Sunday, March 04, 2007

the dance of art


Dance 24" x 24"
All work and no play makes Andrea a dull girl, and her blog reflects this.
I don't know who said that, but they were very wise. Meantime, I am one painting away from completing a series I started nearly 10 months ago, so work is all that's on my mind right now (ergo more tedium), and when painting #12 is done it's time for the real hard work: gallery submissions. I decided to do this series first before thinking about marketing, so I wouldn't be pressured by a deadline to produce, unlike my first solo show 18 months ago or the four-artist landscape show this time last year. Of course now that I have the oeuvre, what happens if I can't find the venue?+ My first line of fire is Granville Rise, the place for gallery hopping in Vancouver. Because of its high-rent reputation, the galleries on Granville Street have to field hundreds of artist submissions a month, so I'd better start thinking seriously about Plan B. As I've mentioned before, my work defies a clear-cut niche, but there are a couple of galleries that might work. The trick is to convince them. I'd rather stick needles in my eye.
Avoidance -- that's why I get obsessed with the small art/print thing -- so if denial is the order of the day, then let's get down to it, shall we? Jana responded to my last post with questions, so we'll start there:
Yes! I think they are very marketable. My only suggestion on the prints is that I think you could charge more for them and for the shipping--it seems inexpensive for what one receives. Did you have to order a large number of prints to be able to sell them for so little and still make a profit?
Ay! There's the rub! These are merely two test prints that I deliberately priced low ($18) figuring I'd get more feedback that way and therefore more idea of how to proceed in the future. I will make no actual profit on them. It was $10 just for the printing of a single one (and worth every penny) but there have been no nibbles. This is where the marketing part gets really frustrating. The critical response is great, the work is cheap and accessible, but none of that matters if there are no sales. So I guess my answer to you, Jana, is that yes, I will definitely have to price them a lot higher because I need to recoup something as they are clearly a specialty item that appeals to only a very narrow market.
Through the link you provided I also found your website portfolio and wonderful artist statement for the first time too. I don't know how I'd missed it all this time. I love all of your work and noticed that it's all in a square format, which is great. I'm curious how that came to be?
First of all, I can thank Carla for the artist statement. I am total crap at writing artist's statements but, with not much information, Carla wrote a bio/review more perfect than anything I could ever have come up with myself. As for the square format thing, my response is much like my artist statements: "I dunno" (or sometimes: "D'oh!"). I started painting square format paintings occasionally and then more frequently until I decided to make this whole series square. Does it get any more articulate than that?
I'm considering re-doing and moving my website--did you design yours yourself or use a template and where is yours hosted? Sorry for all the questions instead of just answering yours.
Are you kidding? I got a whole blog post out of them! :)
I use Homestead to host my website, and built it using their software, though I must admit that I have a real hankering to redesign the whole thing as this system really limits my ability to impose my will on my web presence. It was an easy and inexpensive way to get up and running, I can update it in seconds, and I have been able to change and expand as needed, but am finally at the point where I'll have to learn HTML properly if I want to make any major changes.

And finally, here is today's completed painting on our brand-new grown-up table and chairs. It took two decades, but we finally got tired of the chipped, peeling melamine and stained plastic to enter the world of adult furniture - just. I hug it every day.
+Re. venues: I'm only looking at commercial galleries. I love to see what's going on in public spaces as that's where the experimentation is, but (a) I'm a lousy joiner of groups and arts councils (I've been told I'm a disgrace to my gender) and (b) out of necessity, I'm an enthusiastic student of The Bottom Line.

20 Comments:

Blogger Jana Bouc said...

Hey Andrea, What an honor to have my questions answered so gloriously! And I've been trying to purchase the "Bloom" print on Etsy (but when I clicked on "Add to Cart" the first time it gave me a "waiting for Etsy" message and now it just gives me an error message). If it won't work, can you sell it to me directly? I believe that your work belongs in the best galleries and I hope that a plan B won't be necessary.

I looked at your website company and I like that you can upload multiple images using FTP. The others I've looked at limit you to one at a time which would take FOREVER! I designed my website myself (and my non-designerhood shows, I'm afraid) using Dreamweaver and I didn't have to learn much html since it's graphically oriented. I also like that yours offers a purchasing option, which mine doesn't. (Doesn't hurt to be an optimist!).

4/3/07 8:45 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

Well I for one think it was a good idea to do a series first. I good body of consistent work is what a good gallery should be looking for.
As for convincing them.... a gallery should know their clients. So no convincing should be needed only an open and enthusiastic gallery owner.
There are places for your work you just have to let the universe guide you to them and believe.

BTW my husband said to tell you he absolutely loves the piece I bought from you for him.

her look into this gallery
http://www.principlegallery.com/

4/3/07 8:52 PM  
Blogger tlc illustration said...

I can totally relate to the work=dull thing...

BEST, best wishes on your gallerying. Marketing is tough, no matter what (hence, why I finally broke down and got an agent). I don't envy your needed efforts, but your work is so strong and powerful, I'm sure it's just a question of finding the right venue.

4/3/07 11:48 PM  
Blogger Merisi's Vienna For Beginners said...

Andrea,
I love your new painting, filled with so much joyfulness, makes me want to dance!
Your new table & chairs look very adult, indeed. Congratulations (from someone who still kicks herself for having sold her table and chairs when she moved *kickhard*)!
Spring is on its way, Andrea, it has touched down in Vienna, temperaturs this week are going to be in the fifties. Can't be long before it reaches you!
Good luck with the business side of your work.

5/3/07 12:01 AM  
Blogger Cynthia said...

