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David Gilhooly

frog drawing
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FrogFood

Small Multiple Works and Some Large Single Ones

 

FrogFood was an idea that started off as the FrogWorld idea of a snapshot or photograph of an artistic link to Pastries, image set 1act done on a vacation. The frogs of the FrogWorld would go on a vacation, make themselves into a food sculpture under the direction of a professional frogartist, and as a souvenir of the occasion, take home a small sculpture. These small sculptures would then be displayed on a shelf somewhere in the home much like our-world's photo albums. The frogs would then look at these small pieces and remember their vacations. A special type of FrogFood (sort of X-rated) was made by honeymooning couples and was an off-shoot of this original idea.

The our-world idea of frogfood was that they're actually all one piece. I envisioned a time when everyone who owned a piece would get together, rent a store and arrange their piece on a shelf with like pieces and then we could all stand back and see the whole piece; shelves and shelves of frogfood with the occassional link to Sandwiches, image set 2large single unique frogfood piece at the end of each aisle. I did the majority of these pieces as multiples and frogfood truly became one of those "bananas of inspiration". You know, a bunch of ideas rather than a single light bulb. They were fun to make and easy to deal with but more importantly, they allowed me to make work that wasn't so sellable while still paying bills with frogfood sales.

link to Frozen Stuff, image set 3All of this allows me to make a point, especially to art students. It's hard to be an artist and live in this Matter, Energy, Space and Time Universe. You need food. You need clothing. You need studio/home space and you need materials to make your work with. You exchange money for these things. Hopefully, you receive money in exchange for your artwork. But if you can't sell your work, what do you do?

I have known and do know many people who majored in studio art with the intention of being a "famous artist" while majoring in another disipline as a "back-up". They all have jobs in their back-ups and either don't have time to do their artwork or have changed their goals. The only back-up that allows you to continue being an artist is teaching studio art at a university because you can work along side your students in the same general space. But, you don't need to major in education to teach at The Big U; you have to be an artist. Teaching at The Big U has the added benefit of getting money in exchange for teaching so you can pay your bills and keep going.

link to Cookies, image set 4

So, what's my point?

It's this.

If you decide to grow up to be a famous artist you must realize that you will be making a huge commitment and a very scary one. Everything is rigged to work against you. Your parents, who love you dearly, will discourage you from being an artist, a writer, a musician, a composer, etc. because they know that you will work long hours even on the weekends without vacation time for an erratic income. Your friends in other diciplines will shake their heads because you wear inexpensive clothes, don't eat in expensive restaurants and your life is relatively simple. Casual aquaintances and the general public will think you get up at noon, sit around and drink coffee with your art friends till all hours, and bum meals from the more affluent ones.

Why?

link to Pots, Pans and Bowls, image set 5First, because you won't have a 9:00 to 5:00 job with a guaranteed monthly income and the benefits of health insurance, disability insurance or retirement. Those things are security to the majority of people and this is what most people want in life. Most people work to retire. But this kind of security can be a trap. You become less willing to take chances that could improve your life because you worry about failure. It's secure to stay with the status quo even though there are better opportunites out there that could make you happier about what you do for a living. And most people don't know that you can have the middle class life style or even better by working in the arts.

And second, because you will be asking for a quantity (money) in exchange for a quality (aethetics). That's a really hard thing to do in this particular universe. For example, think to yourself, "How much is freedom worth in dollars? or How much is love worth in dollars?" Quantify the quality.

And do not think for a moment that those things are free. They are not! Matter, Energy, Space and Time are all equivalent and interchangeable. If you don't have money for something, you substitute time or energy or link to Cakes and Pies, image set 6space for it. Example, how many times have you waited for something to be on sale so that you could afford it? That's exchanging time (waiting for a sale) for the symbol of matter (dollars). We symbolize the products that we make and the time we used to make them with money so you can see that money is really just a symbol for the hours we work. I've been told by a lot of people that love is free. Well, it isn't. I don't necessarily spend a lot of money on my wife but I do spend a lot of time, space and energy maintaining my relationship with her. And if you really count all the matter, energy, time and space you spend for love you will see that it is one of the most expensive things you have. It is also the most rewarding.

On top of that, maybe it will take people 10 to 20 years to catch up to your brand of quality, how do you live until then? If you don't get an exchange of money for your artwork right away can you continue to work as an artist?

link to Count of Crumbs and BreadFrog, image set 7If you make the commitment to be an artist, be prepared to make the complete commitment because if you have a back-up you'll use it. Without a back-up you are forced to somehow make it work.

Frogfood helped me keep my commitment to being an artist, so did teaching at The Big U. And it really helped to have a group of like-minded friends. A supportive spouse is part of that group. I sold a lot of bowls and cups too. I knew a lot of painters who painted landscapes and even signs for local businesses for quick sales. I gave a lot of pots and cups and plates and frogfood as birthday and Christmas gifts because I couldn't give anything else. And there were a lot of lean times when if I had had the back-up of another dicipline I might have taken the back-up. But since I didn't, I had to make it work. You have to stick and persist if you're going to work as an artist, so consider your decision carefully and if you do decide you want a career in the arts be prepared to vigorously not agree with the status quo and plow through.

Last revised January 18, 2002

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