(A note of caution, my husband says I am whining. I say this is my art life and it is what I am thinking about.)
One of the things I really like about working in the Ashland Art Center is being in community with other artists. Another thing I like is meeting and talking to the visitors who come through, especially if the visitors take the time to see and experience my work. An Artist’s life usually means lots of hours spent alone in the studio. I do get plenty of time alone working in my home studio. This time is important and essential to my process. So, it is nice to visit with people who come through the Center. It is the one thing I liked about doing art fairs and the one thing I miss about doing art fairs is talking to and meeting the people who buy my work. When I am at the Art Center I work on projects like making books or drawing that I can do while people are watching and walking in and out.
This summer has been particularly slow for me with regard to visitors and sales at the Art Center. This creates all kinds of worry for me. I worry that I have saturated the market with my work. I worry that people don’t like my work anymore. I worry that people are buying on the internet and not in person. I worry that I have too much art work that hasn’t sold. The Art Center is unique in that you can look at art and you can talk to the artists who are working. You can see works in process. You can do this 10:00 to 6:00 everyday. I try to make my studio space comfortable and calm, a nice place to visit and to be. I like being off the beaten path, but there are lots of people who don’t make it all the way to Studio #1 because it is far from the front door and out of the way. People have to go through a lot of other art and mirrors to get to me. I try different things to make my space more attractive. I rearrange the furniture. I rearrange the art. I bring in new work. I have made new signs. Maybe sales are slow because it is hot outside. Who wants to be out and about when it is this hot? Thankfully it is nice and cool in the Art Center. I wonder, is it me? Is it the weather? Is it the Center? What can I do differently? Where is everybody? Is it time for a change? Last week while I was working in Studio #1 and pondering all of this I had a visitor from Washington state. We connected right away, in fact I felt a genuine kinship with her. As promised she returned with her husband and three lovely friends who I also felt a genuine and strong connection to. Her husband has just begun learning about and doing mono printing. There is nothing I like more than talking about the process and magic of mono printing. Even if they hadn’t bought several handmade books and several original works of art from me, I was happy to meet them all and now call them friends. I am grateful for their generosity of spirit in taking the time with me and my art. Thank you friends. Making connections with people who enjoy my work whether they buy from me or not restores my sense of purpose and well being and reminds me (especially during slow times) that what I am doing is important on many levels. When I go through dry spells it is amazing how quickly I can adopt the way of the worrier. I guess I need to make a connection with people. My artwork also needs to make a connection. In the past month I have asked myself “would I still make art if I never sold anything”? I say yes because it is my conversation with my self and the universe.The images and the stories they tell are gifts for me and for others who take the time to see. I do like sharing my art. And the fact is, I love art making. I love the conversation. Thank you to all of you who have supported me and my work. I am grateful for every sale no matter how small and I am grateful for everyone who has taken the time to see my art and strike up a conversation.
Could have written that myself, Denise. As my experience of late has mirrored yours. There seems to be a lack of being “settled” with folks and that makes it hard to grab their attention. Either that or the poor art teaching is finally catching up and folks do not know how to look or haven’t given themselves the permission to. I have struggled this past year like never before with selling my creations. Not really sure what it means….I asked myself all the same questions. Just know you are not alone. I will not stop creating because of it and take it as a challenge. I don’t do “trends” so they will just have to catch up with me and I will have to do better and pray more for clarity.
Please keep on making your gorgeous work. I love seeing, buying and making art with you….either in person or by osmosis.
An artist’s life can be full of alone time and doubts and creativity and bliss.
Keep on keeping on,
Denise, no one could ever get tired of your artwork! I wish I had seen your monoprint class earlier, before I accepted another invitation on the same date. I am so inspired by your printing process. It would be a real pleasure to take a class from you. Please let me know if you’ll do another in September or October.
Denise- I liked reading about your presentation ainvited by We’Moon, and about the workshop at Wendy Orville’s. You are getting yourself out there in the Pacific Northwest as a current, prolific and accomplished artist. My respect to you,