Thursday, June 28, 2007
Blondheim Art Original Paintings
casein on panel
See my paintings HERE
Direction of career continued...
Yesterday I wrote about the joys of being an amateur painter. Now I'm going to write a bit about professionalism and what it really takes to survive as an artist.
Before I get into the meat of that topic, I must tell you about my experience yesterday. I drove to another city to deliver paintings to a new gallery on the coast. It is a very nice, tiny space in a series of shops one block from the beach. Very charming and nicely situated. The owner of the gallery is very nice and approachable. Two other artists came in while I was there and we all stood in a group to talk about the gallery and possibilities for it.
All was going along nicely until one of the painters said to the owner, " I must see the work of the other artists before I will be willing to show my work here. I don't show my work with artists who's works are inferior". Frankly, I was shocked and dismayed by this attitude. The artist turned to me and said "Don't you agree?" I said "No, I never worry about that kind of thing at all. My work will stand for itself where ever I show it, either looking good or poor depending on who I show it with. I'm here to sell paintings." The third artist spoke up in support for my statement. It was a very awkward moment and made all of us very uncomfortable, including the gallery owner. The irony is that the artist who made this statement is not a well known artist with huge credentials. Sometimes we let our hubris get in the way of our good manners. This artist is not alone, we all let our false pride make fools of ourselves. I have from time to time, but I am learning.
Being a professional artist is not about glamour at all. it is about long hours, a lot of struggle and a roller coaster of up and down sales. Just about the time you think you have it made and your work is selling like hotcakes, the market falls like an elevator with cables cut.
A professional artist must paint everyday in order to keep their skill set up, must research painting and learn about painting constantly. For us, there is no option to say "I don't feel like painting". There is no such thing as waiting for inspiration.
We must market constantly, through our web sites, our galleries and our studios. We often teach to supplement our incomes. Fortunately, I love teaching , so that is not a sacrifice. Teaching gives me discipline, because I must learn a lot to teach well. That translates into better paintings for me.
Then there is the everyday studio management of ordering and unpacking frames, art supplies, storage, correspondence with many many artists, gallery dealers and patrons, travels to exhibitions and workshops.
I could go on for lengthy posts about this job. It is not the image people have of sitting around and painting what you love all day. That is only part of the job.
Yes, there are the lucky few who make it big in the art world, who have many assistants and an array of famous and wealthy clients who allow them to sit around and paint what they love all day. Those are few. Most of us work like dogs 12-18 hours a day 7 days a week while managing a family too.
But, no matter how hard or gut clenching this business is, I'd rather do this than anything else in the world.
Tomorrow, thoughts on the kind of person who is most likely to succeed as a pro.......