Friday, June 3, 2011

Connections...

People  who know people who know people.  That is the trick.  You don't do it by yourself.  Getting your art known is working the streets, yes, talking about yourself.  If people don't know it is really your fault.
Some of it is simple, you just have to be brazen and get over the embarrassment about self advertising.
When I am asked how I am doing, "How are you, Jerry?" I could respond with the expected "fine", but I never pass up the opportunity to let people know that I am a welder! I am an artist!  "Oh, I am busy! I just came up with this great idea and I am working on a commission!"  Most often people are curious and it is another opportunity to pass out my calling card.
    The strange thing about being an artist is it is not very different from any other profession.  People LIKE busy people, drift toward the positive and are attracted by your success.  It is a conversation stopper to say that nothing is happening, everything is slow, "I'm not doing nothing man!"  That just doesn't attract anything!
Years ago I discovered that I am busiest when I am working, that work begets work and days off beget
 My first gallery pieces!
nothing.
Years ago I was asked why my work wasn't in art galleries and the truth of the matter is I had just never thought about it.  It was not really something I was after.  My work sells out of my shop and I always "did" the Home Shows where I had an audience of upwards of 50,000 in a long weekend.  Galleries can charge 50% commission and I thought I didn't need them.
I did visit some one day out of boredom and a curiosity of what other artists were doing and what surprised me most were the prices!
People like the comfort and reassurance of buying from a gallery.
 My first experience at a local cafe.
Sort of, "it must be art" it was bought in an art gallery!  It was pretty easy to see what art galleries were MISSING.  None of them had interesting tables and pedestals to display their stuff.  I love it when I can go to a client's place and instantly see what I can do to improve it.  It makes my job so easy. The truth is any idiot could have made these tables but it was me who knew they were needed.  I discovered that once you are in a gallery you are IN a gallery and gallery people talk to gallery people and they know people who talk to people and all of a sudden people are talking about you!
   I didn't start with galleries but now I know I could have.  What stopped me was confidence.  I didn't know "those kind of people", didn't know the language, probably didn't have the right shoes!  I started with a little cafe and I was invited to hang my wares on their walls.  This is really a lot easier than you might think.  If it is not a chain, some kind of franchize with rules and regulations then these little cafes like to change their decorations and will be receptive to your art.  There is a little risk involved, the artist has to accept that their work could be damaged or even stolen so you have to weigh that but the exposure could be worth it.  And just to say, "yes, I am an artist, my work is here and here and here" is a bit of an accomplishment in itself.
   Once IN it is easy to jump from place to place, always bigger venues, bigger crowds, more acceptance.
That is when you realize there is such a thing as an "artist's tax" and you can quit working by the hour.
You learn things too, being exposed to the public, having your worked judged, ciritcised by others.  To me the best judge of art is cash.  I may love a piece but if I can't sell it I can't afford to make a better one.  I don't think being in a gallery means you have succumed to the color of the month, doing what is popular, standard and accepted.  If I had thought that I never would have gone there.  My stuff is too weird, never seen before stuff.  I really think it is as simple as convincing someone that they need what you do.
   I am not a painter, although, maybe one day... If that should ever happen I am absolutely bored with square and rectangular paintings!  I think the framing and matting industries have dictated these shapes for too long.  Galleries NEED paintings with wonderful, sexual, exciting shapes!
   When I visit a client or, on rare occasion visit a gallery, what I am on the look out for is when I lose focus.
Art is about direction, line of sight, lighting, color, texture, shape to make you feel, see something, or for a moment, to be something, about fantacy.  Sometimes it is easier to see when this isn't here and then fill that need.
You can get lost HERE

3 comments:

Constance Stanza Extravaganza Extraordinaire said...

"Galleries NEED paintings with wonderful, sexual, exciting shapes!"

Cool!! I have a frame in mind, maybe I will do a painting and email you what I think the frame should look like when it's finished :-)

I used to work with a framer in South Africa who who create amazing artworks according to how I wanted my paintings to be framed - we were an awesome team Jerry and every one of those paintings sold before they left his studio!

All I can get here is Dollar Store crap, even Walmart is a good 3 hours drive away. The local "framer" is a greedy cow who charged me $300 for a mediocre and badly made frame for a painting that is 12" x 16"!!!

Painting with pastel precludes even thinking about hanging my work without a frame and glass. Go figure!

Barbra Joan said...

Jerry, believe it or not I wasn't able to make comments on blogs for this morning... Is it catching.?
well took some of my own medicine so here I am... checking on you 'gallery days' .. nice work ..BJ

AutumnLeaves said...

Gosh Jerry. I just adore your joie de vivre. I consider myself rather asexual (yes, I really do), or at least quite a prude, so sexual is something I don't like in art. But other than that, I do have all kinds of art that I adore. Am I cementing a negative opinion of myself? I hope not!