The ‘local artist’

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Dear Artist,

Yesterday, a subscriber who wished to remain anonymous wrote, “I’m represented in galleries across the country. Some do better than others. I’ve never really understood your earlier comment about it not being desirable to be a ‘local’ artist. Can you tell me what you mean and give me an understanding of the attitudes of galleries and their clients?”

Thanks, Anonymous. When I first started out as a painter I had the presumption that I might become a professional. My early work was pretty crummy, so I was aware of the labels of ‘amateur’ and ‘local.’ Further, I noted that artists were often peculiarly appreciated when they hailed from somewhere else. I was also bothered by George Bernard Shaw’s remark, “When you know the artist, you think less of the art.”

Okay, here’s the rub: Being an introvert, I didn’t want people dropping in while I was trying to figure things out.

I was also aware of the relative ease of selling low-priced work to friends and neighbours, and I saw the negative effect this had on artists when they tried to work with commercial art dealers. I resisted the idea of selling my work locally and I had bad attitudes about ballyhoo and what I considered the wrong kind of publicity. I had this idealistic concept that my paintings might be sold by distant dealers at decent prices to honest collectors who happened to have good taste.

To make this concept work, you need to be a fairly prolific painter. But I can’t tell you how golden it is to get a dozen or so paintings off to another city and then forget about them. The distant dealer, realizing once again that you are a serious artist and that he has local control of your work, is once again free to enthuse. Using this system, a prolific worker is spared of building an oversupply in his own neighborhood. And while the painter so blessed need not be an introvert, he is left free to study, travel, share with others and pursue his muse in relative local anonymity. To be successful in our game you need good work, and someone who thinks it’s good work besides your mom. Entrusting others, including distant others, is the key to private joy.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “You have to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks.” (Leo Burnett)

Esoterica: Regarding your stable of dealers, and without delusions of grandeur, you need to see yourself as the gentle and respectful captain of a Trojan trireme. Those guys down below pulling on the oars are your dealers. Some are slumped over their oars, others may even be dead. Yet others are rowing heartily. As long as you are moving forward you have one happy trireme — and as captain you can navigate in pretty well any direction you please.

Shucking the ‘local’ stigma
by Penny Otwell, Yosemite, CA, USA

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“Fall Cottonwoods, Yosemite Valley”
oil painting by Penny Otwell

I have become a “local artist” in a very popular place. I have been fortunate to sell a lot of work in several galleries here in Yosemite. However, this causes me a myriad of challenges with acquaintances who expect a discount on my work. Being single, older, and needing to make a living, I have fallen into this seductive but challenging situation and I know my galleries don’t like this. I want my work to stand on its own without the local ballyhoo. I’ve been struggling with this local label for too long. I agonize over pricing to local clients and even have strangers asking for discounts. I have been moving towards more abstract work and have been studying figure drawing which might be my “out.” Mainly I need to find reputable representation from an appropriate gallery far away so I can get out of the local artist syndrome. I really needed your kick in the behind to get me moving on a new path.



There is 1 comment for Shucking the ‘local’ stigma by Penny Otwell

From: Elaine Twigg — Jul 26, 2011

I like the very concise reaction to a request for a discount – “Would you ask your doctor or your dentist for a discount?” Think it makes the point quite nicely.

Connecting with out-of-town dealers
by Elizabeth Bertoldi, Toronto, ON, Canada

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“Found”
acrylic painting
by Elizabeth Bertoldi

I’ve noticed that here in Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) most galleries carry works by artists from Montreal, Toronto, and other places farther afield, even California. I have been exhibiting my abstract and non-objective work here for about ten years, in juried shows and art fairs, but I can’t seem to break through to these local galleries. I thought perhaps it was the quality of my work, the type of art preferred here, or a prejudice against local artists. How do I go about getting into other cities / places? I can travel easily to Toronto or Montreal, but not usually more than that. Also, some of my works are quite large, and won’t fit into my car. Any ideas?

