Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Art and Reality

I am not a fan of reality TV.  And how can they call it reality?!  How "real" are these people with a camera pointed at them?  Some of my friends watch The Bachelor.  My daughter can be caught watching a Housewives drama. (a study in sociology, of course)  The kids love Chopped, a reality competition with chefs who create gastronomic delights from four or five ingredients chosen by the show.  My husband even found one about golf!  And who doesn't watch Hillbilly Handfishin'?  A show that takes a group out into the rivers of Mississippi and teaches them to "noodle" or catch catfish with their hands!  They are modern day game shows in a way and there is something for everyone.  And they seem addicting.  I really have no use for them.

But wait. Now there is one for artists!  Yes, you read right-a reality show about art and artists. It has the same premise as all the others.  Project Runway for the arts.  But I like it!  It's called Work of Art-The Next Great Artist on Bravo.  The premise is not new.  Challenges are issued, there is an elimination each week, a large cash prize and an exhibit in the Boston Museum of Art for the lucky finalist.  But what I find most interesting are the challenges and their results.  I am never disappointed as a group of talented individuals give me a charge of inspiration with their take on the challenge.  I have to admit, I am in awe sometimes. 

Last season I began to pull for the artists I thought had the most potential.  I watched each week as they struggled to use their unique creativity within the constraints of the challenge issued and asked "could I do that"?  I watched talented artists with amazing skills choke under pressure and sympathized since I've done that!  I saw the drama as artists let their personalities get in the way of their talents.  I watched an artist who I viewed at first as ho-hum rise steadily to each challenge and move through the weeks gaining confidence.  I realized that small steps done steadily move you forward.  Large glimpses of occasional brilliance are great, but what do you do in between?  I think you can loose momentum.  But those flashes of brilliance are a thing to behold.  And I saw some awesome art and amazing skills. 

I've seriously thought about taking on the challenges myself each week, but that's not reality.  On what plannet is it possible to lock myself away in a room with unlimited supplies and devote myself to creating.  But isn't that the dream??  And for a few lucky artists it is a reality.  And I will be watching!

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