Monday, December 3, 2018

Heist On The Road to Arles

'Molten' joins the ranks of other famous stolen works of art

In 1888, determined to be a successful artist, Vincent Van Gogh moved to the small town of Arles in the south of France where he spent the rest of his life in his ‘yellow house’ pursuing his artistic ambitions.  One hundred and thirty years later I find myself on a similar journey of artistic self-fulfillment, albeit on a much less grand scale than that of my adopted patron-artist, the tormented Van Gogh.

Like the Dutchman, I contend with frequent bouts of self-doubt brought on by a lack of confidence, oft times evoked by notable failures. Recently, though, I have managed to reach some minor mileposts on my journey to my personal Arles; testament more to perseverance than talent, but progress nonetheless.

In the past couple of years I have had some of my images not only juried into exhibits, but also had one awarded the Grand Prize for that particular exhibit. I have had images published in magazines and even have had one selected as the cover for a novel (I always look expectantly for my cover photo when in bookstores, but alas the book always seems to be sold out). I have had some success internationally, winning a spattering of distinctions and honorable mentions in prestigious worldwide competitions.  I can now print my own work and get great satisfaction from ‘making art’ that I can actually hold in my hands.  I exhibit frequently and have enjoyed generally positive reactions to my work.  This past year has also seen a modest uptick in sales. Although sales are not my primary objective, having people willing to part with money in exchange for my images is a satisfying surrogate for ‘acceptance’, if not appreciation.  

So, my road to Arles is not without some encouraging milestones. Mind you, these milestones are separated by long stretches of road; road rutted by doubt, caked with the sticky mud of near misses and littered with detours of outright failures. But so far the road signs of progress appear on the road ahead with enough frequency to keep me from abandoning my journey, or from contemplating cutting off an ear. 

Well, yesterday I reached a surprisingly exciting new mile marker on my artistic journey, one suggesting I may be closer to my destination than I had anticipated. One of my framed images (Molten, above) was stolen from the exhibit - clean off the wall! We're not talking copyright infringement or piracy here - this was an outright art heist!!  

If giving up cash to buy an image is a crude indicator of its art-worthiness, someone's willingness to do time for stealing an image must be a sure fire sign that its art. Right?!

I must be getting closer to Arles!