(RG note) Thanks, Elizabeth. The best way nowadays is to have a stand-alone website or an online presence such as a Premium Link on the Painter’s Keys site. Then you need to cruise the Internet for galleries where you think your work might fit. If you can, find out from the jungle telegraph whether that gallery is doing a job for its artists, paying them promptly, etc., and drop the gallery a note and let them know you are interested in being represented by them. Then the ball is in their pocket. Most dealers who receive requests like this do go and have a look when they have time.



There is 1 comment for Connecting with out-of-town dealers by Elizabeth Bertoldi

From: Anonymous — Jul 26, 2011

Luminous!

Cut your teeth in local galleries
by Brian McPartland

072611_brian-mcpartland

“Misty Wetlands”
pastel 13 x 19 inches
by Brian McPartland

I’m an artist who sells quite a bit of work locally. Easy, profitable, and fun! Friends look forward to seeing my new stuff and tell me so. Other than sales, I get little feedback from out-of-town sales. Locals tell me what they liked, even if they cannot afford to buy it. Showing art locally results in 10 times more feedback — which I think is very important! The vast majority of readers here will never become artists with a stable of dealers. Conversations about such is unrealistic for most readers — fodder for a pet fantasy. I think that encouraging artists to cut their teeth in local galleries is advice that would be useful to the greater readership. Local showing is a way to build confidence as well.



There is 1 comment for Cut your teeth in local galleries by Brian McPartland

From: Suzette Fram — Jul 28, 2011

Thank you for pointing out the other side of the coin. I’ve heard it said that ‘if you can’t sell locally, you’re not going to elsewhere either’. Besides, galleries usually want to see a proven sales record. So it would seem there is little choice but to start selling locally.

Thank you for your very incisive: The vast majority of readers here will never become artists with a stable of dealers. Conversations about such is unrealistic for most readers — fodder for a pet fantasy.

Finding galleries you can trust
by Monica Linville, Puerto Rico

072611_monica-linville

“Metamorphosis”
oil painting 30 x 36 inches
by Monica Linville

I know it’s necessary to begin dealing with galleries that are away from my local area, but I worry about sending “my babies” off into the unknown. How do you know which galleries to trust and how do you protect yourself from unscrupulous or unprofessional gallery owners? I realize contracts are essential, but when one can’t afford a lawyer, the contract is not even worth the paper it’s written on. Also, there’s no way to know if you’re being represented well or if your paintings are sitting in a closet, other than by lack of sales. How long do you give a gallery before you decide it’s not working?

(RG note) Thanks, Monica. Gallery integrity is discovered by contacting the artists they already represent. Exchange emails or talk on the phone with four or five artists before you contact any gallery.

The real value of ‘out of town’
by Paul deMarrais, TN, USA

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“Wilkesboro Panorama”
pastel 14 x 24 inches
by Paul deMarrais

Another appropriate phrase might be ‘Familiarity breeds contempt!” There is also that phrase from the bible about a prophet being unwelcome in his home town. How true this seems to be with art. It’s only when people outside your area applaud your painting that any of your ‘local’ friends give you much respect. It can be hard to sell to locals yourself. They seem to think your work should be selling for a hundred bucks. Maybe it did when you started out! I’m an introvert as well. It just seems easier to let someone out of town promote you while you live under the radar most of the time. Conversely, there is gold in being the ‘new kid in town’ in a different area. How exotic you can be made to seem! If you are socially adept and clean up well, the out-of-town gallery can even have you meet the public now and then!

Ready to have a website?
by Rena Selim, Annandale, VA, USA

As an aspiring artist, I’ve been in a quandary whether to put my works online or not. I have done some very nice paintings, but in my mind’s eye, most of my work is not quite where I want it to be. My gut tells me to wait until I have a solid number of paintings that I think meet my highest quality standards. The trouble is, whenever I think I have a painting that I really like, after I look at it over time it doesn’t seem that good anymore. So I’m wondering if it’s just me being a perfectionist or if I should take a leap and start a website.

