It’s been a another busy week or two, and whilst my creative output has been high, actual paintings completed has been zero. C’est la vie and the long term results will hopefully prove to be worth the effort.
Being a self-representing and fairly unknown artist ultimately puts me in the position of any other business, without the staff to help. An artist is production, marketing, sales, distribution and accounts departments all rolled into one, and all of these roles compete for time, and demand creative energy. This week has been a case in point, with much of the time spent putting an event together, designing publicity and point of sale materials, and writing a press release. I also designed publicity leaflets for Linda and Simon, my fellow KIAC artists displaying at the venue. Another interesting experience which drew heavily on my copy-writing skills in order to try and encapsulate their practice – ask Simon to sum up his work and he’ll smile shyly and stick his nose back into his beer :).These have all been to go along with the display in the Wig & Pen, and to publicize a launch event of the artwork at the restaurant. It seems that whilst feedback from people has been fantastic, few have realised that the work is for sale. This is, presumably, the downside to the careful placing of work in harmony with it’s environment – the installation has been too subtle, and out of the context of a gallery setting people have identified the work as part of the interior decor. To address this we held a ‘Meet the Artists’ event in the restaurant, bringing additional works for easel and freestanding display, and heavily publicizing the event through the press, social media, leafleting and word of mouth.
Sadly, the event could hardly be described as an unqualified success, but it was an interesting experience. We started at 6pm, with a reasonable though not large after work crowd in the pub, and went round explaining why there were paintings and sculpture all over the place, handing out leaflets, and trying to engage people. The additional visitors we’d invited started to turn up about 6.30, but this being a weekday, many were unable to come. I did get some very useful feedback, and specific expressions of interest in two of my pieces – ‘Icons’ once again standing out as the piece that has the added wow factor for people, and ‘The imposition of conformity’ also attracting a good deal of interest – see them both on my gallery 2012 page. I also got the opportunity to discuss my work with non-artists, which was very useful. On the down side, sales were zero and the numbers of people in attendance low. I feel that this is an inevitable consequence of holding an art event in a non-traditional environment, and also a sign of the increasingly straightened economic reality we all face. Clearly people like to see the work in the restaurant, but the out of context situation makes it harder to engage them about the work, as that is not why they have come to the venue.
Overall I remain very positive about the placing of the work in the Wig & Pen however, despite these limitations. Having ten paintings on semi-permanent display can only be a good thing, and it’s clear that people do appreciate the work. With my business head on, I have learned a lot from the event, and despite the weeks that it and the associated activity connected to the display have taken, feel that the effort is worth the hiatus in production that it has cost. I shall be spending the rest of the week curating a new show, featuring Linda Miatt-Wassell’s work at gage, our gallery at KIAC http://www.kiac-sheffield.org/ . This will be the third show I have curated this year, and once again it’s non-productive activity that is entirely worth it. Partly this is because I love Linda’s work, and it is a joy to set out. The event also helps to publicize and attract attention to what we are doing at KIAC, and bring more art-lovers to the gallery, which is slowly becoming better known.
I leave you with a recently completed piece, one of the ones I took to the Wig & pen in the hope that I would get some feedback about the new work in relation to the Industrial series. This is entitled ‘Which way now’ and hopefully speaks for itself.