I am tempted, in this blog, to tell you about Dr. Chris Barlow- the brains behind Parallax Art Fair but being a positive, optimistic person I will give him the benefit of the doubt, as I’m sure he is an honorable person. I will come back to him, as I’m sure he will come back to me …..later!!
For now I will ponder my week and share some experience.
An interesting ‘critique’ at my local art group from an experienced London-gallery- represented artist, who informed us that London galleries in general are not doing well and in her opinion are going bust ‘left, right and centre’. Times are hard for artists and galleries- what is the answer?
Obviously Sotherby’s and Christies continue, without pausing for breath, selling ‘art’ as a commodity and a great investment.
But what about the rest of us who don’t have the Saatchi or Gagosian seal of approval and would just like to continue doing what we love?
Well, art fairs are great fun and can put you in front of a receptive audience if you choose the right one. If you can share the cost and make a few sales – ideally without using the organizers credit card machine, which immediately makes you vulnerable to the whims of business men, then all good. Of course not many people go shopping at those places without a credit card so my advise is, read the organizer’s small print, ask questions about VAT and make sure the customer gives you a copy of the credit card receipt before you hand over your work.
My sales, one year into becoming a professional artist, still come mainly from friends and friends of friends. The people that know my story and relate to it. When I say friends, these are not just people in my vicinity, although they have been great, these are friends I’ve made online, built relationships with through Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, my blog & my website ( www.lisatimmerman.com )
In one way it’s ideal for an artist as it fill a gap in an essentially solitary existence. In another way, I have to be disciplined with it, as painting has to be the main focus and I’m easily distracted! It’s a wonderful would of ‘ You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’, a million evolutions away from ‘The Apprentice’ style of business and ‘Thatchers Britain’, the one I grew up in. And one where, as an artist, you have total control. It works.
It takes time to build up relationships online but is rewarding on so many levels. I have genuine warmth and affection for these people around the world, who I may never actually meet but who’s encouragement brings a smile to my face on a regular basis- thank you so much!
I’ve posted the painting I took along to the artist’s critique at my local art group. The London-gallery-represented artist doing the critique took the ‘critic’ a little too seriously and slated most of the work put in front of her. Fortunately, my painting was towards the end when she was running out of time and she simply said she liked it. She did add though that I could have come up with a more interesting title! She’s right- but ‘Apple Blossom’ says and infers it all for me. Suggestions for another title would be most welcome!