no skill. It’s just imitation. Seriously. I know art.”
I’ve had people insult my art before. It’s par for the course as a professional artist, really. That didn’t bother me so much. What bothered me was the fact that he came over and played nice to my face before talking shit about my work.
On the drive home from the show, I came up with the idea for “Imitation.”
Imitation is mixed media on 30″ by 30″ canvas.
Here’s the thing: I don’t care if my art is just imitation. I don’t care if it’s 2D and boring or if it truly takes no skill compared to the grueling oil paintings I used to spend months on. It’s fun and it makes people happy. Therefore, it serves its purpose. I enjoy thought-provoking art as much as the next girl. My favorite painting is The Scream by Edvard Munch.
However, there is something my art has that those other pieces don’t. And that is the ability to make people smile. I have been at shows. I watch people attending art crawls. I see how their eyes are glazed over as they go from venue to venue. I see how bored they are. I’m sure they like art. They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t. But, as when people get to my work they stop. They really look and they register what’s going on. Then it starts to show on their faces. Their eyes light up and, sometimes slowly, the edges of their mouth turn up. Sometimes people will openly laugh. One time I had a girl scream, run off, grab a friend, and drag her back to one of my paintings, so they could both laugh together.
So, though my art might never have astounding reviews in high society magazines, I am pretty fucking happy making people happy.
❤ Liz Kelly Zook
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