(RG note) Thanks, Rena. There is some work that will never attract significant interest. There is other work that will win friends. There is no such thing as an undiscovered genius. You may never know until you put it out there.



There are 5 comments for Ready to have a website? by Rena Selim

From: Anonymous — Jul 26, 2011
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From: Ron Ruble — Jul 26, 2011

Lovely life in the donut hole
by Judy Palermo, Shoreview, MN, USA

072611_judy-palermo

“Bowl of cherries”
oil painting by Judy Palermo

This year I have been selling modestly but steadily, and thanks to the Internet, my sales are far from ‘local’; only once did I sell to someone in my city that saw my art in our public library. How great is it when a perfect stranger is willing to spend real money to buy your artwork! Most of my friends do not know I am selling; many do not know I even paint. The scope of my public identity has formed into a donut; I am in the center, empty and peaceful hole, and beyond is the rewarding and fun cake all around. That donut hole is nice and roomy indeed.



There is 1 comment for Lovely life in the donut hole by Judy Palermo

From: Tatjana — Jul 27, 2011

Beautiful painting!

Rejected by local gallery
by Kathe Vaughan, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

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Untitled
pastel painting by Kathe Vaughan

Since I have never been a local artist, as an illustrator I sold to international markets, with A.D.s taking care of me but, the interesting story is, when we finally moved back here years ago I took my work to a local gallery that was very big and brokered a lot of corporation art. They “loved” my work but here was the mind-boggling response; they didn’t want me, they didn’t take “locals.” They were afraid locals would “sell” out of their garages.”

First, I joked I didn’t have a garage but more importantly I didn’t want initial interaction with clients. I wanted them to market me, secure the commission and then I would get involved with the client. Time is a precious commodity. So, like other artists, clients can e-me initially or leave a message. But I still have to do the initial dance and I hate doing the pricing thing — I mean this is the work; this is the fee(s). I have some wonderful mentors who have advised me to keep the client information clean.



There is 1 comment for Rejected by local gallery by Kathe Vaughan

From: Patricia Warren — Jul 27, 2011

WOW! You really captured this gorgeous animal. One of my best friends is a B.T., and your art has made me smile.

Unpleasant gallery experience
by Paula Ford, Altoona PA, USA

072611_paula-ford

Untitled
beaded collar inspired
by Sherry Serafini

There’s a little gallery near me that sells all kinds of art from paintings and pottery to jewelry. I had a bunch of items in it and sold every single piece I ever took there. One Friday evening, the owner called to ask if I could make a bracelet in the shop to fit a 2-year-old who had to go to a wedding the next day. I had to tell her to call the child’s grandma to get the wrist measurement. I made the bracelet, drove a one-hour round trip the next morning to deliver it to the store, and waited for over a half hour while the owner was late to open the store. I only charged $20 for the bracelet because it was small, I used leftover beads from another project, and it didn’t take long to make. The store deducted its 50% commission. To top it off, the store owner treated me like she was doing me a huge favor to get the custom job for me. After deducting for the cost of the clasp and other materials, I probably made $3. Who knows what the gas cost to get there, but it cost me time I could have spent making something else.

Every time I would go to her store or run into her at local functions, etc., the owner acted like I was some kind of second class citizen. At receptions and such she would fall all over the non-local artists. ALL of her advertising features non-local artists, but she gets grants from the state of Pennsylvania to help with the advertising. To her, anything from New York City is always better than anything from Pennsylvania. So I just stopped taking my stuff there. Still, she was not as bad as the other gallery owner who put antique teacups on top of my jewelry!



