I promised I’d write something about living the artist life without the support of a gallery. There are all kinds of reasons not to have a gallery, but if your reason is that you don’t think you should have to share “your” money with anyone else, you might think about the fact that there is no one else to share the work and expenses, either.
I know any number of artists who do very well selling there work through art fairs and self produced shows. Some of them live in areas that just don’t have the wealth of galleries that we have around here. Some of them feel that they are the best informed sellers of their work, and they enjoy talking to people about the process they go through to create their work. They also recognize that a good chunk of their time and money is spent packing, hauling, driving, hauling, and unpacking their work all over the place. And what do they have when a sudden bout of bad weather, at what is usually a great show for them? Wet art, a sore back, and no revenue for the weekend (but all the bills…)
I guess I’m sounding a little negative about life outside the gallery system. The truth is that these days you need to do all of some of the above in order to survive and not put all your eggs in one unstable basket. (I myself prefer to have a number of unstable baskets, and I still end up with egg on my face sometimes.) While I mostly work with galleries to sell my art, I have an annual studio show and produce a biannual print, painting and sculpture show. Doing these events brings me face to face with people who know and like my art, and also give me an appreciation of all that my galleries do for me.
It all goes back to that pesky goal thing again. If your goal is to just make art, and not expect it to earn you a living, a studio party once a year where your loyal friends will acquire a piece of your art may be just the ticket. Maybe you have a job you really like and it pays all the bills. You have the luxury to work how and when you please, and maybe just doing the work is enough for you. The tricky bit there is, how do you make a commitment to your work and take it seriously? I think that once you really think about what your intention is towards making art, it becomes more clear. People ask me what motivates me to go into the studio every morning and the real answer is, “my mortgage, heat, food, gas, and cat food.” I believe I would do it anyway, but who knows? Maybe I’d just lie around and eat bon-bons all day.
So take the first step, and the rest should follow.
Keep those brushes moving, (and the bon-bons coming)
Coming soon! updates on “Exuberance” and a page of recent, available work (and where to find it)!