Artists on TV

June 24, 2010

One doesn’t often see artists on TV.  Of course there are arts related shows featuring interior design, crafts or even fashion design.   But this summer Bravo has something new, a show in which a group of artists each week are given artistic challenges and the creator of the worst project is sent home.  At the end of the series there will be a monetary prize and a one-person show at a prestigious location for the one remaining artist.

I found the show last week at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Bravo.  It’s called “Work of Art, the Next Great Artist.”  I watched again last night what I think was the third episode.  The artists are a diverse group in some ways, men and women of various ethnicities.  I was disappointed to see only one older person, a woman of 60, who was voted off last night.  My experience has been that many artists are senior citizens.  Since most people cannot make a living being an artists, they only have the time to really concentrate on art after raising children or retiring from a paying job.  The majority of artists in the two cooperative gallaries I am associated with are older persons and a majority are women.

What I like about this show is the way it pushes the artists to be creative and think outside of their own area of expertise.  Last week they were challenged to make a piece of art from old electrical appliances.  This week they were each given the title of a classic book and told to design a book cover, a strictly commerical project which a few were uncomfortable with, especially since some had not read the book they were assigned.

That’s my major complaint about this show.  I can’t imagine a real commercial artist designing a book cover for a book he hadn’t read.  Also, the artists are given a very limited time.  This may work well for TVand produce a lot of tension, but it seems to me in art as in just about anything else, if your first idea doesn’t work, you need a plan B.  Several artists last night did not have time for a plan B.

The show brought back memories of my first art job after college.  The company I worked for in Des Moines, Iowa, printed covers (not paper, the real cover) for children’s chapter books.  The cover was a simplified version of the paper cover.  As a beginning artist one of my jobs was to create a small design for the spine of the book that would give an idea to a child seeing it on the shelf of a library what the book was about.  It was fun some years later to  see one of my designs on a book in a library. 

It is good to relax in front of the TV at the end of a day and be able to watch something other than news or murder and mayhem (is there a difference?).

At my easel:  I’m still working on “The Sightseers.” Who knew those slender legs elks have would be so hard to get right.

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