There is 1 comment for Unpleasant gallery experience by Paula Ford

From: Anonymous — Jul 27, 2011

We have to take a stand for our art ourselves. A neighbor with a nice large house and a Porsche parked in front, kept mentioning how a big piece of mine would fit nicely on their entrance wall. First time this was mentioned, I explained that I could do a commission at a 20% discount. Still the same causal mentions and no commission. Last time this came up I said that she better orders sooner rather than later because my prices go up about 10% every year. She started laughing thinking that I was joking. I guess there won’t be a sale there, but I think she got the point that when sales are in question, art is a business like any other that gets you a nice house and a Porsche.

Building a local clientele
by Luann Udell, Keene, NH, USA

072611_luann-udell

“Horses”
sculpture by Luann Udell

From the very beginning, I told my community how well I was doing. I sent a steady stream of press releases to our local and regional newspapers. Every exhibition I was juried into, every award I won, every book or magazine that published my work — all of it went into a little press release, and ran as articles in our local papers. Within a few years, I went from ‘Jon’s wife’ and ‘Robin’s mom’ to ‘famous artist.’ I still treasure the first two, but I’m thrilled by the last.

The second different thing was I still kept a local presence. Yes, it was hard to see my work passed over time and time again for more traditional work. But I also discovered a sizeable, fiercely devoted audience who cheered my on every step of the way. When times went hard, and galleries started closing, it was this local/regional market that continued to purchase my work and support me as an artist. So yes, go further afield. But know that your best audience might be right under your nose.

Preferences for shipping
by Katherine Harris, Bracciano, Italy

072611_katherine-harris

“Barbarano Romano, Courtyard”
oil painting by Katherine Harris

Could you please spell out some details for me?

1.) Do you prepare (pack) your own art for shipping?

2.) What shipper do you use? (U.P.S-? Regular Mail? A transport/moving firm? )

3.) I live in Italy. Can you suggest what would work for me?

(RG note) Thanks, Katherine. My assistant packs unframed paintings in bubblewrap and cardboard boxes. We are noted for our neat boxes. We use mostly Purolator (Air) and UPS, as well as the regular mail for smaller boxes. When traveling abroad, I seldom ship directly to dealers. I ship them back to myself in Canada. From foreign locations, I have, on occasions, taken the canvas from the stretchers, rolled them up and sent them by post. We seldom bother with insurance.

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World of Art Featured artist Ann Sutherland Gruchy, ON, Canada  

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Kimono

mixed media painting 14 x 14 inches
Ann Sutherland Gruchy, ON, Canada

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Pat Jeffers of Montrose, CO, USA, who wrote, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country.” Even in biblical days local inferred ‘not quite as good.’ ”

And also Steve Eborall of Washington, USA, who wrote, “My dad used to own a 1948 Bentley, and I still have the original owner’s handbook. Under the instructions for changing a flat tire, it starts with the words ‘instruct your driver to…’ It also recommends that ‘your driver’ should go on a three-day training course at the factory. So I think you can relax and just enjoy your old cars and leave the mechanicals to others. It is, after all, recommended by the factory.”

And also Skip Rohde of Mars Hill, NC, USA, who wrote, “An ‘expert’ is defined as ‘somebody from out of town.’ ”

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for The ‘local artist’

 

 

From: Janet Badger — Jul 22, 2011

As an inveterate interloper, seldom spending more than 3 years in one location, I have always envied the “local” artists. I believed that by staying in one place an artist could develop both a community of fellow-artist friends and compatriots, a support system, and gradually, local collectors. As an “outsider” I thought the bias was in favor of the local artist; now as I hope to finally be a local artist, will I find the bias to be in favor of the more exotic out-of-towner?

From: Gemma Filister-Burton — Jul 22, 2011

Robert, that last bit of Esoterica was just plain bizarre!

From: Fred Neumann — Jul 22, 2011

Janet is worried that when she lands and becomes a local, the out-of-towner will be preferred. I think it’s true, both ways. The other is always preferred. Must be some strange quantum physics of the art market. I would much prefer a Newtonian art market, but that’s progress for you. Nothing seems to move toward simplicity.

