April 28, 2011

Future projects

My solo show has finished and was very very successful. It was an amazing experience and I am definitely motivated to do a second solo show somewhere next year. In fact, I am planning on doing a completely new series for my next solo show. 

I have decided that it would be interesting and challenging to do a more extensive series this time. I am going to a series on all the neighborhoods on the island of Montreal, I want to create a separate piece for each neighborhood, which will require me to do a lot of research and take loads of new photographs, for which Spring is the perfect time. So I am very excited about the prospect of exploring this city even further and starting this very extensive series. 

Before I can do this however, I will have to start a 3 panel piece that I am going to use in a demonstration at the Beaconsfield art association in May. I haven’t decided on a subject for this three panel piece yet, but I already have the three panels waiting for their gesso treatment, which I hope to be able to start later today. 

There are a whole lot of other ideas for future pieces floating around in my head, and there’s a possibility for a couple of commissioned pieces in the near future as well. So lots of thing going on! I really can’t wait to get back into the studio to start all this. I will keep you all posted as things develop. 

April 18, 2011

A 'new' perspective on art galleries...

I’m a week into my show at the time that I type this and I have to say this past week has been absolutely amazing. I’ve spend most of my time at the gallery talking to people who come in to enjoy my work. It is so nice to see peoples reactions to your work and hear their opinions and ideas about it. It has been a very inspiring experience and a huge ego boost. I would encourage every artist out there to do this at least once because it will give you an insight in how your art is being perceived by others and it will give you a lot of energy and inspiration at the same time.

Doing this show and being here every day has also given me a whole new perspective on all those art galleries out there. Now I know this might be a sensitive subject for some and I do not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings I would just like to share how this experience has influenced my personal views. 

A lot of artists out there, especially in the online communities, complain about the high commission rates of galleries and I agree to an extent. Especially since it’s already very hard to sell and make some money off your art, and as a starting artists even more so. Having to pay a commission that can go all the way up to 85% can feel very unfair, especially because, as the artist you do all the work right? Well that’s the point where my view has changed over the past few months. 

As I’ve stated before, organizing a solo is a lot of work and there’s a financial investment as well. When you are represented by a gallery they will do all of this for you. Now I can hear you say that that alone is not worth up to 85% commission and I agree. The time spent at the gallery however is a completely different story. 

However much I might like spending time here at the moment and talking about my work to all the people that come in. I will be very happy when I can return to my studio and work on my art instead. that’s where I want to spend my time, that’s what makes me happy. We need our time in the studio to create, we simply can’t afford to spend most of our time promoting ourselves and talking to clients, there wouldn’t be much to talk about if we did that. So we need all those people out there who work at these art galleries and who are willing to spend their days talking to people about our work for us. That’s where they deserve the commission they ask. 

Now there might be galleries out there that for one reason or another are not as deserving as others, but in general I think as artists we need to think about the time that is spent promoting us as well. You should always talk about the commission that is being asked, try to find out why the commission is as high as it is and what kind of services the gallery will offer you in return, there might even be room for negotiation. But try to be reasonable, promoting artwork is a very time consuming business and as we all know, time is money. Let’s all give each other a break and try to understand where everyone is coming from.  Can’t we all just get along?

April 15, 2011

Vernissage Fun

I think I speak for many artists out there when I say this. My greatest fear for this solo show,  was that nobody would show up for the vernissage (the opening reception). Luckily I can report that the turnout was amazing! The gallery was packed with a mix of friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers, it was wonderful! I got to catch up with people I hadn’t talked to in ages and everybody loved the work. All that would already have made the evening very successful but on top of that I sold 2 pieces as well! so you can imagine I’m over the moon right now!

Regular readers of this blog will know that organizing this show and last nights vernissage have been a lot of work. But honestly, doing al the work up front really pays off! For anyone who’s looking to organize an art show, or any other event for that matter, I cannot stress this enough. It really is all in the preparation. I know most of you will complain about lack of studio time, I said the same in this very blog. But if you are going to go through the trouble of organizing a show you might as well do it right, it would be a shame to go through all the trouble and pay all the money and not prepare for it properly because you’d rather spent a couple of extra hours in your studio. Painting time will come after the show. “Do it right or don’t do it at all” is my motto. There were many people laughing at me for doing stuff way upfront but the whole process of preparing has been way less stressful because I did stuff when I could instead of when I absolutely had to. 

All of the hard work pays off, especially in the end when its time to hang the show and prepare for the vernissage. When things go smoothly because you’re well prepared you will feel so much better about yourself which will make it possible to enjoy the experience instead of stressing out about the details. 

I was able to have an absolute blast at my vernissage, I enjoyed every single second of it. There wasn’t a moment that I had to think about anything else then talking to people about my work, making them feel welcome and enjoying their compliments. I think that’s what a vernissage, and an art show in general is all about. When you’re finally at that point where you’re going to share your work with the world there’s nothing more encouraging and inspiring then hearing from people that they enjoy what you do. The lack of studio time that was the result of all that organizing will be payed back by the boost you get from the people enjoying your work. 

I am really enjoying myself at the moment and I will be until the end of the show. And then, when it’s time to get back into the studio, I will take all this positive energy with me to create a whole new series of works for my next show, because there will be a next time!

