Thursday, January 1, 2009

Dear Artist

Don't you just love that greeting? Perhaps someone has received a letter in the mail that begins with "Dear Artist," and positive words have followed. I'm guessing it is unlikely. I received such a letter yesterday. And, well, at least it was irrelevant.

The letter I received came from a local gallery that has not shown my work in three full years. Apparently, I am still on their mailing list for bad news. It seems that the gallery is going to be closing. All is too be blamed on the economy. Possibly. Could it be that it has treated its artists with little respect since its opening. I can't say. It wouldn't surprise me, though.

Like I said, the letter was received yesterday, December 31. It stated that the gallery would be closing as of . . . . . . December 31. Maybe I'm just a good manners freak, maybe I've not been living in the real world for a while, but is this just a tad rude? Wouldn't just a bit more notice satisfy an artist who must go and gather their work and find another gallery? Perhaps I still feel a bit of a sting from this gallery who treated my work and I poorly three years ago.

Until I went downtown to do some Christmas shopping, I had not been into this gallery in over 18 months. So, when I went in just a few weeks ago, I noticed that the type of work they carried had greatly changed. All of the work had gone what I consider "mainstream". Some basic photography, murky pottery, uninspired jewelry, etc.

Did the gallery go mainstream to try and keep its doors from closing? Or did its downfall come from going mainstream? In a smallish town, it is better to tone it down and sell to the masses? Or would greater success result from showcasing more "exotic" work? Or is it a mute point because all galleries are going under?

What are other artists doing? Surely, many have been receiving "dear artist" letters. I just purchased a copy of American Style magazine, so I know there are still galleries out there. Are these galleries going "mainstream?" Are they thinking out of the box and gathering unique artists? Do we all just hunker down in our studios, work hard, and put our work on Etsy? My Space? Tattoos?

Just once, I would really enjoy writing a "Dear Gallery" letter.

I'm thinking of having positive post month. For one month, I write an upbeat post every day. Do you think I can do it?

1 comment:

David Castle said...

I worry enough about how to compete with the big-box-massed-produced-decorative-stuff than to also have to start worrying about galleries starting to go in the same direction. I actually think galleries that further define themselves with the opposite of mass-produced (but with an increasingly healthy dose of QUALITY) will do better.
I know "economy, economy, economy" is the all the chant these days, but I'll have to say most people I know still have the same rather well-paying jobs and at least some of them retain their appreciation for great art. I just wish this observation was backed up with more sales in my studio, not less.

On your thought for positive postings for a month, I'm with you in spirit, but that'd be way too ambitious for me. I'd consider joining you for a joint "positive post a week until Spring" or something like that. What do you think?