Friday, July 28, 2017

The "Experts" Are Anything But - Please Stop Listening To Them

Written by me in 2014.  I have since had 5 solo, month-long art shows at The Globe + various other venues.  Please please please read this...and read it again (and again) until its message sinks in, hits home, kicks you in your butt, etc.

Yesterday my husband and I installed my final art show/sale of 2014 at The Globe, an historic former theater that is now a very hip and very popular restaurant/bar/art gallery located in Berlin, Maryland.

It's a huge show; 71 pieces of my artwork ranging in size from 24x36 (6 of this size!) down to little tiny 4x4 squares that are part of a 9-pc set of varying sizes ($100 for the set - a bargain!) spread throughout the entire two-level building.

This is my second show/sale there.  I also headlined there last year at this time.  That first show/sale was so successful that they invited me back this year, again at the busiest time of the year when galleries exhibit those who best serve the shopping season.

How successful was last year's show, you ask?  Let's put it this way: I was supposed to be in there from Thanksgiving until New Year's.  I wound up being in there until March.  The longest running show they've ever had.

Am I tooting my own horn?
You bet I am - but not for the reasons you might think.

Well, not totally for the reason you might think.  ;-)

am tooting my own horn because I want to tell you - in one word - how all of this came about:  postcard.

Yep, one single postcard has given me two amazing opportunities to headline my own solo show at the most prominent art space in a town that was voted 2014's Coolest Small Town In The US by Budget Travel magazine.

All I did was send postcards out to places I thought my art would fit into.  On the back I had printed a message that said something about being available for shows and sales and retail opportunities.  I wrote a couple of lines that just said that I'd love for them to check my work out. That's it.

Ah, sweet naïvete.

You see, the "experts" will tell you to not ever make the very amateur mistake of sending out postcards to galleries and shops.  They will scoff at you for even considering doing this.  No self-respecting artist who wants to be taken seriously would ever do this because all it will lead to is having your postcard tossed directly into the trash without anyone ever so much as glancing at it is what the self-proclaimed art business gurus will tell you.

Well, maybe they're right, if you are the type of high-fallutin' artist who straight out of the gate thinks your art should be featured in a gallery on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan where the cheapest piece sells for thousands of dollars.  Then, no, a postcard probably won't work for you.

But if you're a humble artist who doesn't say "no, it sucks" when people tell you that your artwork is really good or great (I hate people who do this.  Why are you even creating art then?!  It's like people who are a size two but complain about being fat.  Stop, please.) and you should sell it...and if you are a humble artist who needs a break, just one simple break...and if you want to keep your prices reasonable so the average person can actually afford to buy some art...and if you are not a wuss who isn't afraid to just put yourself out there, to take a chance, to throw the dice and see where they land...than YES, those "experts" and "gurus" are wrong.

I mean, come on...by now you should know that if there were some set of rules to follow that would guarantee success, everybody would be following them and riding off into the sunset, right?

Those rules don't exist.
The rule is that there are no rules.

Let me say that again:  THERE ARE NO RULES.

Oh, and while you're thinking about all of this, I beg you to reconsider what your definition of success is if it has anything at all to do with money.  Yes, I am serious.  Very serious.

I can say with complete confidence and truth that I am a wildly successful artist.
My artwork makes people happy and I know this because on almost a daily basis they make it a point to reach out and tell me. 

Something I do brings people happiness.
Tell me what defines success more than that.
There's not a price you can put on that.  And if I make some money along the way, that's just bonus.
I am not saying I don't want to make money - that would be ridiculous.  With my artwork I make money and I also make people happy and I'm telling you that the latter is what makes my soul sing.

It's a motivation thing and in all likelihood what motivates me (with my art and in life) is way left of center, which is usually how it goes with me.

I'll probably never wind up in a gallery on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan sipping wine and nibbling on cheese with the haut monde but that's not where I belong anyway.  Try and know where you belong; that's kind of important.

I'm good where I'm at right now:  meeting people, having fun, and making pretty pictures that make people happy.

And sending out postcards.

 photo sharon coffee cup sig3_zpsa0eabycr.png

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