5/27/08

mpg on encouragement/interest

How far do you go on encouragement or interest? Does it depend on who gives it? When you get it? How often? I've noticed that the encouragement/interest thing has changed in these 3+ years I've been making art. When I first started I only knew two people in Vermont. I had just met them. Just landed here. Didn't know what I would be doing in the art scene.

I naturally went towards working on railroad tie plates that were discarded half a block away from my studio apartment. Tried to get the yocal local art association interested in my four pieces and drew a blank look from the lady running it. She let me put up a photograph in the city hall show but no plates. It fit boringly well into the usual oil paintings and photographs.

I got encouragement from the two people I knew though and kept going. It was nice that someone give me a reality check about whether this was interesting or crap. I was paying more attention to my excitement and love of it though and just kept collecting those plates.

There have been plenty of times since then that getting encouragement from people I know has kept the flame going. Plenty of times I was totally self driven and could give a hoot what anyone thought. Since the job thing has curtailed my time and energy towards making art this year I've not put as much new work out there. I only have one piece in the local gallery and three mixed media + four clocks in the other one. I wonder if the romance is dead now at the gallery I've been in for 2+ years. They used to seem so interested in what I was doing and gave me lots of feedback on what people were saying. I have to admit it did me good. Lots of good. Maybe it is my lack of having as much new work to bring in. I'm not going to the openings anymore either because no one bothers introducing me and I feel invisible, always seems like the same crowd, the same star artists with their little hives surrounding them. I've never fit in.

I have gotten feedback already from the newer gallery I am in. Lets hope so right? I mean if I put work in there and never heard anything that would suck. It's been encouraging to know that people see the work and notice it. The owner of the gallery sent us artists a link to a NY Gallery that takes online submissions from emerging artists; I was told that one of the guys on the board of said gallery came in and was interested in my work, that was very cool to hear. Last Friday I uploaded my pictures and info, hoping maybe I can slip into a tiny crack there. At this point I expect to be denied, you have to pay your dues and keep submitting over and over for years don't you? (half said sarcastically). I also expect something to happen soon. SOMETHING. The scraps of encouragement I get keep me fed. I don't have the social net that I think a lot of people have, don't have the family thing, the decades of friends, the community that knows me. I still get most of my encouragement and feedback from the few blog readers that aren't afraid to leave comments. I have some lurkers too, I count them when I'm feeling alone.

Tod remains my biggest supporter. Sometimes I think he has more faith and belief in me that I do. Yeah lately I have been talking strong, speaking with some new found strength, but that doesn't mean I'm rolling around with glee. The last few days I've hit a wall again. I get it that this is normal, it is my process. I flow and I choke. It doesn't help that we have had someone here at the house for over a month and it is starting to feel really small and tight in our space. I'm starting to think I need a new studio space where I can have privacy and space to just BE. I need a new artery, a way for the art to flow out of my studio and into the world on a more regular basis. I need to make more art too for that to happen, but I need to see it going somewhere to get me jazzed. It is a catch 22. I think it is why I've enjoyed working on the clocks so much, they are the only pieces that sell online. WHY DON'T PEOPLE BUY MY MIXED MEDIA ONLINE???? Anyhow. Them and this new furniture stuff I'm working on for tod and me to enjoy is where the oomph is. When I have it. And just as I write about something, everything changes. So there ya have it. This is today, this is now. It will all change tomorrow.

15 comments:

Kim Hambric said...

Don't you feel that mixed-media scares people? Perhaps if they see it, they might get it. But to purchase it online . . . well, anything might jump out of that box.

Where I live (central PA), murky and dull landscapes sell like hotcakes. The "art scene" revolves around a small handful of these painters.

Somewhere in these parts is an artist who used to do amazing fibrous art books and other tactile mixed-media pieces. She also does murky landscapes. Guess what sells!

How do we make others more adventurous? How many damn murky landscapes can one have?

self taught artist said...

you might be right kim ~ though i did have an online friend buy a mixed media piece last year via online and she loved it even more in person. who knows, i try to make it easy with free shiping and a 5 day return option and no strange things jumping out :)
oh god tell me about it, the murky pallet thing is huge here too. the same landscapes, barns, cows, roosters and dogs. thats why i thought online, people from sunny areas, would be likely to try buying something online.
maybe i can find a market with earthship owners.....earthship art.

