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Where is your Art?

Just recently, a customer asked me ~ “Where is your Art? Which piece here in the gallery is something you made?”

She was looking for a widget, a piece of glass on a pedestal or wall, a body of work that had my name attached specifically to it. Something she could comment on and say "Oh, very nice." Something that could define me into the box she knew how to check: Artist.

How could I explain to her the whole studio was my art? From designing the next product for the upcoming show to how I carefully curate display props in the gallery that the glass is displayed against. From the classes we develop to the way they are taught, to the posters on the wall that highlight our products in various images, to the logos attached to the walls that show up perfectly in the background as students take pictures. Is that Art?!

I think so.

I was classically trained as a glass blower so I think everyone that knows my back story imagines that my art is a glass object. Something they can tangibly pick up and claim as ‘an original Michelle Plucinsky’ piece of art. When that’s not the case, they don’t know how to classify me. They try to put the label of Artist on me, but when I don’t produce a widget, they squirm in defining who I am.

Some are savvy. They know my role at the Glass Academy, and they call me the Art Director. They know it’s me who calls the shots of which products to feature and when, I choose the way the photo shoot will lay out, the final images to use, and work to develop successful ads with our graphic designer. From the font we use on all printed materials, to the visual layout of our logo on the bag stickers, these are all creative decisions. The color tissue used to match the theme of the show, the tee shirts the staff wears, and the quantity of each product for the show to sell for the shows. Is that Art?

I think so.

I have a whole studio and body of work I call the Glass Academy. From the social media sites we manage to the press releases that go out to the media, I feel this is all my work. The demonstrations we offer during the shows, these are fun, educational performance pieces for customers. Maybe these are a type of performance Art?

From the fun contests, the promotions we offer and donations we do, is that Art? Or business? Whole marketing firms exist to promote businesses, and we call these people creatives. Could they also be considered Artists? How about Martha Stewart? She clearly has a vision, a style, a way of doing business. Would you consider her an Artist? Or a business woman?

We all wear many hats. I do consider myself an artist, and my main body of work is the Glass Academy. I do create other works of art; my children being my finest artwork, my garden, my home and yes, some limited edition works of art. I will always be an Artist, a creator, I just tend to merge these ideas into my business and life with blurred lines. Very rarely will my personal work be on display as a widget available for purchase. I suggest, should you ever see that from me, snatch the item up, as truly, it will be a rare item worth possessing.

~Michelle