Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I decided to take a little time and make a "field trip" to El Paseo in Palm Desert, CA. This street is the equivalent of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and features many different boutiques, restaurants and -- most importantly -- art galleries. (The gallery I'm in is located on El Paseo).
First, I stopped by the gallery I have paintings in to see how the owner is preparing for Thursday Art Walk (tonight), the last of the season. I was especially curious to see if he had rehung any of my work which, as of Valentine's Day, was mostly stashed away in a back room. Yesterday, only ONE painting was out -- and it wasn't hanging but was set on the floor leaning against a wall. In the back of the gallery.
It's obvious that people who come into this gallery aren't that interested in what I paint; otherwise, my work would have had its former places of honor in the front window and on the walls toward the front. Besides that, I asked if there was any interest in the last paintings I brought in, and he said no.
Maybe I'm not in the right gallery, since everything else the owner has in there is more contemporary and VERY colorful compared to MY stuff. I mentioned I might remove the excess paintings from his backroom during the summer, but now I'm leaning toward pulling out altogether.
But where to go after that? I don't know. Most of the field trip was to see how the other galleries are doing, what they've been selling (if anything) and if I'd find a "good fit" somewhere else.
Well, most of the art I saw was contemporary, whether or not the paintings had recognizable subjects. Most were blindingly colorful -- pure reds and other warm, almost fluorescent colors. Apparently, the buyers have been people from extreme winter states like Minnesota and the Dakotas and -- especially -- from the plains provences of Canada. The Canadian dollar has strengthened considerably as the US experienced monetary problems, and people who spend so much time in a long-lasting season of gray, featureless winter want COLOR in their homes and offices. Traditional realism isn't about zonking color. So what's an artzy one to do?
Only two galleries had works that made me feel like I might fit in. One is headquartered in Carmel, and they seem to like my work, but I'm not pricey enough for them. (Understandable -- they pay a lot of rent for their locations!) The other gallery has a long list of artists who want to get in, and besides -- their work was rather colorful, too.
Conclusion: maybe this area just isn't my market. I may have to go further east -- maybe all the way to the East Coast -- to find buyers. Other classical painters have told me the East seems to be populated by art lovers who are more sophisticated in their taste than the West Coast, where people want to be cutting edge and trendy.
How does an impoverished artist fight a situation like that?