Friday, August 6, 2010

Emerging artist walked into Gallery today and unrolled his canvas

As a gallery owner, I am often amazed that artists don't realize that they are each a brand, and as such, must carefully represent themselves and know their target audience.

Today, a young emerging artist came into the gallery and unrolled his canvas. It was his only painting (he had had 2 other pieces that he sold on the street). He was fully prepared for me to say that I loved this unstretched (very large canvas - size was TBD because he had not measured it) and wanted to put it immediately on the wall! This however was not the case.

I asked him to tell me about his vision for the work, how he created it and what his intent was for the viewer. He could not initially verbalize any of this, but over time (and a conversation similar to pulling teeth), I learned that he painted the canvas in one day, outside a park in NY...he was inspired by the movement around him, the noises coming from the park, the changes in the sunlight throughout the day. Though he worked in Acrylic, he poured lots of water onto the canvas to give it a washed out much so that at the end of his day (at 2am) as he rolled up his canvas it was still wet. He had painted another piece in Central Park which had a totally different look and feel (I saw this piece on a 1 x 3 business card).

He told me he thought he could continue to sell his work on the street, but it was too much of a hassle...or that maybe he should just open up a gallery of only his work (I mentioned overhead, insurance, ways to build traffic and more)

I told him to come back to me when he had a series of pieces (at least 3-5) and more of an artistic focus for his work and a vision statement about who he is as an artist.

We would all love the business of art to be simple...just create it and they will buy.

However the reality for both the artist and the gallery owner, is it continues to be a done for love and passion...and must be taken seriously by all involved. As an artist, be sure you know who you are as a brand, what makes you/your work/your vision unique, and most of all, be able to communicate that when asked.