Friday, March 7, 2014

An Open Letter To Art Guilds

There's one way, and ONLY one way, to suck the fun out of art - and that's to have a meeting about it.

I am a member of a lot of art guilds here, as is my sister.

I joined these guilds because I wanted to make art. I thought that's what art guilds were for.  I figured we'd get together and learn techniques and make things. Their websites make it look like that's what you'd do. There are lists of workshops and activities, all of which look sparkly and fun.

But what I've found is that what most groups exist to do is to gather people under fluorescent lights and read minutes from previous meetings. Or calendar entries. Or any other number of things that a person could read for themselves, not under a fluorescent light and not on a weeknight when they've already worked all day and just wanted to do some freaking art. For fun.

I sat through such a meeting this week and inside my head I was screaming like Janet Leigh in Psycho. WHY AM I HERE? WHY ARE PEOPLE READING TO ME? WHY AM I PAYING DUES FOR PEOPLE TO READ TO ME? WHY AREN'T WE DOING ART? SHOULDN'T I BE MEETING DURING THE DAY WHEN I GET PAID TO MEET AND HAVING FUN AND GETTING PAINT ON MY FACE AT NIGHT? WHY IS NO ONE ELSE SCREAMING?

Is there anyone who LIKES to go to a bright, uncomfortable room at night after work and have people read a calendar to them? WHY do people do this? More importantly, why do CREATIVE people do this? What compels people to inject a large dose of boredom into what should be a fun gathering? And, if there are people who get a large dose of oxytocin flowing through their brain when people read minutes to them, why can't art groups do the art FIRST and the minute reading last so that the normal people can go home after the fun part and get the paint out from under their nails while the minute lovers moan softly as someone reads each word from the last meeting, in which they read the notes from the meeting before that?

These meetings are the bureaucratic version of sourdough starter - they pass the seeds of boredom from meeting to meeting through the note reading, carefully preserving the essence of numbness so that it can grow and feed the next catatonic session. I can't take it.

I did a sampling of my Facebook friends just to see if maybe one person out of 1300 really loved hearing a moving presentation of previous meeting minutes or upcoming dates in chronological order, and I failed to find one such freak. Which is good because I would have had to unfriend them.

But I did get some funny little quotes out of the deal:

"As the adage goes, meetings are events where the minutes are kept and the hours are lost" ~K

"I had a boss who gave us permission to leave any meeting we felt was not a good, productive use of our time. He wondered why no one would show up to his meetings. " ~K

"OK, I just have to say this. I HATE POWERPOINT!!! Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, do not include a powerpoint presentation in your meeting in which you read the stinkin' slide to me word for word. And, if you really want to make me want to punch you in the throat, give me a handout with the powerpoint presentation printed on it." ~K

"Also, I hate it when people, with zero subtlety, pat themselves on their own backs expecting a hero biscuit for accomplishing the same work their colleagues perform on a regular basis." ~B

"Unfortunately, it's my job to read the calendar to everyone every Tuesday." ~J

"I worked at a company who had meetings about scheduling meetings" ~C

"Yesterday's meeting was about what they were going to meet about today. No joke." ~D

"I especially hate the ones (most of them) where it's obvious the only reason for the meeting is because it's the day for the meeting - nothing gets discussed except what's been discussed in a thousand emails and the last meeting." ~L

So here's my question - WHY DO WE PUT UP WITH IT?  I have yet to find one person who loves meetings, and yet we're all subjected to them. Why? Who are the tyrannical minority?

I am most definitely not going to give up my very limited, precious few free hours each week listening to someone read a calendar or minutes from the last meeting. I'm done.

Stampers don't do this - we come in, we sit down, and we start stamping. No one ever asks for minutes or reads a calendar or reads the latest running bank balance.

I beg of all of you - if you run or belong to an art guild - MAKE IT STOP.  You are driving off enthusiastic and creative artists with your dump truck full of boring and pointless nattering. Use your website and email for facts, and use your humans for their hands and brains and hearts. Anything else is disrespectful of the the limited time we all have on this earth.

There. I feel better.

Today's Mix-Ability challenge was the perfect opportunity for me to put this feeling onto a card. The challenge is to use a watercolor wash -YIPEE - my favorite!

So I made a card that I think is quite the opposite of an art guild meeting and more like what we should all be doing. 
 
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The stamps are Sketches (retired) and Spread Joy (Limited edition, retired).

I made the wash with reinkers - Orchid Opulence, Tempting Turquoise and Summer Sun with my aquapainter. When that was dry, I stamped the Sketches image and painted it with gouache. Then I masked that image and stamped the sentiment over it.

It's so peaceful it almost made me forget that meeting. Almost.

Oh - and I PROMISE I will not come back here tomorrow and read you this blog post before I start a new one. :)

Loveyameanitbye.


11 comments:

  1. My first visit to your blog and I LOVE your post. You have a way with words !

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  2. Love! And your card is perfect!

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  3. Lydia, I thought your rant was fantastic. I hate meetings like that. I am on a committee for boy scouts. I dread the monthly meetings where we go over the same thing month after month and we always run out of time just when we are getting to the "new" stuff. And they wonder why none of the parents want to be on the committee. Shocker. I love how your wash turned out. I'm glad you don't read a list of mix challenges before we can start and I'm glad you don't read the calendar of what is coming up, because it makes looking forward to Friday that much more enjoyable. My Friday Mix Anticipation.

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  4. :)

    Very soothing card. I can almost hear the waves lapping at the sand. So much nicer than a meeting!

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  5. I am so glad you got this off your chest -- I do hope you feel better. I am so lucky that I don't have to be subject to such torture -- hearing about yours makes me appreciate my few meetings better -- they are always productive - but not creative. Thank you also for not reading minutes or a calendar at our stamping sessions -- I truly love them just the way they are!!!

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  6. well said ... when our quilting group meets - we quilt . Our card making group makes cards !!
    I love your card .. I too have that stamp set .
    Love your blog although I think this is the first time I have commented .
    Thank you for taking the time to share your talents with us.

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  7. This just totally cracked me up! I too hate meetings. People would probably accuse me of being uninvolved because I refuse to participate in things that require meetings. I even opened my own business so I didn't have to have meetings! I once was a part of a committee to hire a new employee and at one meeting we discussed for over an hour the one that got away. They're gone people...get over it!!

    Thank you for giving me humor to start my day. Hope you find more artsy art folks!

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  8. OH AMEN!!! But we should probably have a meeting to discuss the possibility of not having a meeting - hmmm

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  9. I do not miss meetings. Not one bit. As for that whole Minutes thing? Blame Roberts.

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  10. Just started following you thru Feedly, have chatted thru split coast stampers before. I love your humor so thought I would add your blog for a bit of light humor plus I love your card style. Love this card here, wish it wasnt discontinued both the image and the sentiments, just perfect and your art is wonderful.

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