Full speed ahead


Dear Artist,

The Lahaina scene makes a little more sense when you realize it’s a microcosm of the world of art itself. There’s intense competition; the good, bad and indifferent side by side, hucksterism, jealousy, plagiarism. The real question is how does an artist function in an environment where commercialism cohabits with creativity?


“Hawaiian Fisherman” 1919
by Charles Barlett

With a big Hawaiian smile and the innocence of sharing, go about extracting hourly joy from whatever it is you love to do. There are co-conspirators in the great game, but you must play the game yourself, alone, and to the best of your ability. You don’t need to pay much attention to the competition. Just concentrate on how good you can be.

Having good and bad art close at hand can either inspire or depress a painter. When you think about it, there’s danger in both. Like excellence, mediocrity is contagious. I’ve noticed that successful artists tend to protect their privacy, guard their vision, and keep their own counsel. Though we may drink every night with the brotherhood and sisterhood, we are all solitudes.

What a lot of people want to know is just how some of these traffic-rich destination galleries work. Originals are priced at huge figures — like $200,000. Most of the casual ice-cream lickers don’t see value in the work at these prices. They even scoff at them. It does however, make the almost indistinguishable prints at their relatively affordable prices seem like a good deal. When the occasional discriminating connoisseur buys an original the gallery owner has a difficult decision. He must decide whether to open and staff a couple of new galleries — or buy a Ferrari.

Best regards,


PS: “Damn the torpedoes — full speed ahead.” (David G Farragut, Battle of Mobile Bay, Aug 5, 1864)

“Nothing succeeds like success.” (Alexandre Dumas, 1854)



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