If there’s anyone who has questions about organizing a show, I’m not claiming to be an expert but I’ve successfully gone through the process myself and I’d be happy to answer any of your questions.

April 13, 2011

My Solo Show has officially begun!

I am typing this entry while I'm sitting at the gallery, I've just turned the sign from 'Fermé' to Ouvert and I'm ready to receive my first viewers. I expect this first day to be somewhat laid back since its the first day. Besides it's raining so here might not be all that many people out and about today. I actually like that idea, it gives me some time to ease into it a little and get used to the idea of sitting here and showing my art to the world. 

I'm sort of 'on display' while I'm sitting here, there's this table that's right in front of the window, which is quite nice because I get to look at the people walking by. But it's also a bit weird. I just hope I'm not scaring people away by sitting here, then again there's not really any other place to sit so they'll just have to deal with it right? 

I have to say this whole thing is quite surreal, I imagine I'm not the first artist to state this but it's just absolutely weird seeing your own stuff on the walls like this. Weird and exciting! I've spent so much time with it in my studio and it always seemed like this thing I just did you know? Nothing extravagant or amazing, just something I liked to do. And now all of a sudden its up here on the walls and I'm talking about it with reporters! 

It's nice though, to be able to share my work with the world, I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity, especially in this area of town. Its great exposure and organizing this show has given me a nice goal over the past six months. I really like having something to work towards, I think that's really important as an artist otherwise you might forget about the outside world when you're in your studio painting away. It feels good to finally share my work with the outside world. Being able to do all this in a foreign city feels even more like an accomplishment. I've only been in this city for two years so being able to organize a show in the Mile End and getting promotion from the press as well is really amazing! I did get a lot of help from Yes Montreal, Mess Montreal and ELAN and I wouldn't have been able to do this without them so a huge thanks to all the people there and to Monika, Natalie and Khosro especially. And off course a big thank you to my lovely husband who is endlessly supportive and who kicks my butt into gear when I need it most, I wouldn't be half the artist I am now without you!

April 06, 2011

'Vancouver' is finished

The last BIG thing that needed to be done before my show next week was finishing this piece. I’ve been working on it for quite a few weeks now and it really needed to be finished before the show because I needed a second piece in this size to get the flow of the show right. You would think that creating a work under a certain amount of pressure would have an influence. In fact the opposite has been true. Working on this piece has given me precious time to ‘relax’ and focus solely on the thing I love, creating art, in a time filled with organizing and businessy stuff. 

That being said this piece has certainly brought with it its own set of challenges, some of which I’ve talked about in this blog before. There were some technical firsts for this piece that have turned out really well and will definitely be repeated in future works. I will definitely be working on wood panels more often because that has really been a great experience. Although I might go for a different type of wood panel in the future. Attaching the different pieces of bigger buildings together before gelling so they result in one big gel sheet instead of several smaller ones had also been a great new technique that is definitely worth repeating. With this technique I’ll be able to go even bigger with my pieces, a challenge I’m looking forward to a lot. I already have ideas for a whopping big piece of Amsterdam, the city where I was born. Getting the amount of layers of gel right for the bigger pieces is going to be a challenge as well, it is a delicate balance that is going to require some more experimenting. 

As I said before, this piece was a big challenge from the start because of the minimal amount of pictures I ad to work with, especially when you keep in mind that it’s a big piece. The piece has turned out to be a very pleasant surprise, it didn’t need that many different images to work and it has been an overall pleasant experience to create. It has given me many happy hours in the studio and I hope that it will give many people even more happy hours looking at it.

April 05, 2011

Shouldn't I be freaking out by now?

I’m about a week away from the start of my show and somehow it feels like I should be having panic attacks by now. I mean, this is going to be my first solo show and I’m basically organizing the entire thing myself so panicking seems like a very reasonable thing to do right now. And yet I’m still calm, I feel like everything is in hand. Sure I’m very excited about the whole thing and there are some nerves as well, I can’t deny that, but full blown panic, nope, not feeling it. 

I was working on ‘Vancouver’ the other day and that being the last piece that needs to be finished before the show you would think I’d be going crazy. I was totally expecting a lack of creativity or a complete painters block and I was totally surprised when I was just enjoying the fact that I had time to spend in my studio and just paint. I was completely and utterly happy!

I’m a fairly organized person (most of the time), I make lists and try to get things done well ahead of time. I think this is one of the ways I have dealt with the stress of all of this. I’ve kept myself busy with all the preparations. Having my lists and steadily being able to cross stuff off of those lists, even when other stuff would be added at the same time, kept me sane. When I start to freak out about something I just write it down on my list and let it go because I knew that when it’s on the list it will get done so I don’t have to worry about it anymore. 

When you ask him my husband will probably tell you that I’ve been somewhat preoccupied and I’ve been doing things way earlier then they might have needed to be done. I think I completely baffled him when I started assembling my greeting cards about four weeks in advance. But being this organized and prepared has its perks because now, a week before my show, I’m completely relaxed. I’m very excited about the show and I can’t wait till it’s all up because I want to see how it’s all going to look. It also means that I will be able to enjoy the entire experience because it’s not going to be over shadowed by last minute preparations. 

This being said I’m still wondering, shouldn’t I be freaking out right now?