Local Artists Learn from the Best
By Dianne Anderson
Artists will soon get the chance to sit at the foot of Zeus to unleash their inner muse, which, when its done right also adds up to more money.
Upcoming, free mentoring events hosted by renowned artist Charles Bibbs will be held in Los Angeles and is now opening registration.
Bibbs’ project, based in Riverside, attracts artists of all genres, including writers, musicians, and poets in workshops nationwide. Through his national nonprofit art association, they come together to thrive. Equally important, they learn to make the most of market forces.
His main message is that artists should look first to success rather than fame.
“For a lot of our young artists, it’s embedded in their education that the only way to success is fame. We’re trying to change that attitude,” he said.
As a rule, artists loathe thoughts of dollar signs in the same space as creativity, but he believes there is room for both. Some of the most successful artists earn a good living, said Bibbs, who has made millions selling his high demand works.
He doesn’t see getting paid for time and talent as a compromise. In fact, he believes it’s a compromise not to make the most of so much energy invested in the craft. At his mentoring events, he often speaks of the economy of creativity.
“If you’re not meeting all your expectations financially, we’ve done something wrong,” he said. “When we start off the seminar, we ask people if you are making $100,000 a year, don’t come to the class because we can’t tell you anything.”
He knows some artists hitting $300,000 a year following basic tried and true steps, with a good part of their sales coming through the world’s biggest showcase. Gone are the days of buying and viewing art mostly through brick and mortar galleries.
Today, he said it’s easier than ever for artists reach across states, even internationally, using social media to capitalize on a vast potential online market.
“You can reach so many people today,” Bibbs said. “There’s more than enough market out there. You have to understand the product you’re selling.”
For Black art, a wealth of opportunity exists. He said demand remains strongest for Black-themed products because it meets the psychological need of a market that no other culture can produce in quite the same way.
Bibbs, who has exhibited across the nation, racked up numerous accolades, his works hang proudly on the walls of some of the most talented entertainers — Frankie Beverly, Najee, Steve Harvey, Bernard Kinsey, Marc Brown, Earl Graves, Queen Latifah, to name a few.
As an artist, he reserves a special place in the creative process to incorporate political and historical themes, the spirit of perseverance, survival and substance.
And, of all the things that spur the economic engines of society, he said art is the outlier. It can be financially rewarding, but also serves a greater purpose, which is why so many artists get their start in the field in the first place.
It opens dialogue in the family structure, offering a way to think across time in one full sweep. One of his pieces portrays the movement from slavery to the March on Washington.
Art opens consciousness.
“It’s a phenomenon that has never happened before because we weren’t raised up in homes with [our art]. The only pictures we had on the wall was a picture of white Jesus, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr.,” he said.
Today, people know Bibb’s work, which has helped change a generation of minds through his conception of reality. He feels the more young artists learn the way to get their products to the market, the more impact they can have on the community for the greater good.
“That is amazing power. This is what we’re trying to train young people — that when God gives you a gift, and you have a gift to create, it’s part of man’s progress.”
To register, call the Art 2000 Visual Artists Association at 951.385.6566