In praise of small art. 

More thoughts from the #hughbook etc.]


A friend of mine was in Paris a few years ago, where she went and checked out the massive Anish Kapoor sculpture, Monumenta 2011, which was on exhibit at Le Grand Palais.

This got me thinking…

I like Kapoor’s work. He makes a lot of very big art, especially the last decade.

I, on the other hand, make very small art i.e. these “cartoons drawn on the back of business cards“. And the prints aren’t too large, either.

Though I like a lot of “Big Art”- Kapoor, Serra, Gormley, Smithson etc etc- I’m pretty happy I stuck with “Small Art”.

Small Art can impact another person on a meaningful level, just as powerfully as Big Art. Fifteen lines from Shelley’s Ozymandias had as much influence on me over the years, as fifteen hundred pages of Tolstoy’s War & Peace, as much as I loved the latter.

Small Art is A LOT less hassle to make.

And you can make more of it. More often. Without bankrupting yourself or putting your life on hold for literally years on end.

And perhaps more importantly, there’s the “Personal Sovereignty” angle. With Small Art, there’s no need to wait for someone to deem it worthy beforehand- no need to wait nervously for the rich patron, the movie studio exec, or the illustrious museum director to give it the greenlight. There’s no need for the politics or the schmoozing or the bureaucracy.

Or the sleaze and corruption. The “Big Art” world is rife with that, as we all know full well.

With Small Art, you just go ahead and make it, and then it exists, and the rest is in the hands of the gods. Your work is already done, and you can get to bed at a decent hour. And not lose any sleep over it, either.

Hey, it worked for Joseph Cornell, Saul Steinberg and Edward Gorey… three artists who I rate WAY higher than Kapoor or Serra.

And what is true for Art is probably true for your thing, as well. Worry less about how BIG you want your business to be, instead think about how much LOVE you actually want to give out while your still have time left on this earth.

“Meaning Scales.” Exactly.