Andrea, your work is wonderful, it will really make an impact when they're all hanging together in a Granville Street gallery! I remember visiting that area while in Vancouver. As to marketing, I broke down and am taking an online art marketing class and just attended an all day art marketing workshop on Saturday. I really need the push to make some leeway there myself.

As to html and web hosts, I use a free site now, but will be doing a new site with Adobe Golive very soon. (I just happen to have it and figure I should learn to use it) I took free online html classes last year and they've been really valuable to me, because now I know the logic behind how things are structured. I can't always remember all the attributes and tags etc. But I know where to find them etc and what they do.

I just found out about a few other print on demand sites that have been recommended, such as lulu.com and blurb.com. These might pertain more to printing brochures or small booklets than art prints, however.

Good luck with everything!

5/3/07 6:42 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

I love this painting!

On prints - I think bigger prints would be better!!!

5/3/07 9:41 AM  
Blogger Homo Escapeons said...

I admire your honesty..
it is a big deal to get 'bigboy' furniture!

You need not worry about imposing your will on the blogosphere...
you already make a big impression on the rest of us.
Where the hell is the sycophantic hyperkinetic AGENT? You need one of those...the nutjob who will be calling you at 4 in the morning with an idea for a show? HUH?
Leave all of that nasty 'money talk' to the pharisees! You need to concentrate and flourish...then and only then will you will finally have enough time to blog, and when you're finished that, then you can do a little painting.

5/3/07 10:44 AM  
Blogger leslyf said...

Interesting post, andrea and a delight to read.

Good luck with the marketing ... you are so right to have done a 'body' of paintings ... that is where I went wrong. My painting mix was too eclectic.

Be sure to keep us posted on how it goes. All the best to you.

5/3/07 4:31 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Jana: I designed my website so long ago now that I'm sure Hometead has some other great options (like the purchasing ones) that I haven't exploited yet. I just wish I could use my favourite downloaded fonts.

Toni: So glad he likes it! Part of my frustration is that my feedback is far better than my sales, but I'm beginning to realize that my work does not appeal to a large market so my expectations are too high. The trick is to find a gallery whose mandate matches my niche... Must check that link out after this.

Tara: My best feedback is from artists, and we are hardly indicative of the wider world. I should probably start accosting the man in the street ... OK, never mind.

Merisi: It's warm here now, too, though wet. It was about 10C today -- not sure how that translates to F. Waitasecond -- you're in EUROPE and I know all European countries function in C. You are clearly "An American in Par -- er -- Vienna." Haven't made the switch yet, eh?

Cynthia: I need a little of your confidence -- i.e. "WHEN they're all hanging together..." You are really good at doing what's necessary to educate yourself. I wish I could say the same but I'm pretty lazy about learning things that I should.

Caroline: I agree -- just need to get someone to bankroll me for the up-front costs...

HE: Thanks for the grin. Unfortunately the pharisees are too smart to line up to sell art/artists. They've given up and are now exploiting them instead (see my Small Art blog for more on that...).

Lesly: I will definitely keep you posted, warts, tears and all. :)

5/3/07 5:05 PM  
Blogger Merisi's Vienna For Beginners said...

Andrea,
I know both systems well, Fahrenheit and Celsius (meaning, I know how the temperatures feel in both *g*). I was of the mistaken opinion that you were using Fahrenheit over there. ;-)
Sunny glorious 15 ° Celsius greetings! :-)

6/3/07 3:28 AM  
Blogger susan said...

nice table and chairs andrea! and am so happy to hear you are at the school of bottom line too!

6/3/07 6:05 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I just looked at this entire series on your website and it's wonderful, Andrea! Have you approached any galleries in Whistler yet? What an energizing show these works would make, hanging side by side!

6/3/07 7:04 AM  
Blogger Shelley said...

Wowsers! Great work. :) Good luck with finding a venue and a sycophantic agent!

6/3/07 9:57 AM  
Blogger Sheri Burhoe said...

Love your new table and chair set - the colors of your walls with the nice white shelves is really nice !

6/3/07 1:40 PM  
Blogger CSL said...

I've had some trouble lately with comments "taling" so I'll try again here: I really like this stuff - both this one and the ones in the previous post. I liove the colors and I like the almost primitive feel. They really are beautiful.

6/3/07 3:12 PM  
Blogger Ces said...

I have left comments here and they disappear. I am starting to get a a complex. Anyway I just wanted to say I love your work.

6/3/07 5:20 PM  
Blogger Philip said...

Your work is of the highest quality and I do hope that you can find the right gallery.

7/3/07 8:21 AM  
Blogger beadbabe49 said...

(I've been told I'm a disgrace to my gender)

then you must be doing something right!

There's no short cut to finding a good gallery fit...you have to pound the pavement until you find one(s) that you would love to see your work in (and that it fits in)...luckily you have a very large and gorgeous city to explore. I know that also means the competition is tougher, but your work is good and will be a great addition to the right galleries.

7/3/07 10:23 AM  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Not that you needed to improve, but you are getting better and better. Or, maybe, I'm becoming more and more receptive to your art?

Bigger, in this case, is better, I would venture.

8/3/07 12:13 PM  
Blogger Bibi said...

Hi Andrea,

I've been travelling in Europe for the past 5 weeks (part work/mostly pleasure) and loved your quote at the top of this piece.

I work long hours and was feeling stuck on remote before I left, but allowing myself a lot of space to move out of my usual routine has done wonders to renew the spirit.

Hmmm maybe I'll blog on that!

9/3/07 5:08 AM  

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