Recently a friend and I were talking regarding the fact that her husband's tastes in artwork varied wildly from hyper-realistic, every-blade-of-grass, realism to beautifully rendered expressionistic pieces. I sympathized with her because I'd seen the same wildly variant tastes from my own spouse with a tendency toward shamelessly sentimental pap (maybe because she's of the female persuasion). This was especially true when we were first married. Now, after 29 years she's a little gun-shy about volunteering her feelings about ANY individual work, except for mine of course, and there she very freely dispenses sometimes rather harshly pointed comments (which I've learned NOT to ignore). Worst of all, she's OFTEN right.

I think what we, as artists, tend to forget is the great gulf between OUR highly refined and very esoteric tastes and the "naive" tastes representing a large portion of the public. Notice I did not say "buying" public because the tastes of art "buyers" has often started to become at least somewhat refined by the time they get around to plunking down money for a painting. I think that gulf was widest during the fifties and the Abstract Expressionist era when what so many artists were turning out seemed downright FRAUDULENT to the uninitiated. Today, when there is literally art for every CONCEIVABLE taste, then we should be little surprised that there is reflected such a wide range of tastes--even from the same individual.

I've spoken of this before, but I'll mention it again, along with sheer size, American's consistently consider "hard work" or "it musta taken a long time" as aesthetic qualities in judging artwork. In fact, many Americans admire technical skill even at the EXPENSE of aesthetics (a more is always better mentality). I keep referring to this as an "American" thing because it IS, peculiarly American. I'm told it's not nearly the factor in European tastes as it is here. Therefore, as American artists, if we want our buying public to reflect OUR tastes (and who amongst us DOESN'T), then we've got to educate'em, be it in the form of brochures, lectures, or merely just spending TIME with our would-be clients in a non-threatening environment such as art fairs. Perhaps all this is too strong an element in the American psyche for artists to change, but the choice is either to try to change it, or to cater to it.