Monday, May 17, 2010

Time for tough decisions and new directions

Although I did go to school for art, I'm really sort-of self taught. I never learned, or took the time to take classes about galleries and museums, residencies, grants, etc.

For the past few years, I've tried everything I could think of to make art, get it out into the marketplace and sell it.

From day one, I got a lot of input from all sorts of resources... some of it good, some questionable, some took me off into different directions - enough to make you crazy! I asked for some advice, didn't ask for most of it.

When you see the list below, you'll see I use the word "paint," let that cover painting, cutting paper, mosaic...everything I do. 

Some of the messages I got were:

  • anyone can paint, do something different
    • no one can paint like you
  • make art as fast as you can so you can sell it at art festivals
    • don't sell at art festivals, you'll never get into galleries
  • your prices are too low
    • your prices are too high
      • you're not famous enough to get those prices
  • paint celebrities
    • "if you paint Jackie O, my gallery will sell it immediately" [not!]
      • "if you paint Marilyn Monroe, my gallery will sell it immediately" [not]
        • paint the Beatles, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Lady Gaga...
    • conversely, don't paint celebrities, you'll have copyright issues
  • paint Oprah, Ellen, Tyra and give it to them - they'll put you on TV
    • don't paint Oprah, Ellen, etc... if they didn't ask for it, it has no value.
  • spend an equal amount of time marketing yourself as making art
    • don't market yourself, that's the gallery's job
      • don't promote yourself, you're supposed to be discovered!
        • get a PR agent
  • put your subjects in rooms
    • do watercolors instead
      • paint dogs
        • paint landscapes
          • paint flowers
            • do abstracts
              • don't do figurative work
  • get into galleries
    • don't sell in galleries
  • your goal should be to be in museums
    • don't waste your time trying to get into museums
  • get a rep
    • don't get a rep
  • you want to be in New York
    • you can't break into New York
  • you're too old
    • you're never too old to be an emerging artist
  • you're not supposed to make art to sell it, you're supposed to make a statement
    • you're allowed to want to make a living as an artist
      • no one except a RARE few make a living as an artist
        • you'll be famous when you're dead
  • make art that speaks to social commentary
    • do what you like
      • do what sells
        • your art is awesome
          • your images are just "pretty pictures"
  • you're conceited
    • you're shy
      • why are you self-depricating?
  • only do custom portraits
    • don't do custom portraits, your clients will make you crazy
  • join art groups and alliances
  • give your work away at charity events
    • don't give your work away, it diminishes the value of your work in other collections
  • You should teach workshops
    • why would you share your technique with anyone?
  • Your art is GREEN - the green community will support you! 
    • who cares if your work is GREEN?
How's that for a lot of noise?

I'm not criticizing ANYONE for their input. It was all good and necessary to hear. I'm in a good place... so NOW...

I'm taking the summer to create a new body of work.

You know how some songs help you get through a hard time...or remind you of when you were falling in love? You know how you have your favorite pissed off song, your favorite holiday song? My new collection will reflect the connection between a song and an emotion. This time, not just pretty pictures. Stay tuned to see more.

I've put together a plan - on paper - for the next year. In order to reach my goals, I'm getting some help. My delightful husband will be taking on some of the tasks I've been doing so I can spend more time in the studio. 

I look forward to hearing from you when you see my new work!