Art & Development

Game Time: Sports Adages for Art

Artists, supposedly, are not good at sports. But since art can be extremely competitive, I propose that artists embrace a competitive spirit and the values of sportsmanship (or is it sports-person-ship?).

To help get the ball rolling (ahem!), below are some sporty expressions. They’re the sand, you’re the oyster, and one day, you’ll have pearls — of wisdom! — at just the right art moments…

Preparing for a critique or meeting with a gallerist? Try slapping both your cheeks simultaneously and shouting, “Game time, baby!” If that doesn’t work, try throwing lots of uppercuts into the air and repeating, “Who’s the boss?”

Bummed about how hard it is to be an artist? Bemoaning scarcity? Try saying, “Suck it up!” Then go “walk it off.”

Can’t decide if your photo is worth the $400 back-mounting you envisioned? Even though it’s Nike’s slogan, I like “Leave nothing.” It’s about sacrifice, performance, action over words — in essence, “Give it your all” so you won’t have any regrets.

When the art ideas are facile, remember: “Don’t be a three page book.” (Paris Alexander)

There are almost always more deserving artists than available rewards. Remember: “Winning isn’t everything.”

Let’s commend artists with lots of “heart.” Not everyone can be the champ, but you can put on a good show with extraordinary persistence and courage. Lots of people root for the underdog.

Graceful concessions: I wish more artists could say “Good game.” Be happy for others’ successes, instead of comparing others’ accomplishments with their own.

Got the drill? Try to come up with art scenarios for these:

“Go big or go home.”

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” (I’m not Michael Vicking it — the metaphor’s for boxing, OK?)

“Lesson No. 1: How to take a fall!”

“He’s just doin’ moves.” (This newfangled adage, from mixed martial arts, is a criticism of a fighter who is not trying hard enough to damage his opponent. “Doin’ moves” is similar to “going through the motions,” but with the intent to appear active.)

“He’s not made of wood.” Bunkerd Faphimi, a Muay Thai fighter, explains why he approaches fights without fear this way: Any opponent “will only have two arms and two legs, like me. He’s not made of wood.”


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