Late night melancholy

Tonight is somewhat like that fateful night so many years ago when I realized that borrowing from Peter to pay Paul had run its course. Terrifying moment. When it comes – to make yet another biblical reference – it was a ‘Come to Jesus’ kinda moment.


I am having another ‘Come to Jesus’ moment right now. It might be related to the current political crisis – probably. Isn’t everything lately?


Basically, it’s a sad time to be an artist. Maybe it’s always been a sad time to be an artist – I suppose. As I search the internet tonight to find some inspirational words, or some process to help me distill and focus myself through my next set of seemingly unsurmountable projects, pivoting to make myself viable in the art world, I realize that everyone is selling themselves. We are all selling ourselves. I don’t want to sell myself anymore.

Civilian was my business. Through it I could apply my visual arts skills and sell t-shirts. That made sense. It rubbed against artmaking, but it was not Art. Art is not about selling, it is about making, sharing, watching it reveal fundamental truths about who we are, what we are and where we might going. It helps us to FEEL, to THINK to understand the world on a deeper level.


I watched Mira Schor on a Brooklyn Rail Interview yesterday. She stated the opinion that we, as artists, are currently in the place where identity and personality are what drives our artmaking, not concepts, not ideas. One of the presenters disagreed with her. The presenter stated that ideas are what captivate her. I hope Mira Schor is not right. The veneer of the cult of personality is super thin. It does not go deeper than the desire for popularity. It is not about the substance of the work, or the person. It is about fabricating an easily digestible story. A sound byte. As we have seen this week, the cult of personality is very dangerous.


I want to survive in this world right now. I have to sell something. I am trying to find an honest way to be an artist right now. Teaching opportunities are shrinking. The World is shrinking. Some opportunities are expanding, so it’s those, I suppose that I will gravitate towards.


I cannot help but wax nostalgic about the time when it was the role of the gallery owner or the curator to sell our work and it was our job as artists to make the work. Was that a dream? Was that a fake thing that I invented in my head? There are way too many things we need to be good at in this world to make good art. I know that gallery representation is real for some artists. I have never had the luxury of that commitment from a gallery. It’s a something I still yearn for.


Anyway … in my late night melancholy, I will post this.

2 Comments on “Late night melancholy

  1. I’ve never considered myself anything like an artist, my photography is nothing more than a hobby, so I’m not sure I understand what you are talking about. I’ve watched your growth over the years, and your dedication to being an artist, finding ways to bring art into the world that is fresh and new and relevant. So much is in flux right now for everyone, someday, hopefully soon, it will settle down and the world will right itself and make sense again. We will always need artists like you to tell the stories. It’s a treat to be able to watch the process.

    • Thank you for reminding me of my strength. I seem to need that lately. I hope you are finding yours, as well, my friend

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Val Sivilli
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