Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Finding a Balance

I've been conflicted recently about where to show my artwork.

Part of me knows that I need to just get it out there and let people see it, regardless of the venue. But then I have this other part of me (I call it the art snob) that only wants my work to be in respectable places, like commercial galleries and art centers.

My friend Junanne says that she doesn't care where her art is - she says she'll hang it on a fence as long as people will see it.

So I guess I want to be somewhere in between. In the past I've shown my work in places that I wouldn't necessarily put on my resume, just to get it out there. I think I need to continue. You just never know who will see it.

How do you decide where to show your work?


Gwendolyn Plunkett said...

I think finding your best audience is important. Perhaps it is a trial-and-error endeavor until you get it figured out. Exhibiting in various types of venues helps sometimes. But one thing for sure, if no one sees it, no one collects it--- except you. However, I don't think being selective regarding exhibiting venues makes one an "art snob." Just wise.

Anonymous said...

I say be choosy. Venue matters, and can have a significant effect on how people see and experience your work. Last year, the Washington Post did an experiment where they had a world class violinist play in a subway station. He was pretty much ignored. They figured that because people in a subway do not expect to hear such good music there, they don't notice it.

Angela Wales Rockett said...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately myself. It's difficult because I really want my work to be seen, but, as Daniel pointed out, being seen in the wrong place could be detrimental. I just have to go with my instincts and make this decision one venue at a time.

Anonymous said...

Being a jewelry artist limits me in the ways I can exhibit my work (though I can wear it where ever I go!). One thing my artist networking group does is to have Art in Alternative Spaces exhibitions. So far they have been in a bar and in a creperie, but when we were talking about other locations banks, hair salons, and coffee houses came up. All of these places could be a possiblity if you planned it right and turned it into an event. Just make sure you use a more upscale salon rather than the Hair Cuttery and that the bank or coffee shop gets enough traffic where your art will be located.

Anonymous said...

Another problem I've come up against in the "all exposure is good" approach is pricing. If your only aim is exposure, I guess it's fine, but if you've sold in galleries, and are splitting the sale price with the gallery, your prices are likely to be higher than they might be if you are exclusively selling in coffee shops, hair salons, etc. We can't have two sets of pricing, or risk getting booted out of the galleries. I've had my work up in public places before and been asked why my prices are so high, while simultaneously being represented by galleries as an "emerging = affordable" artist. There are real differences in the pricing expectations of these two markets. Ditto for things like festivals and art fairs. I had to raise my prices when I started selling through galleries to cover the commission, shipping, insurance,etc.

Sheree Rensel said...

Deanna, I understand exactly what you mean. I don't think it is being an art snob. I think it is just caring about how your art is perceived. I am originally from Michigan. I have always shown my art in galleries. Even the type of gallery is of concern to me. I prefer those at art centers, cooperative artist galleries, or academic venues. When I came to Florida, it was obvious that outdoor, festival shows are all the rage. I have never, ever done a show like this. The idea makes me uncomfortable.
You have to go with your gut.

Philip said...

I have to feel right about the place. It all has to fit in some way. I like the fence idea - but its not for me!

Anonymous said...

It has to feel right. I want to be comfortable walking in and talking to the owner/manager. I like to know how long the place has been around, do they get good traffic, their rep on paying artists in a timely manner, their commission? How are there sales? Are they on any gallery routes. Like here in Marquette, Michigan some galleries are listed in the local paper. Do I like the store, and am I a good fit, yet bring something new and fresh.

chekov said...

I don't know if it possible for you to go to juried art shows as an exhibitor, but there is really good money there and I sell lots of my art at these shows. I go to 12 shows a year in Texas and because the shows are juried, the patrons are there to look for art that is above average. Sure, it is a lot of work (setting up, tearing down, etc., but the rewards far outweigh problems. Maybe you should look into doing shows in your area to start off. Plus, you meet lots of people and many, many contacts. If you are interested, let me know and I can give you lots of help. I have been doing shows for 8 years now. I do own my own gallery in Spicewood, Texas, but these shows are my bread and butter. I have a blog at www.vangoughsear.blogspot.com if you want to talk more. Thanks

Deanna said...

I know that some artists can make a good living doing art fairs, but the thought of sitting in a tent, having to be nice to people for 3 days sounds like pure hell. :-)

Mary Richmond said...

this is so personal for every artist. i think you always want to shoot for the best venue available to you. and in this economy it's going to be very, very competitive.

online selling has changed the way artists sell and do business and it has definitely changed the way people buy art--not always to the advantage of the artist, either.

do what seems right for you....

Princess Rashid said...

I try to make work in different price ranges. Then I show work in the range I feel appropriate for the venue. That way I can educate people on my prices and provide art that they can afford. It's a win-win that way.

If I'm showing in a coffee house, I'd probably show work in the under $500.00 range. But in a galleries and museum, I'd show work in a higher price range.

I try to show everywhere as long as the work will be somewhat safe while on display. Because you're right, you never know who you will meet.


Anonymous said...

I see you also chose etsy.com as a venue. Problem is, they have so many artists now that unless you constantly spend money renewing your listings it's hard to get noticed.

I see a couple of artists putting up the same art hour after hour. They must spend a fortune. Who has time to do that anyway.

Julia said...

I am glad to hear other artists are conflicted with the inner and sometimes not-so-silent art snob!

I was asked to show in an expensive, boutique-style restaurant and decided to say yes. I should be hanging on Sunday, but it has been a bit of a bear wrestling down a date and time that works for both of us. The good news is that they don't want to take a commission, but I have that...ugh, I'm hanging in a restaurant. No agreements, no paperwork...but no commission either. Well, I'm doing it because it, as others have voiced, feels right.

It does, however, come right after a really nice museum show I had and makes me feel like I'm stepping back down. My work is just sitting in my house, so I feel it is better up on a wall being seen versus not being dusted at home.

Questions I ask myself:

What is my ideal state this year for my art?

On a scale from 1 - 10, how close am I from meeting that ideal state?

What steps should I take to meet that goal?

What barriers do I see to meeting the goal?

How will I overcome those barriers?

What will I do next week, next month, next few months to get closer to that goal?

If the venue doesn't get me closer, than I think it probably isn't in line with my ideal state.

Just a little self-coaching questions I ask to keep me on track.

As always, I love your blogging!

mcdc3s said...

I try NOW to make sure I at least see where it will be and have a good feel for who will be hanging with me.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Years to you and yours. I've missed reading your blog. ~mcdc3s/Maralena

Jaime Lyerly said...

I just came across your blog and I am intrigued by the other comments as the post itself. As an emerging artist myself, it is hard for me to know even where to start. At the moment, I think I am somewhere between just getting my art into the public vision and wanting it to be in a place that I can respectfully put on my resume. I do like the comment about making art at different price ranges, and tailoring it to the venue. That seems like the best option for any artist, emerging or not.

Joy Logan said...

I've shown in all kinds of venues. It got me a solo show,and more shows. People who see it in one venue may not see it in another. I actually sold for higher prices in more exclusive gallery shows then I asked in another less frequented place. Price matters to some,yet venues get you out there!

Anonymous said...

I've exhibited in the Museum of Science and Industry once and several other places. I stopped exhibiting at all for the last few years because I want to take time to develop as an artist. I am now at about 15 pieces that I feel represent what I see as an artist. I have been studying Flemish painting and the technique is quite tedious 6 layers w/ 1 to 2 weeks drying before I apply colour. When I exhibit I hope I can get in the venues I want, but it all up in aire at this point. Though I really want to sell I am more interested in presenting work that represents my vision. I hope to not have wasted too much time in the process