It begins! The year 2020. A new year and a new decade. How exciting! A chance for new beginnings, new challenges and new outlooks.
And this is not just any year! Oh, no! THIS is the one that promises you perfect vision. Yes, perfect.
It is 20-20 after all. (grin)
As I enter into this new decade one of my wishes and goals is that I will see more. Maybe not perfectly all the time, but certainly better. And that wish isn’t just for me, but for everyone. That all people, will see more. That eyes and minds will open up to all the possibilities and not to just what they normally look for or take for granted.
I guess that is why I am an abstract visual artist. My never-ending desire to see more. To see beyond what seems to already be there.
Right now, as I enter into this new decade of showing my artwork in galleries and art shows around the country, my eyes are already opening. In this first month, as I prepare new artwork for The Artist Project in Toronto this February, I have awoken. I have noticed a definite trend:
You can no longer define emerging artists as young twenty-somethings.
I have often found it amusing (and maybe a bit perplexing) that there is always a particular push by media and art guru’s to promote the younger aged artists. Young artists when they are embarking on their visual artistic career. To give them promotion and attention. To point out and eagerly spread the word on how they are “emerging”. That they are the “up and coming”. To find the ones to “look out for”.
Now for the record, this doesn’t mean I don’t like it. In fact, I think it is great. Anytime anyone can be encouraged, supported or celebrated for their art is a great thing!
But I can’t help thinking that it is time for this to change too. Or at least for it to shift. It only made sense in the past to focus on just young artists as the emerging ones. Often artists started their careers at a young age, and it made sense.
But doing this nowadays is myopic and exclusive.
Because you see, times are a changing. More and more emerging artists are not so young anymore!
More and more artists are beginning their visual artistic careers in their middle age or later. They are tossing aside their first job and education. They are acknowledging there may be more to life than that first career choice and are now doing something about it. And that means finally flexing their long denied artistic side.
Aspirations of being an artist no longer becomes a hobby or an idea, but a full-fledged occupation.
And you can count me into that ever-growing group: Older — and make no mistake about it — still emerging and still evolving as my new art career continues its rapid evolution and ascent!
I had a wonderful first career and would change nothing. No regrets. But that still didn’t mean that there didn’t come a time where I had to ask myself “Is this all there is? Is this all there is to me? Are there more mountains to climb, talents to discover and new loves to evolve?”
As I participate on a private Facebook page for the artists doing the The Artist Project in Toronto, it has become clear I am not alone. A number of the “emerging” artists are showing artwork for the first time and they are in their forties and fifties. Asking the same how-to-do questions as the twenty somethings.
And I love it!
The only problem is you might miss them if your eyes aren’t wide open. You aren’t likely going to find them in the emerging artist sections. No, we will be among all the other artists in the expensive-to-be-there sections.
And that too is okay. Having had previous careers can put us in the position to have a little extra money to spend in life, to help accomplish the new dreams. We don’t need to be with the students and young artists in the heavily subsidized areas. (Though I assure you, we miss the promotion.)
The bigger point is this: Emerging artists are all over an art show. Not just in specific sections and they are not just young. So, next time you go to a big art event, keep your eyes open! Use your 2020 vision.
It’s time we changed this mindset that only young artists are “emerging” or have something new and exciting in their work to offer because of their youth, inexperience or naivete’.
In fact, dare I say — an older emerging artist has a good chunk of life experiences and scars inside them – and that means there may be a lot more to offer for the eye and mind of the viewer when engaging their artwork.
So, when you are out at an art show this year use your new 2020 perfect sight to your advantage. Notice that emerging up-and-coming art and artists aren’t always where you may expect them to be. Nor may they look like the someone you expected them to look like.
Open your eyes and open your mind.
Trust me, then your heart will follow too.
I know for a fact that there are quite a few salt and pepper haired “emergers” out there waiting for you to discover them and add them to your art collection.
(Most of Andrews artworks focus on that precious moment of self-realization in life. That moment when things are coming into focus or are retreating into the past. That moment of uncertainty where the boldest of choices in life lie, and are made. Hence the dissolved or coming into focus shapes in his artwork, with the use of strong and vibrant colour amidst the unknown mist of white. Both of the artworks in this article will be in his next art show THE ARTIST PROJECT in Toronto, Feb 20-23 at the Better Living Centre. )
And it is always good to remember, this doesn’t just apply to artists. A lot of the grey hair folks out there in the world are not always at the end of things, as you may assume. Many are trying things for the first time and are just as enthusiastic, bright eyed and daring as their younger counterparts.
Some of us, even more so.
And one last thought to share. If you have ever given thought to jumping back on the roller-coaster ride of emerging or re-emerging a part of yourself; I say do it! Go for it!
I can unequivocally say from experience, it is quite the ride and extremely liberating.
Pinch that Rainbow and Catch a Dream!
All Images Are © Àndrew Stelmack
Andrew lives in Toronto, Ontario Canada. You can see his ever evolving artwork through his various solo and group shows in Toronto as well as through the many galleries carrying his work in Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and Oakville. His works are found in many private and corporate collections and his work has been presented as gifts to Ministers and Members of Canada’s Federal Parliament.
Blog / Website: astelmack.com