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Emotional Counseling, Etiquette and Career Advice for Artists

Rescued by the winds of fate from Marfa, the Tumbleweed dispenses wisdom to the troubled souls in the art community.

Are you…
acting inappropriately?
bored with your life?
down and directionless?
sensitive and insecure?
frustrated by desire?
paralyzed by fear?
drowning in debt?
unable to love?
confused by proper protocol?
afraid to succeed?
feeling shallow and fake?
jealous and confused?
cynical and depressed?
shunned and ignored?
bereft of hope?
… all of the above?

The Tumbleweed Can Help

Born against all odds on a nuclear test site, the Tumbleweed was raised on plutonium-soaked soil, acquiring an uncanny sixth sense for helping humanity. Uprooted at an early age, it rolled from the barren desert through crowded city streets, determined to use its special powers where they were needed the most: the art world. Heroic in its determination to help, the Tumbleweed has overcome many obstacles, extracting itself from barbed wire fences and the fenders of speeding cars to come to your aid.

A friend to artists everywhere, the Tumbleweed knows what it's like to be misunderstood. Called everything from an invasive weed to an outmoded relic of the Wild West, the Tumbleweed has endured both negative public opinion and simplistic stereotypes as it tumbles through the world. Battered and insulted, street-smart and world-wise, the Tumbleweed rolls on, advocating self-reliance and courage to everyone it meets. With its unmatched intuition and objective distance from the human heart, the Tumbleweed is your ideal confidant and advisor.

I'd like to Ask the Tumbleweed!
(Click on the link above. All submissions are anonymous.)

the Tumbleweed in a lighter moment

October 2004
Dear Tumblin' Tumbleweed,

People keep telling me that I need to go to art galleries around town and look at the art, but it drives me crazy! If I just walk into a gallery for the first time, the people there treat me like a trespasser. If, on a good day, they decide to be friendly and speak to me, I notice that they act like they've never seen me before in their lives if I see them at an art opening.

I've always been under the impression that behavior such as this is just flat-out bad manners. What is your take on this sort of thing? How does one retain respect for someone who is obviously so shallow?

Snubbed in the Sixth Ward
Houston, TX

Dear Snubbed,

Congratulations! Yours is the first question asked of this Tumbleweed! Be proud, pioneer. You will go down in history for this.

Now tell me, why must you "maintain respect" for these people? If they are obviously so shallow like you say they are, why can't you just snub them back and pay attention to the art instead? As far as I know, gallery people are there to sell art and to act aloof — that’s their job! It's not their job to be friendly in fact they won't even let a harmless Tumbleweed in the door!

Poor Snubbed, I feel bad for you. You are so concerned with the gallery people, you can't even think about the art! These people must have some special powers. How else could their silly bad manners explode into a big stinky cloud, hiding the art you came to see? And if they can make the art invisible by ignoring you, maybe they can make you disappear too? The art world seems like a scary place.


Stop being so scared, Snubbed. I have tumbled past many galleries, and these people don't have special powers. They just sit in front of a computer all day (that's probably why they're grumpy). Then you walk in, wanting some affirmation. Why don't these people realize what an important artist you are? Don't they know they're going to want to show your work in their gallery someday? But if they continue to ignore you, that doesn't seem very likely. Maybe that's why you care so much about what they think.

I'm not judging you Snubbed, it's okay to be conflicted and insecure. Everyone has mixed motivations, and everyone wants to be admired and successful — gallery people too! But it's a sad day when your insecurity gives grumpy snobs special powers, and keeps you from looking at the art.

My advice is to go back to those galleries, and look at the art this time. When you walk in, just smile and nod in the general direction of the front desk. Let those gallery people know you're not there to schmooze and be friends. They need to just leave you alone so you can focus on that art!


Time to tumble on,
The Tumbleweed

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