Saturday, January 24, 2015

Galleries...What to Do, What to Do?

I took a little trip to Palm Desert yesterday to run some some stuff I can't do here in the hi desert. One of those errands was to traverse El Paseo (a mile-long shopping district that's supposedly the equivalent of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills) and see what's the latest with the art galleries there.

El Paseo,Palm Desert,CA,California,shopping,trendy,boutiques,gallery,galleries
El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA   (Image by City of Palm Desert)
Well, let's see...some of the galleries I knew were gone -- out of business, I assume. A few other galleries moved around...not sure, but I think they downsized to lower square-footage spaces. Some of the places I remember are still there, and there were a few newer galleries, too, giving it a go.

What I also noticed was the continuing shift toward contemporary art. I didn't see much classical representation artwork, which -- of course -- that's the kind I do. With two exceptions, I didn't see any galleries on El Paseo where I thought I would fit.

Another thing -- seems like these days, I get feelings of discomfort just from being in galleries. I was handing out business cards and promotional postcards to a few of the galleries, but y'know -- I've had enough bad experiences with galleries (including one on El Paseo -- he's still there, by the way) that I'm still not sure I even want to go with them.

The balance of power definitely favors them. Galleries are so used to doing things a certain way (and it's worked for them) that artists like me really have no leverage. Consignment only. Contact them a certain way, even at a certain time of the year. Exclusivity rights -- artists can't show anywhere else within a defined region. No real contracts spelling out everyone's rights. And essentially being at their mercy.

Their cut is anywhere from 40% to 60% of the retail price of the art. Lots of hoops to jump through, and then they may take more than the artist can afford; at least, until the artists become "hot stuff," which tends to be unlikely.

So-o-o...I guess I'll have to continue to find other ways of selling art. Don't know what yet -- I feel like I've tried everything -- but I may have to try those same things somewhere else.

I'll keep painting and then storing the paintings until the right opportunities come along. I have to minimize these art-biz gambling losses -- I've lost too much already.

And, of course, I'll keep hoping that the economy will improve so people will return to buying "luxury" goods like art.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Painting in 2015

Alright...Now that we're three days into 2015, I guess I need to start thinking about what I'm gonna paint this year.

I wish I didn't have to be concerned with making money at art. But I need to. My Social Security doesn't bring in enough, and we don't have enough $$$ in our IRA accounts to last very long -- a few years at the most.

And the fact is -- while traditional/classical landscapes DO sell, My research shows they don't sell really well. Nowadays, art in general isn't selling, let alone for a relatively unknown artist-dude like me.

Not being negative here -- I'm facing the facts and being real. Sometimes in business, one must re-evaluate what it takes to make it all work.

This is a painting by Czechoslovakian artist Alphonse Maria Mucha. The style (Art Nouveau) is a little too dated for me, but it's colorful, playful, I (think I) could do similar work, and maybe it would sell better than what I do now. And I believe I could be happy doing it, so it's not like I'd be "selling out" or "not following my passion."

Alphonse Maria Mucha,Art Nouveau,painting
Fruit, Alphonse Maria Mucha, 1897
Another possibility might be a much more dramatic, but realistic, version of landscapes, similar to what one might see as a background in a sci-fi video game or movie. I can't show examples of what I have in mind do to copyright violation issues, but if I ever make some images in this genre, you're see them here.

Finally, I need to find a way to produce scenes that are less expensive -- the simpler style of Mucha would help with that -- less time spent on painting details -- and I may need to give up on the labor-intensive use of transparent glazes, which is a bit like doing the same painting over and over and over again because I paint in multiple layers when I use glazes. I love the stained-glass look of glazes, but I have to ask more $$$ for my paintings because they take much longer to do.

Prints would be another option -- I just need to find a way to make high-resolution, but inexpensive, digital files of the paintings, something I don't have the means to do now.

Well, in any case, 2015 is gonna hafta be the year I sell art -- more of it for less with a different look -- either a little or a lot different. meanwhile, I'll continue to paint the traditional work as a hobby -- works I'll be proud to hang on my own walls!