Today I got a call from the Rand Club. The previous manager had left, and the chairman was “chomping at the bit”. Would I come through to collect my unsold paintings leftover from the Kipling exhibition I did last year?
My heart sank. I should have known it would end like this; that all the excitement of planning and producing the work would end with a hole in my bank account. The easels I bought. The materials. The travel, the time. If I made R2000 profit, I’m lucky.
So I headed off to the club after my 9am meeting instead of going to see a client as I’d planned. It turned out that a pleasant woman wanted the large Hillbrow tower with Rudyard Kipling’s If. I phoned her and she said her husband also wanted one – would I sell them both for the same price?
Eventually I sold two large works for less than a third of the original asking price. I delivered them to an address around the corner from my 12.30pm meeting. I’m glad the buyer wanted them; I’d have given them away for nothing. I hate things once I’ve created them; I want them out of my space. Creations, once born, must go out into the world. Somebody else must value them.
That’s where the problem is, of course, and this is where PowerPoint trumps art every time. I spent this afternoon sitting with a client being useful. That is, drawing slides. Giving them something they need, and are prepared to pay for.
Nobody needs art. Or at least, nobody needs my art. This is the awful truth: that I’m creating things that nobody wants; that basically all I am doing is adding to the sum total of crap in the world. I feel compelled to create, I can’t help it, but then reality catches up and self-doubt seeps in, and it’s over. That’s why I start books and don’t finish them. Why I have piles of paintings rotting in a corner of my parents’ house. Why, on the back end of my Thought Leader blog, I have over 100 half-finished posts.
I can’t create things if nobody wants or needs them. Oh, I want, more than anything, to create something of lasting value. But, let’s be honest. PowerPoint might be less inspiring. It might not feed the soul. But, in the end, it makes more sense.