countless times in my life, people have told me, “rhan, this is not art; this is just a job.” this statement usually follows a discussion involving some shortcut to a project--one that was most likely a paid project. i was probably making a suggestion that i believed would enhance the work and permit me and the others to feel as though we had done something meaningful. i’m always surprised by this response.

"this is not art; this is just a job." it is as if because this is a paycheck, we simply must get it done fast so we can get our money and go home. to most, art is a thing that involves passion and a disregard for the lowest common denominator. i have met folks that think artists should be poor and have to suffer -i imagine this kind of thinking has something to do with of vincent van gogh, though i’m not sure. the words "art" and "artist" have not been held in the most favorable light in my life when it comes to getting paid. i continue to work on projects because that is what i do.

by the way, i really dislike the question “what do you do?” i don’t like to be defined as a person by what i do for 10 to 12 hours a day, especially when, in the case of being an artist, this usually means searching for 4 or 5 hours for an idea.

i was in the backseat on my way to an art opening in north carolina. in the front seat, mark clark was driving and richard craven (also known as richard canard) was riding shotgun. mark clark was in a group show and we were riding with him to see it. we were driving over a particularly beautiful stretch of highway and richard was telling us about meeting andy warhol. andy had visited richard's school for a talk in the early 60’s. i was very impressed by this story, but then richard said something that has stayed with me all of my life-

“everything man-made is art; everything else is nature.”

artworks by
Bob & Roberta Smith, 2002 for perogi in brooklyn ny
richard canard, 2007 correspondence