Showing posts with label mission statement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mission statement. Show all posts

January 28, 2013

Mission Statement


Writing the eulogy for my art gallery has become an everyday task. Why is it so hard to quit even when I know it's a losing battle??

Philip Guston painting
Philip Guston, Deluge II

My daughter called me a one-hit-wonder the other day. That hurt. But maybe it's true. I open too many businesses that never make it past the two year mark. 
Catherine Street Gallery, Green Seed Art Company, and The Art House Gallery are my top three. I either run out of money or am in the wrong place at the wrong time while running out of money. My husband says if I did half the work I do for myself for other companies I'd be rich. 
It's easy to write a mission statement for a new business. Even coming up with brand names and logos is fun. But what about coming up with a mission statement for your life. I read somewhere recently that if you can't describe your business in one sentence you shouldn't  be in that business. Can you sum up a whole life in one sentence? 

Philip Guston painting
Philip Guston, Ancient Wall

Philip Guston painting
Philip Guston, Forms on Rock Ledge
This is why I love biographies and memoirs. I get so caught up in the romantic notion that a whole life can be neatly summed up in 200 pages or a half hour episode. A concise, well labeled, carefully organized file in the file cabinet. The writers and producers have found the exact font, color scheme and background music, and the subtitles and footnotes all fit so beautifully. You read and view it as if it's real, but it can't be. It's too neat and conformed. There's no sweat, no smell. It's not greasy or sticky, it doesn't get caught in your teeth or under your finger nail. It's not real, it's the art of something real. Maybe the art is the reality. Ah, but that's another issue...

Philip Guston painting
Philip Guston, The Pit
Whatever it is, real or imagined, I like it. No matter how painful or confusing the days, hours and minutes may be, there is no physical unraveling in the book version. If it gets too tough to read you just put the book down. Memories work this way, they blend together in neater and less confrontational ways, and that's the part I like. Momentarily it gives me a plentitude of excuses. If the day is lousy I probably won't remember it anyway, it'll just get jumbled in with the month of January. Or the cold winter of 2013. My brain organizes life this way. I make neat piles of horrible messes. I know where everything is even if no one else does, and temporarily out of sight and mind, I don't need to think about it until I absolutely have to. I take my emotions out on a need to need basis. At least this is how my documentary would go. And maybe this is why I keep opening and closing businesses. I forget how hard it is, how much time it takes and how much money I don't have. That file conveniently gets left unopened. My biographer, I imagine, would leave these failures out and embellish my entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, on paper my resume looks pretty good. Maybe if I can work on that mission statement a little better I would be headed for more success. But I really don't think it works that way. 

Philip Guston balked at the suggestion that artists have any control over the types of paintings they inevitably make. I imagine life like this too. If we do what we are innately inclined to do, things that come naturally, that are free of expectation and categorization, we unintentionally follow our own mission statement. Aspiring to follow the natural yearning within ourselves is quite the artistic struggle. That struggle, however, isn't so bad if you can somehow find a way to enjoy it...all the sweaty, smelly, confusing moments of it.