Judy Hintz Cox: Love / Hate Relations Of An Artist With Her Art

Working as an artist is a choice. It is common knowledge that making a living as an artist is difficult. Therefore working as an artist usually means finding other means of support while waiting to "be discovered". I actually thought I would "be discovered" as a great artist. I had dates set in my mind based on my age. By the time I turned fifty I stopped thinking I would be famous. The question is why was that important? I think it was and is about validation. It is hard to be recognized as a professional when unable to support yourself financially.


Crucified Clown by Judy Hintz Cox

A few years ago I painted a series of abstract female clowns, many on crosses. For a long time I thought I needed to paint some sort of message. My thinking involved both females and artists. Using the crucifixion symbol was an extreme measure to get an idea seen. I think there are times when we all think life is unfair and we deserve more. I could go on and on with the "poor me" subject but no one likes to hear about it and being in that mental space is destructive.

Drawing and painting for me are about sharing my emotions with myself." 
Judy Hintz Cox

 As noted above, I choose to work as an artist. When a painting is going well and taking on a life of its own I have a giddy overwhelming feeling of love. It is so much fun and a big reason to continue working as an artist. And then there's the cliché of expressing my inner emotions which is true but I get tired of spouting the obvious.

The Death of Frivolity by Judy Hintz CoxAn artist friend once said the fun part of being an artist is probably less than 30% of your time. Painting isn't just putting paint on a canvas. Any art requires a lot of physical and mental preparation. I do have a love/hate relationship with my art. This is not unique to me and this is not just about art. In Buddhism the first noble truth is often translated as "Life is Suffering". That doesn't mean life is hopeless. Nothing is permanent and that is good news. Moments of love and hate are back and forth. So just when I'm feeling like giving up, everything changes and it's all good. So just let me say art is my career. It isn't perfect and often frustrating. But it is what I do.

Judy Hintz Cox

  When I struggle with needing to create but wondering how, I'm aware that art and life are the same. Art like life consists of choices which are the result of thought. My abstract paintings reveal inner thoughts of my mind. My thoughts bounce from negative to positive and back. The gamut of thought plays out on my canvases. The meaning of my work is what the viewer believes. I have no great truths, only expressions.

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10 Responses

  1. Ruth says:

    I continue to explore my art theory and am never happy about why,where,when,who …….in my quest to find the truth on so many angles and terms…………

    • judy says:

      thank you for the comment Ruth,

      So true the need to find the truth.

    • Sometimes I’m happy for a moment but that usually goes away. I look at it as developing and so I am able to see better. It can happen in the middle of a painting–first I see it as great and then as I finalize it it starts to look weak. I try not to be emotional about it–it shouldn’t make me unhappy I mean, but it sure can.

  2. Strong and important article, Judy. Thanks for this…resonates
    with me and I am sure with other artists who have their battlefields with their studio work.

    Sometimes feels as if you are going forward as the preliminary intelligence person to spy out the dangers and try to avoid getting hit! March on! There is much to be gained. Love your clown on the cross. So sad so despairing.

  3. Jennifer says:

    It is indeed a love/hate relationship, because “the starving artist” is a reality in this world. How can one love one’s work when it does not permit one to truly live freely or comfortably?

    The problem with being an artist is that everyone is an artist. Look at this quote painted on an art museum’s wall in Vilnius, Lithuania:

    “Everyone is an artist, but only artists know it.”

    There is a lot of competition out there.

    It is possible to live solely off the production of art and beyond the starving artist status, but it is rare. Hence, the love/hate relationship.

    • judy says:

      Exactly Jennifer,

      Really hard to love what you do when you have to do something else to make the money to do what you love.

    • This is how I’ve come to see it Jennifer. There is no competition between artists–each is unique and as such has something unique to offer. An orange does not compete with an apple.

      I think that we compete with ourselves. We try to develop and live from our art and the competition ends up being between our art and anything else we do to live from.

  4. June Jacobs says:

    very powerful and moving observations, Judy.

    I think it’s similar for other types of artists as well. Fame is something to contemplate, but it seems no matter how talented one is, the fame part is not guaranteed – especially in one’s lifetime.

    • Fame for fame’s sake shouldn’t be the focus. I want to be known for a unique and feeling voice. I don’t think striving for “fame” is necessarily healthy.. There is a saying that “principles” must come before “interests”. Fame is an interest. All those hours of hard work are principle and should be the focus.

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