From: Dwight — Jul 22, 2011

After a lifetime of dealing with galleries both local and in places sometimes hundreds of miles away, I will say that dealing with what are really good galleries far from home can, in spite of quality, be a pain. Local galleries may have different problems for the artist, but at least it’s easier to keep on top of what’s going on. In the past my work has been involved in two gallery bankruptcies. Both galleries were many miles away. Both had been good for sales and were originally quality places. Yet together I lost about twenty paintings and payment for about fifteen that had sold. I don’t know of any way around this, but it surely is something for the serious artist to watch as well as one can watch from a distance.

From: Judith — Jul 22, 2011

I am a novice, but upon observation it would seem to me that being local or not depends on where you live. My hometown is in the middle of a tourist area. Successful artists here sell to that market as well as local collectors. Tourists want local artist’s when they are visiting an area.

From: Anna M — Jul 22, 2011

Your information on ‘local artist’ is so true and can also be relevant to many other fields besides art. I really appreciated this insight as it applies to the other fields I work in as well. Thank you for helping me understand more about this perception and reconsider my marketing strategies.

From: Frances Poole — Jul 22, 2011

I believe that artist like old cars because they are truly works of art in themselves that you can drive round in. How great is that! Unfortunately newer cars are ugly ugly ugly. I’m sure there are exceptions; at least I hope there are, but I’m sure they cost a bundle. Congratulations on your new old car.

From: Margot Hattingh — Jul 22, 2011

There is a caveat though to dealing with galleries far away from home. My experience has been mixed – some good, some bad. Can’t just ‘pop in’ to check if all going well – work displayed properly, or even if actually sold and the money used to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’. Horror stories abound around here from other artists of ‘lost’, damaged etc paintings – and it can be difficult to find out which galleries are completely trustworthy.

From: Sari Grove — Jul 22, 2011

First; You think you are an introvert???

Second; The word “local” has changed meaning…Now, things that are locally grown for example, are considered better, insofar as there is less packaging, shipping, pollution , involved…Keeping your work local these days means that you care more about the environment.

Third;Thank you for your writings- agree or disagree, I just love to read your letters.

From: Gail Caduff-Nash — Jul 22, 2011
From: GCN — Jul 22, 2011

p.s. when selling locally, i’ve found it doesn’t hurt to pretend you’re the artist’s agent, and not the artist – people are more inclined to talk to you about the work.

From: Vicki in AZ — Jul 22, 2011

I am a former curator who worked in a nonprofit art center for 2 decades. I think times have changed and being a local artist has much more cache today with buyers and collectors. The promotion of the local food movement and buy local campaigns have contributed to a spillover for people who now better appreciate and support artists of their region. At the art center where I worked, we were supported heartily by collectors and art lovers from our own region as well as visitors from outside our region who loved purchasing the work of “local” artists. And yes, people like meeting the artists at art receptions or open studios so they can talk to them about their artworks, techniques and ideas. It helps them appreciate the skills of the artist and the themes of the artworks even more.

From: Daniela — Jul 22, 2011

I like what GCN has to say – make out you are the artists agent, rather than the agent, locally…there really is a sort of stigma – if the artist is available he/she mustn’t be much good, sort of a thing. Having said that, where I live in Australia has the most staggeringly beautiful scenery, and, tourists, so, local, can be very very good, as people want nothing more than to take back home something of a place they wish they lived in.

From: Jacqui Chapman — Jul 23, 2011
From: Margaret Burdick — Jul 23, 2011

I get your point too, Robert, and I like having my work all over the place. However, many many people ask as they tour my gallery, ” Are these local artists?” They want them to be local, because the vast majority are visitors to my little seasonal town, and they want something from here, made here. Around here, LOCAL is a positive thing, a big plus.

From: Anne Collum — Jul 23, 2011
From: Hamish Tissington — Jul 23, 2011

I like this letter because it puts the artist as captain, not the gallery.

