Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why do we compare?

© 2009 Constance Hobbs. All rights reserved.

I was considering why comparison is such a knee-jerk reaction for most people. I have a teenage daughter whose stories are filled with young girls who compare and compete rather than cooperate. That kind of comparison and competition brings with it enmity, aggression, gossip, and definitely not love and affection. Comparison breeds conflict. American society is a competitive society. We thrive on it. Don't get me wrong, growing up the middle child of 5, I experienced my share of competition. Competition feeds the ego, whether positive or negative, while cooperation feeds the heart and soul. Perhaps both are important in this life. Yet competition fosters stepping on or over another. It's a shutting down, selfish process, implying me first you second. Not a helping, cooperative process. Many people feel that man could not have created all that he has without competition. I'm not so sure that's true and isn't our present society corrupt in many ways? Just look at the Bernie Madoffs and wall street "greed-aholics". (Of course everyone on wall street isn't a greedy monster.)

© 2009 Constance Hobbs. All rights reserved.

As an artist, what is to be gained by comparing your art to another's? Nothing, is my estimation. When you are comparing artistic work side by side are we truly seeing either work? Are we understanding either work? Has our society become so ruled by the head, the intellect and not by the heart that it has become so difficult for people to forgive, cooperate and love one another? Some artists reach out and help one another. That's a beautiful thing. They understand just how difficult it is to work alone and to try to get the work out. To feel inspired by another artists work is a wonderful experience. To have your passion stirred, to see something, grow and understand something new. Each artist is unique and has a unique story to tell. So, I think its important to put away the intellect and competition in order to create something of true value. Sometimes when I'm considering the contemporary art market and famous artists, it seems to me the intellect, a formula, packaging, manipulation, self promotion and a star formula prevail. It's a business after all and there are rules to follow. If you want to be recognized or famous there's a game to play and contacts to be made. The catch here is that most artists find this the antithesis of what they want to pursue. Ah, the dilemma of being a fine artist. I wish us all Good luck!

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