StellaD said...

Nice to see someone else is on a creative roll. You seem to be talking from inside my head...all the things you say here are what I'm often thinking. The art scene here seems equally dismal...people only seem to want portraits. D'ya think I could sell some of my murky landscapes up there in Vermont?? Keep the flow going and count me among your supporters.

Oh, and I love the horse! What a find!

self taught artist said...

stellad, i'm putting a moratorium on murky landscapes entering and leaving the state soon, so bes git up here soon :) and if you start selling them come videotape my head exploding.
thanks for being a supporter!!!

Daphne said...

Where I live contemporary art actually seems to sell fairly well. The annoying part is it's the political and or squeaky wheel type artists who manage to get their work out there the most...what's wrong with working selling based on skill rather than hype?

San said...

You do sound pumped. And I'm glad to hear it. Digital pictures never do justice to mixed media work. Even my paintings, which are pretty tame, lose their texture, their oomph, in digitals. When I do sell one online (rare), it's to someone who has seen my work in person in the gallery, or at least to someone who has been in the gallery. I'll reiterate: that you've sold so many pieces online is very impressive. The clocks may go over better because people like the functionality rolled into the art. I dunno.

So, are you and Daphne going to look into a Chicago installation? My husband's cousin is a photographer there. We love to find excuses to visit him. It's a great city.

Karen said...

Here in Chicago, Mixed media is everywhere. It has even shown up in my suburban library shows. I know how frustrated you must feel trying to get exposure in a quaint vermont place where murky landscapes abound.
If you do an installation here I will be one of the first in line to check it out!

Daphne said...

Hi Paula. Maybe San's cousin can find us the right gallery in Chicago!

And maybe I should just start working intensely so that we CAN get something going. At least proposals to galleries don't require work to be completed during the application process...

self taught artist said...

i will stay open to anything (i'm from illinois and tired of it but i'll stay open) I'll stay open even though i'm trying to get represented on the east coast where i can maybe afford to drive since i'm already here(if I ever get my car stuff done so i can drive) I'll stay open i promise!

self taught artist said...

thanks karen!

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Paula, mixed media doesn't do well in our galleries, there has been some beautiful pieces come through, next time we do get some in I could email you some pics if you like, ya know what sells well here?, you guessed it, murky landscape paintings, or animal paintings, especially horses.

It's good Tod is giving you great support, it is so important to have a significant other there for you, In my humble opinion, your stuff would be some of the best we have had in our galleries.

peggy said...

The Southwest Wisconsin version of murcky landscapes are sunny watercolours of the Mississippi River Valley. Every artist and their brother, it seems, paints the same view of the river, the riverboats, the rolling hils, etc., while contemprorary art struggles to arise (sigh). It's the same in many places but it's always refreshing to know that none of us are alone in our frustration. Thanks for giving voice to art that doesn't necessarliy match the sofa.

I'm one of those lurkers (not anymore, I guess) that enjoy your words and work. I'm not comfortable (or used to) writing for the world to see but I admire and appreciate those who do. Keep writing - and creating!

San's remark regarding the functionality of your clocks may be true. I'm drawn to the geometric abtraction of the design and the textures and colouring of the materials. You do a fine job of bringing those elements together. A few that have captured my eye have areadly sold but I'm keeping a lookout for the next one that speaks to me.

self taught artist said...

bob johnson i would LOVE to see what you guys have in your place next time you get mixed media. thankx too for your compliments. and lurker, i mean peggy, thanks for showing you exist! thanks for sharing whats it is like in the midwest and thanks for the clock boost!

The Minimalist said...

I too think your clocks sell because they are functional. I personally love metal though and have bought a lot of spirals and old fence parts and used them to decorate my townhouse in Portland, Oregon. I love your work because it seems quite American Gothic.

Bob Johnson said...

I'll keep you in mind when we get some stuff in.