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Friday, May 4, 2012

A FICTIONAL LETTER ABOUT CREDITING OTHER ARTISTS

A FICTIONAL LETTER TO MY FICTIONAL ARTIST NEICE

Dear S,

  It was wonderful to hear from you but better yet to see you. Skype is such a great way to connect and it's free!!! So glad you are following in my footsteps, so to speak, and are studying art. Smart women we are!

You are not only my neice/my god-daughter, but also a friend, so it feels safe to warn you about some art etiquette/art table manners that I wished I had learned some 40, 50 years ago when I first started out. And it is even more important that you learn this because you are in the Orient where the information I am about to tell you is so important.

So cutting to the chase; realist that I am (you've seen my paintings) I want to honestly list the not-so-nice names you might be called in the creative underground, and the art-sins you will be accused of committing if you don't perform acts of professional politeness, acts of accountability and acts of crediting the source of those works and ideas of yours that are "re-inspirations", or mirrors of someone elses art.

Why am I so insistent? First of all because you are studying in China and most likely will reference other artists from there; artists from the past and present, because that is how we learn and how we begin coming to our own internal art language and personal practice. The name of the game is: copying. Copy until you are YOU.

  But what you have to remember about China is that they not only acknowledge and honor their families and ancestors but they credit their art lineage, gurus and expect all artists to know how to do that, when to do that, why to do that and where to do that. Simply put, your teachers, and those other artists who have influenced your work, need to be respected and "bowed to" if not physically(a joke) but internally and absolutely always mentioned when your work is talked about by you or the media.

 Don't forget this. Because I learned the hard way and never gave credit and didn't know that I should have done that, I was artistically snubbed; uninvited to group shows; refused retrospectives; and seemed to be avoided at openings. I ranted, raved and wondered why I was being persecuted, but then again, aren't all artists persecuted? Thinking that, I let it go and isolated myself, but a friend let me in on the honor thy mentors secret and then things changed for me and my process. It seems that my hubris had addicted me to the "I am a genius artist" paradigm and I foolishly thought that anything I did, said, made, sold, traded or wrote about was GOLD from the heavenly realms of MY OWN SUPERCONSCIOUS!

 Sure my work was divinely inspired as is all creation, but I snubbed past human sources and didn't want to admit that I had seen, literally copied and lifted my goodies from the history of art and I must confess, ideatonally ripped off my past and fellow travelers on this fabulous path of ecstasy and inflated ego mongering.

S, maybe you will have a chance to get this right, early, and to make it even more speedy I will list the mean-spirited labels I accrued way back when I was without a clue that respect is essential to success! So plug your ears, close your eyes and here we go!

I was called a: performance pirate source avoider intellectual art property thief devoid of devotion doppleganger intuitve monster identity doubler i'm the best,bully genius grafter cloned clown suck-up sickophant self agrandizer ego maniac chest inflater grand stander sloppy footnoter pretty plagerizer Yes. I was pretty then and thought that it was enough to make good art but maybe it was even better to be a great body. I thought my dazzling teeth and distressed clothes, soft-voiced sufferings and endurance-like dedication to my art was my ticket home, but my head was sadly in the sand. I was pretty but ripping off my mentors!

How does my story relate to you? You, a daughter of the 21st century? You are living at a time when the internet, and apps and you tube and media give you everything for free and you can take/appropriate/re-cycle/copy/control/delete/enter and shift any and every thought, word and deed whenever you want or need. No charge, no accountability!

 So, of course, you would never, ever even think of thanking the past or present "influence". You are too quick for that, not trained to do that, and this current age of ONE INFORMATION has 100th monkeyed you into ONE.

 In this mind/world, no credit is even considered or due! So in some sense you are sinless and free and everything is maybe un-rippoffable? I would appreciate your thoughts on this. But remember, you are in China and you have to follow their traditions and probably there are a few elder-artists here in America, who would appreciate being credited ....so respect, renown and reward artists whose heads you are aesthetically sitting on, standing on and dancing on!!!!

Why? Because we are now in our 70's, 80's, 90's, 100's and although we are still and will always "work", it is seldom seen, so we trace our gratitude back to INVISIBLE sources. That is our job and we have time, dimished body-energy and the impending invite of the Final Performance to spur us on to bowing before THE ONLY GENIUS WHO EVER IS, WAS AND WILL BE!!!!

S, sorry for waxing escatological with you but just wanted to pass on some of my crone stuff. Always footnote the masters! And make sure you bring me back tons of Chinese incense!!!!

Hugs and applauding your fabulousness,
Aunt O

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