Art guilt

Right now, I could walk out my front door …

… meander down a few blocks and hit a quaint little street in my neighbourhood that’s showcasing great local artists.

I could ponder some brilliant paintings, examine funky handcrafted jewellery, and rub shoulders with eager art types enthusing over local talent.

Instead, I’m sitting here at my PC. With a backache.

It’s South Australian Living Artists (SALA) time. For weeks, there’ll be hundreds of artists exhibiting over Adelaide. Their work will adorn the walls and shelves of local pubs, hairdressers, businesses and galleries big and small.

So I should be taking a look, right? I know it’s big. I know it’s wonderful. But I can’t do it …

I have art-guilt again. [Closely related to exercise-guilt. ]

I know art is ‘good for me’. It’s easily accessible, it’s free to look and I’d enjoy it – if only I could drag myself to the nearest exhibition. It’s just too darn easy to say ‘no, I’ll go next time’.

In the meantime, there are some fabulous artists out there, eagerly waiting for people to browse the work they’ve devoted so many hours to. [Right: I’m at an actual art exhibition, a few years back. Yep, that was one gigantic cube of STUFF. I was afraid it’d fall on me.]

There must be many people like me – who like the idea of art – but just can’t seem to weave it into their lives.

A few years back, Pam Gaulin wrote a great article with tips on visiting an art gallery. She had helpful advice like:

  • don’t feel the need to talk (sigh of relief ..)
  • don’t get too close (oh, feeling slightly chastised ..)

And WikiHow has a nifty article on How to Visit an Art Gallery, where you need to figure out pesky little details like determining what mediums you’re most interested in, grabbing a map and having a visitation plan. Mmm.

A few years back, my husband [David] and I were backpacking around Europe. The great galleries were on our to-do list, and we dutifully saw the Mona Lisa, Park Guell, Salvador Dali’s museum and more. It was wonderful .. and exhausting. We lined up for hours to see Michelangelos’ statue of David, whereas the replica out in the sunny square nearby would have done just the trick.

Our European art journeys were illuminating and tiring. And competitive. It’s hard to stand in front of a world famous piece of art, among crowds offering learned comments, without feeling some pressure to find something new to offer!

But maybe it’s time to get back on the horse. SALA is taking place around me. It ends soon. Perhaps I should put one foot in front of the other and venture outside … and long as I make sure not to touch.

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