bravo's new show is the latest stroke on the reality canvas. bravo has brought golden globe and emmy award winner sarah jessica parker and her production company, pretty matches, together with the emmy-nominated magical elves ("top chef," "project runway") and eli holzman, to produce "work of art: the next great artist," an hour long creative competition series among contemporary artists. work of art will bring together fourteen aspiring artists to compete for a solo show at a nationally recognized museum and a generous cash price of $100,000.
in each episode of "work of art," contestants are faced with the challenge of creating unique pieces in a variety of mediums such as painting, sculpture, photography, collage and industrial design. the weekly assignements on bravo's "work of art: the next great artist" alongside a new celebrated guest judge every week. through a gallery showing at the end of each challenge on bravo's "work of art: the next great artist," these industry select dictate which artists have successfully mastered the subject matter and creation of their piece, as well as whose concept leaves the greatest impact. - source: poptower.com
as i watched the first few episodes, i was intrigued. at first, i wasn't into it, but since i'm an artist, reluctantly i continued to watch. absorbing each artists' process was capturing, as well as intimidating. i almost felt like a voyeur as i continued to observe their neuroses, only to have the feeling of being able to empathize with their frustrations myself. sometimes i wonder if put in that type of situation, would i be able to succumb to the high-pressure competition of this caliber. would i succeed? or would i be eliminated after the first round? obviously, since i have no desire to appear on a reality show, i wouldn't audition to begin with.
all of that being said, i find it fascinating how any artist—who typically needs time to create their personal masterpieces—can even work in such conditions. i know i couldn't. but then again, i am in the field of advertising where—given if i was employed at the moment—i would be dealing with this high-pressure, deadline atmosphere on a daily basis.
but there is a fine line between fine art and graphic design, where graphic design deals with commercialism and its eye-capturing content to sell the latest product, and fine art is more subjective. it deals with each individual artist's perception of what they're creating, and whether or not it appeases them. something conceptual, however, can be very daunting considering that the end result is not necessarily an eye-pleasing work of art, but on the contrary, to capture a story from the artist's point of view, thus leaving the viewer confused about its subsequent concept.
i have a saying that sums it up nicely: graphic design is for the client, art is for the artist. meaning that from a designer's perspective, we create solely on what the client wants and desires, regardless of what we feel is compositionally appropriate. but as an artist, we create for ourselves, and nobody else. it's our choice and our personal masterpiece—whether it's appreciated and enjoyed, or not, is irrelevant. because in the end, it's for us.
regardless of what bravo's intent is with this show, i love it and hope it continues to thrive as much as their competitive counterparts (i.e. "top chef," "top design", et al), because if it's just one more outlet for an artist to showcase their work without the stress and worries of where their materials will come from for their next composition, then i am all for it. because you know, we are starving artists.
for now, i will continue to watch this masterpiece.
i will end this with a quote from one of my favorite artists, frida kahlo. "i am not sick. i am broken. but i am happy as long as i can paint."