Steve Lambert on making (good) work with a specific audience in mind
This was a wonderful video to stumble upon after my rant about Grizzly Bear and the ridiculous notion that making work with an audience in mind somehow “taints” your process.
Steve Lambert was like a lot of artists:
I never sold a lot of anything… I made work for my peers, for people on the street, and I made work because I thought it was important. I didn’t have the chance to sell stuff, so I didn’t really think [it].
But when he started showing in a commercial gallery, he started selling lots of work to a very different audience:
The people’s homes that the work ends up in are not my peers. They are of a different class than I am. They usually have some wealth because they can spend a few thousand dollars on an artwork that’s going to be in their house just because they like it.
And he got a little freaked out about the disconnect between making work for everyone and making work for a select few:
How did I get here? This is not what I was working towards. And there was this feeling that, “Just go back. You weren’t trying to get here, just go back to where you were before.” And then there was another part of me, which I think is the smarter part, that was like, “Wait, you get to talk to this group, this select few. And not everyone gets to do that, even if they want to. Don’t walk away from that.”
So, instead of wimping out and self-sabotaging, he decided to take advantage of his new situation:
So, what do I want to say to this audience? If the venue is this person’s home, what do I want to do in that venue? And what I want to do is offer some reminders that they want, too…
The shift for me was realizing, “Oh, I can make work that people are going to live with, and not just any person, but a very specific type of person, and it gets to be there and be an influence.”
You can see more of Steve’s work at http://visitsteve.com