Thursday, November 3, 2011

Overdue Answers on Art Show Adventures

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

A while back, Ken asked which pieces of work sold in the recent art shows and here I am finally getting around to the answer. Ken has probably forgotten why he cared to ask, but he is going to get an answer—just not all in one post.

The piece above pre-sold the second show. (I had a couple of prints displayed at the venue as a preview of the show.) Printed on metallic paper, that background was a shimmering gold and made for a piece that was eye-catching. During the first show, I sold two pieces and I could have sworn that I had already posted one of them, "Blue Horse Dreaming"; but, I was dead wrong. The third piece is very new. I will post both of those over the next few days.

About the same time Ken asked his question, PJ asked if I planned to write a bit more about my experience with art shows. Frankly, I hadn't planned to since my experience is extremely limited. But, I have no pride. I will reveal how little I know. I have not pursued juried shows, nor have I submitted to prestigious galleries. Mostly because I am a hard-core realist and recognize that my work doesn't exactly fall in line with what is hot these days. (And maybe because I am chicken.) My work  embodies the opposite of edgy and I have visited enough of the galleries in Los Angeles to see that my work does not come close to fitting in any of those venues. Although they might be the logical market for me, the type of outdoor art shows often done in parks would be far too rigorous an undertaking for me. The galleries in the nearest town are really co-ops. The artists pay for their space along with a commission to the gallery owners.

Both my partner and I felt that the gallery/co-ops weren't our cup of tea. My problem is that the bottom line costs pretty much go through the roof with that arrangement. Most of all, I know myself well enough to know that the predictability of First Friday every month would become routine for me and wear thin. Being in the same place month after month would cease to be fun and stimulating for me. Yes, I am undisciplined in some matters; but, at least,I have learned to face my quirks and work with them.

Although we weren't interested in pursuing the other local opportunities,  neither did the once-a-year Cultural Arts Spring Art Show satisfy our appetites. Ultimately, we decided to make our own opportunities. I am okay with having sold three pieces in three days of shows. My prices are reasonable (I think), but I definitely don't sell myself short. I figure my costs—minus labor, unfortunately, then multiply for a mark-up. I love sharing my work and want it to be accessible; but I am not going to pay people to take my work home with them.

As I had already mentioned, our operation is unsophisticated and not a high profit venture. Hmm. Sounds like me. I have never been in a high-profit business and unsophisticated certainly fits me, as well as the area we live in. In another location, I might do things differently. Who knows? So far, our venture has turned out well. Our "What's-next situation?" suits me. At least for now.


  1. First, let me say that this photo is something I would purchase at a show myself. I'm not looking for "edgy" either but I appreciate good composition and storytelling printed and displayed well.

    It's great you found a venue that works for you and it's something that doesn't apply so much pressure and obligations that can make it unbearable. I've seen some really nice work at small shows that seem to pop up out of nowhere, mostly by local artists. There is so much talent in the world and it can be found in some unexpected places.

  2. Ken—I appreciate your kind words. Validation from people with good taste is always welcome.

    I am pleased with our arrangement and slowly getting ready for the December show. While I admit that I have a low tolerance for routine, I am happy to be at the same venue this time and have a shorter list of unanswered questions.

  3. A very nice piece. And as long as what you are doing works for you, that's what matters!

  4. JP—Thank you for your comment. I would make myself crazy if I thought I had to second guess what others might like. That sounds like work, not passion. Fortunately since this isn't a business for me, I can stay with passion.

  5. I'm not in the least surprised this peace sold and I can imagine it would be truely striking on metallic paper.

    As for edgy galleries, I've visited and walked through a number of them and in many cases I come away wondering who would buy most of the exhibits. Some of them push my definition of "art" but then I readily acknowledge that's all about me and not the pieces themselves. Still, I'm not one to be pushed much off center by what's "hot" at the moment and at this stage in my life feel only the need to please my own taste.

    ...And your arrangement and beautiful work is much more in line with that endeavor.

  6. Earl—You must have visited the same galleries that I did. ;-) I have seen a few exhibits in Los Angeles that were inspiring, but a lot of things that left me cold. I am more than willing to admit that my tastes are old-fashioned, at best.

    Just as in the case of the co-op galleries here, many of the venues where I saw
    work that moved me were run by artists putting themselves on the line. They rent a building and put up their own money to sell their work. Perhaps if I could shave off a decade or two of wear and tear that would be tempting. Instead, I will leave it to the stronger set.

    I am glad you think this piece seems marketable. I know I plan to order another copy, because I never had time to enjoy it in completed form. Boy, am I enorored of this metallic paper.

  7. A terrific print. I am most interested in your comments too. I took the opposite route and went into galleries first, but sometimes that's been like banging my head on a wall because like you, I'm not exactly edgy material, nor do I have the stamina or desire to be so. I like my little quiet country life making art. Now I'm making a transition away from galleries and trying to find a new way. It's a little daunting!

  8. Roberta—I am delighted that you like this one.

    Perhaps we country girls will need to make up our own rules about how to do these things ;-) Approximately once a day, I wake with a jolt and think, "Where is this going? What the heck have I gotten into?" I have yet to get an answer. Oh, well, it is better than waiting. We may burn out—or burn through what little audience there is in our small community in no time at all. I plan only to make the most of the ride as long as it lasts. I know that the energy expended is producing massive amounts of creative energy and that alone makes this worth while for now.

    I look forward to reading your posts about solutions you explore. I am certain that your gallery experience will prove invaluable.

  9. I love that image, Anita. This is you, how you see. Love it!

  10. Ove—What a nice comment. I agree that this image very much reflects the way I see my world. Thank you for putting this into words for me.


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