Some big art decisions

A few days ago I wrote the following to a trusted online friend – a successful artist I admire (no name because I have not asked her permission) –

[edited] “I have been in a bit of an art-funk recently; not sure if I should keep going, paint just to be happy, try to market better, what? This morning I went back to the start of your blog posts in ’05 and re-read through to mid 2007, at which point they felt like much more familiar territory. And you know what? It worked! Thank you. Am I cured and on a roll, ready to take on the world? Nope. But I am sure that there is a market out there and that I need to make some decisions, instead of waffling round. Decisions like – pick a series and really go for it, have a sizeable body of work to show a gallery etc. Get out there and meet some people, don’t expect them to come to me…”

I got a lengthy reply back and really appreciate the time she spent in doing so, and the sensible advice and support offered. I dwelt on it for a couple of days, much of it reinforcing what I already knew deep down. From there I have made some decisions … the main driver behind them being that I know it is time to get more serious and business-like.

I have taken my work off most sites, leaving behind a message that basically says “see you on the 1st of Jan with new work”. I want to concentrate on starting a body of work without thinking about what is (isn’t) selling.  I will keep on with social networks like Twitter.

Come the 1st of Jan 2010 I will have new work ready to promote . I’ll only load works that fit with whatever body of work I come up with. Which of course leaves the question of what to do with all the random works I have lying around. I think I will go through them and see what ones fit together as small series already. Then with the rest either sell off cheap through a local website or re-use the canvas if that seems a good option.

I’d already bought Alyson Stanfield’s “I’d rather be in the studio” and as part of all this will work my way through it producing a new artists statement, bio etc so the whole package has more cohesion. I’ll also keep better records from day one with the new work so I know where it is listed and so on, so that details are the same from site to site, and I can update things more easily. That should take some stress off!

So, that’s where I’m at. Today I made a start in my visual diary with ideas about what the body of work can be, knowing that I need 20 to 30 works in the same size, style etc. More on that later…

Does your art have a particular style?

I recently purchased Alyson Stanfield’s book “I’d rather be in the studio” because I want to sharpen up the business side of my art. Why Alyson and why her book? Some of the artists I follow who seem to really be doing the business, as well as making the art, recommend Alsyon. For me, that personal recommendation is important. One of those artists is Tina Mammoser, The Cycling Artist; reading about the work she puts in to her business, while retaining her passion, is very inspiring.

One of the things Alyson talks about is recognisable style. I stopped reading at that point and grabbed by visual diary for some note taking. Do I have a real style yet? Do I want to have one? If I do have one, do I even know what it is? If I don’t, should I be thinking about marketing yet or not? These are a hundred other questions…

Today I spent some time looking at photos of my paintings and through my visual diaries – a sort of virtual tour of my art history. Looking for a style; my style. Did I find one? I am not sure yet. Maybe. There are certainly some pointers along the way. What would the words be that describe that style? Again, not sure, but the beginnings of some words are there. Words like mark making, expressive, abstract, landscape, orange, transparent.

So then I thought, okay, of all your paintings is there one that you really feel represents what you want to achieve? The answer night me different tomorrow, but for today anyway the answer is this one. 10×10″ acrylic on canvas, long since sold via a local gallery to a Wellington-based New Zealand film director. And no, I don’t think it was Peter Jackson! (although it may have been for all I know) Why this one – the quality of the marks, the landscape is there but not explicit, the sense of light on the land.

Where am I at then? Thinking, thinking, thinking – and keeping notes as I go. It’s a good process.

remembered_landscape #4 lg