Today a guest speaker came to the art school at Wolverhampton to give a talk about reality in British painting. It was very interesting and extremely relevant to my art practice. It was about the importance of contemporary painting and the influence and importance of reality painting to modern British art. However, one thought that came to mind while listening to this lecture was: Do I need to wait until someone writes a book about me before I can reach that point of notoriety in the art world? Do I need to be studied and analysed? If that doesn’t happen, will I fade into obscurity?
The guest speaker, Rina Arya, has written two books about Francis Bacon. She had come to talk about her research on Francis Bacon (and other artists). Francis Bacon is obviously a very well-known and iconic artist with both feet firmly in the time-line of art history. He’s had a lot of books written about him. I’m not expecting that. But just to be remembered by someone, anyone, my question is: do I need to persuade a person of academic standing to write a book about me so share that same time-line? Do I need to be the focus of someone’s PhD? And do I have to die first?
There must be many, many people who call or have called themselves artists or who have worked some of all of their life making art who cannot be found in the University of Wolverhampton library.
I think perhaps I just like the idea of being in a book (that is, if I can’t publish one myself). I know that with the current technology of self-publishing and crowd-funded publishing I could probably engineer myself into the University of Wolverhampton library if I was that keen to do so.
But it might be better (and more enjoyable) to just plod on and keep painting, drawing, photographing and videoing the boring little things we ignore. Maybe one day I’ll be in a book somewhere, perhaps as a footnote, and by accident.