So I finally had a chance to watch the Bravo reality series "Work of Art" which stars 14 aspiring artists who compete a-la-Project-Runway style in order to be the last artist standing. That "lucky" person gets a solo show at the Brooklyn Art Museum and I think $100,000. I remember when that casting call went out, and how I thought for a split second that it would be fun to audition for it. I figured I would probably be too old for the cast and truthfully, my laziness got the best of me and I decided it was too much effort to drive to LA for the casting call. Although I figured it had to be a horrible show, curiosity got the best of me and I have now watched two episodes. Here are my thoughts:
1. I was surprised to see a cast of varied ages, the oldest member being 67 and the youngest is 22. The majority of the artists were in their twenties though, which is not surprising since TV reality shows are filled with attractive twenty-somethings that are supposed to make good television.
2. Supposedly these artists were the most talented and up and coming artist in the country that were cast. Really? Did you see some of the work these artists were creating? Some of it was definitely good (I already have my favorite artists on the show...Go Miles and Abde!) but some of the art was elementary in execution and primary in concept, at best. I realize they can't have a cast of all great artists because that wouldn't make "good television", but I feel like this is a bad representation of what talent is out there and really gives artists a bad name. I couldn't help but get catty when I saw the first episode and saw some of the crap that was produced.
3. I totally thought that I would be able to kick some ass if I was on that show (which is what I am sure most artist were thinking too). I am a fast painter and quick on my feet so I don't think the challenges would have been too hard for me. But what got me thinking was how do you reconcile who you are as an artist and still compete by making art that you would never have considered something you would want to do? In other words, how can you stay "You" while making art on demand? I think THAT is really the challenge... staying true to oneself while selling your soul for entertainment. Could I do it? Yeah, probably. But would I feel good about it, probably not, especially now that I FINALLY feel like I have something to say and a unique way of saying it. I don't know if I would consider that selling out, but I do know that I would be making art that I would probably give away or trash afterwards.
4. And finally... Would a curator or fellow artist ever be able to take me seriously if I was on a reality TV show like this? I can imagine that these artists will be forever known as "the artist that was on that reality TV show". Do I want to be known as that? Would I or my art be taken seriously afterwards?
After watching the show's first episode, I said to my fiance "I'm totally auditioning for season two!" He looked at me like I was crazy. Upon further viewing I have decided that I wouldn't want to risk my career and my reputation on being on a show like that (not that anyone is knocking at my door begging me to be on the show). It can't be an easy life to have so many people judge you and what you do, as I just did. It is fun to fantasize about what I would make and how it would kick some ass though....