From: Leonard Buchman — Jul 23, 2011

I do not like the practice of socializing to sell my art. I would rather have someone else do it smoothly, honestly and pleasantly, without me having to be there.

From: Marvin Humphrey, Napa Valley — Jul 24, 2011

Yes, financial success is in the larger marketplace of the big city galleries. The simple economic principle of “Supply and Demand” applies. When just a handful of people show interest in your work, the prices stay low. When 10,000 people see and like your work, the sale goes to the highest bidder.

From: Jackie Knott — Jul 24, 2011

“An expert is someone with a briefcase twenty-five miles away from home.”

One could apply that same premise to an artist … they must be good if they exhibit in a distant gallery, right? Possibly.

I’ve heard gallery reps speak proudly of their artists as “local.” Not that the artist couldn’t make it elsewhere … but that the artist chose to live, work, and exhibit there and the art community felt privileged to have them.

Another description would be “regional” verses “local.” We apply peculiar terms to indicate success – in particular “internationally known” … just because you sold a painting or two to people who happen to work in another country.

With technology and communication as it is today “local” isn’t as limiting as it may once have been. This forum is testimony to that. With such a mobile society as we have today a locally known artist can be exposed to patrons and collectors from all over.

From: Liz Reday — Jul 25, 2011

I agree, although I’m also a “local artist” for my sins. Luckily, I have a gallery nearby that attracts folks from the other side of this megalopolis, where most of the big collectors live. It’s so nice to hear my art dealers waxing rhapsodic about my work to prospective buyers and they have already had success (see below) in selling my work. A lot of contemporary art collectors feel more comfortable dealing with art dealers, and I can tell you that I find all that schmoozing and socializing quite draining when I’m in the middle of painting. Folks like to have permission to buy the painting they like and it helps to have other people who are as excited about the painting as they are. My art dealers work very hard for that commission and I’m glad to work with them. My gallery sells my large contemporary urban work.

I also exhibit small plein air paintings of our town and its lovely jacarandas at the local bakery. Surprisingly, these have been selling consistently over the past ten years, partly because the owner is a good business man and his wife bakes the most excellent croissants. Local people like stuff they recognize, and in tough times it’s good to diversify and have something that conservative people can relate to, although I wouldn’t want to paint these all the time despite the demand. I also don’t want to spend my day showing work in my studio and having folks treat me like a swap meet or a yard sale- it’s not dignified and most certainly not profitable. Many people are “just looking” and enjoy the artist studio ambiance as a social activity. Having a third party to do the business and exhibit the work while I enjoy the serenity of my studio alone is the best way for me.

Presently I’m working on a series about the “Arab Spring” which will probably be wildly uncommercial, but the muse has got me going and there’s no looking back. The fists, the flags, and the emotion of people calling for freedom on the other side of the planet touches me – I have to paint it. My local art dealers and collectors are emphatically NOT liking this series, but it doesn’t matter, I’m feeding my own creativity. I may sell locally, but I’m painting globally. It’s all good.

www.lizreday.com

From: Judd Jugendstil — Jul 25, 2011

Yes, maybe the “local” stigma is not the stigma it once was. With people growing their own vegetables, making their own power and buying locally made furniture, maybe the local artist now has an edge.

From: Sybil Blazej-Yee — Jul 25, 2011

If my mother liked my work initially I probably wouldn’t be an artist. Because I had adversaries (and I thank them now) I was able to persevere and keep on growing. My Mom thought my brothers’ art was much better than mine and perhaps because they basked in the glow of her approval, they did not pursue painting as I have.

Sybil Blazej-Yee, Painter, Children’s Book Author, Renegade Librarian

From: Doug Kassler — Jul 25, 2011

The poorer the art, the more ballyhoo required.

From: C. W. Gross — Jul 25, 2011

If you’re too much of an idealist, you stand a strong chance of being sent to the dust bin of history.

