Sooo I'm taking this awesome class this semester called Professional Practices for the Visual Artist. There's a couple different sections of it, but mine is taught by Cara Ober and she is awesome. Every week, our homework is to post on our class blog. Our first blog was about what success means to us and to also write about a person who attended MICA and we would now consider a successful artist. So, heres the post I wrote for the class. Lemme know what you think :) haha, and keep in mind that I wrote this at 5am at the end of a grave shift, so go easy on me :P
After brainstorming for a while about what success means to me, a question came to mind. Success to the majority of the world exists as a noun, a thing to be achieved. But what if it's not an actual, feasible thing but just a state of mind? I feel like almost all of my peers would agree with me on this. Almost everyone talked about how success is different for every person, how it exists based off of what the individual wanted to accomplish in the first place. I agree with this whole-heartedly. You could have all the money and recognition in the world from your work as an artist, but at the end of the day if you're not happy with yourself or your work, you're not going to recognize yourself as a success. And whose to say then that you still are? In the end, it all comes down to happiness. Without an individual's happiness, there is no success. Most times, yes, this happiness is achieved by the fact that the artist's work is recognized and respected and that the artist is making money from it, but it's not that way for everyone. Personally, I will feel successful when I have reached that point where my work is recognized and I'm making money to survive and continue my work from the work I've already done. However, I completely understand and support those who don't find happiness this way.
The artist I chose to talk about is a Jim Judeikis, a tattoo artist based out of Saints & Sinners Tattoo & Piercing in Fells Point, Baltimore, Maryland. Judeikis attended Maryland Institute College of Art and then apprenticed and worked for 7.5 years at Main St. Tattoos in Harford County, Maryland. While Judeikis is a tattoo artist and not a fine artist, I feel he still deserves the respect and acknowledgment that a fine artist that attended MICA receives. Just because his work exists on the body and is widely popular as a form of self-decoration doesn't take away the fact that it's still a piece of art. And I also thought, as I researched his work, that even though most of his stuff is reproductions of work already done, that shouldn't take away from his credibility either. Because, if it did, then such artists as Sherrie Levine probably shouldn't receive the credit that they do. I know that this is an already touchy subject in the art world, but it was something that I wanted to bring up and hopefully get feedback from the rest of the class on.
As well as being a tattoo and piercing shop, Saints & Sinners is also a contemporary art gallery, which Judeikis is the curator for. I think Judeikis would share my definition of success because I believe he defines himself as an artist even if not by the tradition sense. And therefore because it's not traditional, he does it because it's what makes him happy. He could've been a professional painter (you can find pictures of his original paintings on their myspace), but he chose to be a tattoo artist.