Sauvie Island, Benton, and Sloan

A common thing I talk about with my art friends is work. How do you go about getting your work to be seen, and more than that, to be sold? Where should you go? How should you present it? Good art programs include this in their curriculum, but many tend to neglect teaching you how to present your art to the world.

Thomas Hart Benton's Persephone. After studying and writing about this piece I was ecstatic to see it in real life at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This image is taken from American Studies at the University of Virginia. Outside of school, I've been reading about Benton in Henry Adams' Thomas Hart Benton: An American Original.

This process of going from school to practical artwork is backwards from the way two of my favorite artists went about their careers. Thomas Hart Benton, the son of a U.S. Congressman, made his way to Joplin to prove his father wrong, that he could make it as an artist. He started off drawing for a newspaper there. John Sloan, part of The Ashcan School, also started out as a newspaper man. He illustrated news events and puzzles for the paper.

John Sloan's Election Night. This image is taken from Wikiart.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you slap yourself because of course you should have known something? Well I had that moment when I was reading about Sloan's early career in Michael Lobel's John Sloan: Drawing on Illustration. Newspapers didn't tend to use photographs in the early 1900s. They used artists to go to the site of an event, sketch it out, and turn it into a finished piece for the article. Artists made the pictures that recorded events.

This image is taken from Jon Reeve.

Typically we view photographs as more authentic and true to an experience than drawings or paintings, but with photo apps, filters, and shops, logically we know that's not necessarily the case. Back in August I had the opportunity to spend a month in Portland, OR. I didn't want to take a lot of pictures because I used to live there; instead, I wanted to record my trip by sketching out some "snapshots". I thought I was being really smart in doing that, but it turns out, I just forgot about my art history. It looks like the last hundred years have come full circle.

A "snapshot" from hanging out at Sauvie Island with my friends.


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