Last week I put on a solo show during Norfolk's 2018 NEON Festival entitled Fear of Acceptance: new works by Carl Floyd Medley III. It was an amazing experience. We had great attendance, drinks, music and a lot of really great positive energy. I couldn't have accomplished it without the help of Fang Gang partner Charles Rasputin and Careyann Weinberg of Alchemy. Also, thanks to my wife Liane, who helped me stay focused during the buildup tot the show and helped me move a ton of merch during. She is my everything. Stay tuned for more new works in the coming weeks.
About the Show:
After being awarded a 2017 professional fellowship in painting from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Carl Medley immediately set out on his most aggressive art campaign to date by applying to group exhibitions, gallery proposals, mural ideas, etc., each one ultimately resulting in rejection. From this experience Carl created a body of work that explores the rejection process as both reflection and motivation. Fear of Acceptance featuring new works by Carl Floyd Medley III is a two-sided coin: fear from a community in accepting work that creates its own narrative outside of the status quo and fear from an artist who has found comfort in being an outsider.
“Cause it’s a, lot of bull$h*t floodin’ the scene
Where everybody’s a star, and hot $h*t is few and far between
We lose the grip of what, garbage mean”
- Black Thought (Star/Pointro, The Tipping Point - 2004)
There should be a scale where you could measure creative net worth. It would allow everyone to avoid the discussion of “good art.” I mentioned before in a post about becoming a successful artist that “good” is subjective because, in truth, it is a shallow conversation at best. A curator of modern, South American painting is going to have a different version of “good” than a screen print shop from Buffalo New York that does concert posters. There’s no universal there in that discussion. But what if we could have universal quantifiers that allowed everyone to look at the creative world more objectively? How valuable would your creative currency be?
So what are some of the things that would go in this scale? The first thing I would include is craft. The level of thought and effort that have gone into something goes a long way even in the simplest of ideas.
I also think it’s fair to include concept as a measure. Extra points for below surface-level meaning. I have met some incredibly dedicated artists that can create circles around people, but the work doesn’t necessarily mean that much. Remember, we’re not talking about good or bad, we’re talking about a scale.
Ok, what’s next? Maybe we include progressiveness (is that a word)? There’s other ways to describe it, but constant growth away from a comfort level is what we’re talking about. It’s literally what defined the Impressionists and why they were so hated initially.
So where am I going with all of this? With the rise in popularity of creative districts as marketable destinations it is a topic that needs to be discussed more if they plan on succeeding. Personally I don’t think it’s a subject that many people like to have because it is an uncomfortable one. What would the net worth of your district be based on the public art that you’re putting out? What is the ratio of support you’re giving to artists, performers and writers in relationship to businesses and developers? Are you trying to force an aesthetic and live in a comfort zone or are you trying to progress and give your residents and visitors something to be surprised and inspired by? What would the creative currency exchange rate be between a city like Richmond and a city like Virginia Beach?
I had the honor of having my work, Get Rich or Die Voting, selected for New Waves, an annual juried exhibition at Virginia MOCA that showcases the vast array of artistic talent found in Virginia. The show was juried by Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, Director of OSMOS, a network of independent editorial and curatorial platforms based in New York. Out of 378 artists who submitted I not only made the cut of 30 artists but I also received an Honorable Mention. I have been trying to get into this show for five years and along that way I could have very easily tried to change my work to try to get in or guess what people wanted to see but I didn’t. I stuck with my point of view and continue to do the work that I want to see in the world and, in this case, it paid off.
Thanks again MOCA, Cay Sophie, and especially my wife who continues to support me and my work. Now back to painting… where the hell did I put my cadmium yellow?