This weekend is the semi-annual St. Paul Art Crawl, wherein artists open their studios to the public, offering insight into their working environments, as well as (hopefully) selling some of their work. Mr. Sweetie and I dropped the kidlets off at a middle school dance party, and went to check out some art.
I was interested in seeing what was going on in the building next to mine--the Jax Building is pretty primo studio space, and was full when I was looking for a place to rent. So I was interested in both the building and the artists who worked there.
Well, after touring all five floors, I can safely say that I am happy to be where I am. The Jax building is very much a repurposed space, in which it appears that rouge drywall hangers have slipped in during the night and moved walls and reconfigured offices, sneaking away before they could be caught and forced to actually tape, sand, and paint the new walls.
Now, the building where I have my studio is an old railroad office building, now leased out to a variety of tenants. There are legal offices, non-profit organizations, architects, designers, a chiropractor, historical researchers, as well as photographers, musicians, writers, and painters. Each floor is different from the others, and even the plumbing is scattered all over. But it is a coherent whole compared to the Jax.
Now, if you are into industrial funk, or found objects, or roughed in work, then the Jax is for you. It is not, for example, the kind of environment that lends itself to classic still lifes, or the techniques of the Old Masters.
What was satisfying was to look at the art on offer and to realize that it was NOT all completely out of my league. I am basically self-taught (or "autodidact" which sounds much more impressive), and I actually come rather recently to visual expression. I have spent most of my life being about words, less so about pictures. To look at what artists confidently present to the public for sale--makes me feel a lot more confident about what I can do.
I don't necessarily know what makes "good art," but I do know what I like, and I'm feeling good about my ability to make something that I do like.