Questions I hate?????

As artists, what questions or statements make us cringe…?


I decided to start painting about 17 years ago, I don’t know how it happened, I just picked up a paintbrush and started.  After playing around for a couple of years I finally found myself, or did I?  All I know is that I love to paint.  It relaxes me, it’s therapeutical and most of all it’s me.  

Over the years I have had many exhibitions, publicly and privately.  These involved people coming to look.  Sometimes I just sat and listened and other times I had to participate.  I was asked many questions and heard many comments, so I thought I’d share some of the questions and comments or statements and why they have occasionally made want to scream or tell the person or persons to go away, less politely of course.

Number 1 – It has to be “How long did it take you?”  This is a “go away” answer.  Why is it so important?  Does the fact that a painting I did in a day now sits on the wall of a wealthy business in Plymouth, or a painting that took me ages to do is rolled up under my bed, make any difference?  Are you saying because what I do is abstract must have been quicker to do than a Van Gogh, so, therefore, is worth anything?

Did you know?  When Jackson Pollock was commissioned to do Mural for Peggy Guggenheim in 1943 that although the painting was just under 6 metres long and 2 metres tall, he completed it in one night.  The painting has a value of $140 million.

So, don’t ask me how long it takes me to paint something, or I’ll put the painting over your head.  That quicker!

Number 2 – “I could do that myself” or “My kids could do that”.  If this is so, why don’t you do it yourself, or get your kids to do it.  Go on I dare you. 🙂  If you think it’s so easy if you think there is no feeling involved, no conception of colour, space and mind, then fucking do it.

Number 3 – “It’s a lot for a painting.” Many people do not class art as a profession, so why should they get paid for their hobby?  Well, just a little information, art for me is not a hobby, it’s a passion, something I love to do.  If I sold cars for a living, so I do it as a hobby, or perhaps I have a passion for cars and that’s how I make money.  Well I am an artist and I paint and unfortunately, I can’t make a living from it, because unlike cars not everyone needs a painting, they have IKEA!  Like a car dealer, you need an item to sell.  I need canvas, paint, paintbrushes, time, love and passion.  None of these is free, so shut up when you say, “that’s a lot”.  Just because I haven’t died or cut off my ear yet doesn’t mean it’s not worth anything.

Number 4 – “You don’t look like an artist.”  What does an artist look like? I don’t have long hair, I don’t wear tunics or a beret, I don’t have a 14th Century beard and handlebar moustache and I don’t look like I  have just been dragged through a hedge backwards and I don’t speak in riddles.  Of course, I don’t look like an artist.


Old photo of me.  Much bigger now and I don’t drink. Most of the paintings in the background are mine.


Those are just a few things that niggle me, as an artist, and there are plenty more, but I don’t want to use up all my space on the World Wide Web.

If you would like to add anything, feel free to comment.

Author: James Presley

I am an artist and I love it. What do I have to do to live from what I love? I'm not dying or cutting me bloody ear off, that's for sure.

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