so many voices

So today I drove to Burlington to check out the place I was offered a solo show in June. I knew it was a coffee place and had reservations, but it is the art district and is part of a 'friday art walk' thing. It is a historic building, but I haffta say the minute I walked in I felt complete disappointment.

This is just another challenge I have felt as an artist; that being, do you take whatever you can get if it means some exposure? Can beggars be choosers? Well, there was no question in my mind that I would not feel good about myself or my art if I had a show there. Things were being hung from thin aluminum horizontal poles around a semi rectangular room that was very sparse in tables or chairs. Odd hanging in front of a big window and then 2 or 3 more places near a back door and the side. It was suggested I could hang about 13-14 pieces and I realized I would only be able to get 5 or so up. The bars hung in such a way that I feared my longer pieces would reach hand level for customers at their tables and I didn't like the idea of my work being right in their face.

As always, the question is, do I want to go for the whole juried thing/show thing/ 'name thing' or do I just want to keep plugging away and sell to regular human beings online. This is off the subject a bit but also plays in to the 'exposure game'. See I pretty much decided last year but just recently vociferously barked out " I will NEVER pay to show my work or pay to submit my work again". I say that because I don't mind actually paying some money to be a part of something whereby many artists get together to show work, its when its a juried show and you have to pay a certain fee on top of a fee per submission, like $20 for each image you submit and if they don't choose you, they still happily take your money. Is it insane for me to question that? Like if they don't want me to participate may I have a refund please? I pay to have someone spend a few minutes looking at an image.

So, once again....I will just bow out of it all. I don't need to be the next Damien Hirst. Honest to god I just want to make art and sell it. I don't need bells and whistles...prizes and certificates saying best in show. I thought I did. That's what they have you believe. I don't know who they are but they have confused the hell out of me. Its all such a game sometimes its hard to know what is a good move to make. If I want to play the game and wonder if one day I might 'be somebody' then I would not want to sell the first pieces of certain works I make. I would want to do this and that and the other thing. Its all too much for me. Inflated prices for a piece that was your first if you 'make it', but until then on the low end until your name gets out there. Fiddle faddle. I don't know, I just try to be fair in the time and effort and originality of what I make. One day I'll have an artist from the west coast see my work and scream I should double the price....next day someone else suggests my prices are too high and that would help sales if I lowered them. Then someone tells me if my prices are too low, which they think they are, then no one is going to buy because I'm not taking myself seriously enough. Then you have to keep your prices fixed, galleries don't want to see you selling work for 500 and then raising it to 1,000 once they get it. Commission...etc. etc.

At some point I guess all I can do it follow my heart. A wise person once told me that each piece has its own price and after you make it if you listen it will tell you. When I do that, it feels right.


sue said...

If artists weren't already "struggling and suffering" (as society seems to label them - so is that a hint?) before they became full time artists - they certainly seem to be subjected to a struggle soon enough! Not right. Just as a studio will decide make a "star" so a gallery will tout and decide to MAKE a market for the "newest" big artist. So long as they have plenty of work. Not new thoughts, but good on you to bring up these issues to keep us 9-5 ers humble and appreciative.

Nellie Bass Durand said...

I'm so sorry that venue for your art was a bust. I admire you for bowing out of it ... for demonstrating respect for your work.

We're looking forward to the delivery of your metal sculpture to hang in our own personal gallery. If all goes to plan, that's tomorrow. WooHoo!

dy said...

You have your own show! That is the only thing that counts, use the space any way you can and it will be fantastic! Your work is so awesome it only needs a space, ANY space, and it will do all the talking. Not to worry.