Okay David, I have been naughty not writing for a while, but it has been so busy and I have used face book for quick updates etc. However, it has been an exciting and varied few weeks where I am still learning and experiencing what an artist has to do to make ends meet as it were. I am fortunate in that I have some money coming in from my teaching days and few debts so selling work should not be a priority, I should be doing my art for art’s sake? This is one of many conversations I have had over the weeks, and even years, about the role of an artist: should we suffer and go without for our art or make a living doing whatever to allow us to do our art or go out to make a financial success because of our art? Being a commercial success, that is selling work regularly, has to be fulfilling and a recognition for what we do as artists. I could do lots of good paintings but never sell one and that, I believe, would eventually grind me down and make me depressed and put an end to my working as an artist. Selling work gives one a real lift which can last a long time, a reassurance of the hours put in. At the Ovada last night there were 25 artists chosen for the 6 Counties Open but no work was for sale, but it was still a sales opportunity, a shop window in a way, a chance for the public to see the work of artists, take down their particulars and contact them if need be. Hopefully sales will come from that interest. However, some pieces were not really purchasable, like the performance art or the floor pieces even though they were excellent in their own right, honest and exploring interesting concepts. So why do artists do that? It is such a question and as someone whose degree show was just that, a room of broken windows and glass, I had to move on to make a living as very few artists make a living doing such work, although they are the ones that the public and media get a hold of and become the stereotype artist, weird, other-worldly, not understood etc. Please discuss! Had a conversation about whether a painting conveys the personality of the painter and can an art work show the gender, age, cultural background of the artist. All conversations I do not get alone in my studio but good to discuss over an apple juice.
So I have been showing my work at small art festivals in small towns, selling a small number of prints and paintings to a small number of the public. But it feels good. I have also been working on a mural, doing workshops, giving talks about my work and laying a patio for daughter #1. My studio has been given a clean and space created where I never realised there was space. Everything has been hidden in cupboards in the house until after the Art Weeks when the canvasses, portfolios, boxes and equipment will return to devour the walls and floors once again. I have also been contacting galleries in London and 3 have shown an interest and asked for details, images etc. Where this will lead I do not know but it is time consuming sending the applications off and writing my ‘artist’ CV, something I had not done and I had to recall all the exhibitions etc I had taken part in over the last 5 years or more. So showing at the RWA and other larger galleries, while not selling, become important for the CV and give credibility to ones role as an artist. I have been exhibiting at art festivals and the logistics of doing this is also time consuming. Taking work then collecting the unsold work takes a toll in many different ways, although I have been fortunate and sold at every show so far. This brings up another question; how much to sell ones work for. Some places people will not take £400 with them and/or expect to buy art for £15. So I have accommodated them by making posters of my work for £10 and getting 1000 greeting Cards made selling at £2 each; is this selling my art-soul? (That sounds wrong, but you know what I mean.) But people buy them and this leads some of them to buy a limited edition giclee print for £70 and to visit the studio to see other work, hence why I do Art Weeks, to get known,to be open and available, to be seen and to sell. There is more to being an artist than just painting or making and it is something I was told last night is still not being taught in art colleges!
I have had so many good conversations over the weeks, none more so than last night but will not go into them now as I have to go out and put up directional signs for the public to visit my studio, (hopefully they will not get taken down again). I feel things are moving in the right direction but need to get on with some more work. I have done 3 canvasses for this week but put them away feeling they were not resolved. I had rushed them for the show and that is not the way to create anything, it should be done with a desire not a need. But that is another conversation for another time