From: Annie Taylor — Jul 26, 2011

I too am not sure I really understand this idea that being a “local artist” is not desirable. Don’t I remember another of your letters in which I thought you confirmed the value of the local customer base, in response to someone who had moved area and found that their sales had dropped off considerably – or am I mis-remembering?

There are ‘local artists’ in the UK and there are ‘Sunday painters’ or ‘hobby artists’. Local artists are those who go into a studio every day, produce a professional quality of work and sell it both in local galleries and national ones. In marketing terms this makes a lot of sense – the artist builds up a following in their local catchment area through open studio events and local quality galleries and, if they are lucky, they find clients who buy more than one of their pieces. As a ‘local’ artist, your name gets known in the region and with a little bit of luck and a lot of persistence that is like the stone in the pond, the ripples gradually spread out.

I personally have been very grateful for my small local fan club and my repeat customers and although I have yet to reach the dizzy heights of finding a dealer, I have managed to get my work into respected galleries outside f the region and into shows in London. It’s a slow process and it helps if you are 23, emerging and producing work that is suitably shocking, but hey, I’m a tad older than that, was only able to paint full time at the end of another career and have every intention of spreading the net as wide as possible!

From: Bianka Guna — Jul 26, 2011

Robert you are not an introvert, in my opinion. Enjoy your letters very much!! Keep them coming.

From: Bianka Guna — Jul 26, 2011

“Out of sight out of mind”, sending works over seas means mostly loosing them …Agree with Sari, local today is much more lucrative than before…by local I mean places where, for example me as a Torontonian, I can deliver / retrieve, as often as I want, my works: Toronto, New York, Chicago, Montreal and “visit” my dealers from time to time!!! I don’t trust anyone to handle my works, no dealers, no assistants, no galleries, no Fedex, no Purolator…Nada

From: Jennifer L. Hoffman — Jul 26, 2011
From: Rick Rotante — Jul 27, 2011

I happen to believe that if you send your work out of the area, you lose control over your work. In many cases you also lose the work. In the day, when art has some respect, art dealers and galleries likewise had the same respect toward the artist as well as the artwork. Dealers also had knowledge of art and its place in history. They tended to see the handling of an artist’s work as a privilege and an honor and were thrilled to be a part of something they knew and understood was history in the making. Today, it’s all dollars and cents; add to which the work has become more ‘commonplace’, average. What those in the (art) industry think “great” art is now is contemporary abstract. So much has change as to prints, reproductions, copies, knockoffs, giclees and photography that real painting has to compete with these other, less expensive mediums. I reiterate again and again that we in America know less and less about what good art or real art is or how it’s made. When I demonstrate the painting process, those watching are amazed that it takes such a process to come up with the finished product. Only then do they get a little appreciation for the artist and art in general. There are so many other art mediums out there to see with I-phones and television and magazine photography, many have lost the need to possess “real” art.

I do believe that when the artist is unknown to the buyer the work is considered more worthy. I see this when I show in galleries. Those who know me appreciate what I do but not enough to buy it. But when a tourist from out of town sees my work, they are knocked over and many times buy it for the work alone.

My real concern is giving responsibility to sell your work to an entity far from where you can keep an eye on it and get it back if things go south.

From: Mikki — Jul 27, 2011

Got a question kind of off the subject, but have you changed something on the web site? For the last week or so, when I click on the paintings, I no longer can go forward or back between the images. I have to go back to the top of the letter, scroll down to the next image to see each one. Is it the site or something wrong with my computer? Thanks for checking, Robert. I love the letters but really miss the former way of viewing the paintings, etc.

From: Dayle Ann Stratton — Jul 30, 2011

I have been catching up on a months worth of letters, and am having the same problem. Baffled because it is also occuring on some that I’d looked at before. Was thinking it was some problem w/my computer — now wondering if something has changed about how Painter’s Keys website is made?

 

 

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