Monday, October 6, 2008

I, Anchovy

After catching up on my art-related reading as a result of not being able to create in my studio, I have come to a realization. I have read about approaching galleries in SAQA Journal, I have studied the biographies of those profiled in American Craft, and I understand now what I am.

I am an Anchovy. A fish among fish. A really small fish.

And I think I am o.k. with that. I don't think there is any other choice. I must accept that I am a little fish. Then with lots of work, perhaps I can become a bigger fish. Maybe a Bass or a Trout. I do not want to be a Flounder.

In an article in the Fall 2008 SAQA Journal, three gallery owners were interviewed about artist/gallery relationships. The owners made it quite clear that this relationship excluded selling in any other venues, except perhaps juried shows, other than galleries. I'm not saying that I disagree with this. For those well into their art careers, this is definitely the way to go. I know this is not the way for me to go at this point.

I have spent a great deal of time researching galleries for the past several years. I have acquired a bit of mistrust of galleries, as many have not returned portfolios even when I have included postage-paid return envelopes. These are galleries at which I felt my artwork would fit in. Smaller galleries. Maybe they were not as professional as they should have been. Maybe I was not as professional as I should have been. While I will continue to do research on galleries, it will be on a smaller scale and, for now, for information gathering only (and enjoyment of couse).

I have had a good deal of luck in the past few years selling on Ebay. My website has brought me several commissions, and I am going to get more involved in selling on Etsy. These are things that gallery owners do not want their artists to do. It is working for me now, and I will do my best to have it work even better for me. This will be where I do my swimming for the time being.

I am going to continue working on smaller pieces and working in small series. I am going to enjoy creating and swimming in my little pool. Hopefully, when the pool has become too small, I will be able to realize this and find deeper waters.

In the meantime, I will visit as many galleries as possible and enjoy looking at the beautiful work of the big fish.

Besides, an Anchovy is a small fish with a lot of flavor.


Fibra Artysta said...

I totally hear you on this. I've shied away from galleries for the same reason. One told me I would not be allowed to sell any of my work (except through them) within a 500 mile radius of their gallery. in a way I found it odd and it didn't sit well with me. I guess that means that, like you, I'm not to the point where I want to be in galleries yet.

Your work is great, keep on going.

paula said...

yes, it would be a bad thing to be a flounder. I like this post, this speaks to me as well.
Makes sense to stay focused on what is working and doable. Its good to hear you talking like this, I thought maybe you landed in the deep end, now I know you just went on a solo swim for a bit :)
I 2nd that, keep going. Keep doing it, I'm standing here with my pom poms!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a small fish, and I have no interest in selling to galleries. They seem to expect too much, and want to keep most of the profit.

Anonymous said...

I also think it is important to determine whether gallery venues make sense on an artist-by-artist basis. There are restrictions and pricing issues that may not play to everyone's stengths or approach. I struggle with this constantly.