Hello and welcome to Art Talk…..
Branding- If you are just joining us, I have been in this (selling) art business since 1992 and I have always strived to make my art look a certain way. It’s hard to describe exactly, but I feel that you should be able to tell my stuff from everyone else.
…and not just because this year all the stuff gets these nifty key-chain tags! So really work on having a style or way of making your stuff look recognizable.
Inspiration- People always tell me when they see some welded sculptures, somewhere and want me to go by and see it. Of course I smile and don’t ask any detailed questions, but I will actually avoid seeing other peoples stuff. Because, for me, it is so great to be inspired and make something that you thought of, or saw within the material you had to work with.
I have heard that whole thing about ‘imitation is the highest form of flattery..’ but you don’t really want to be the guy who is doing the imitation stuff, you want to be real and more importantly, original! The problem with seeing other artists work is that it cuts down your options. You will go to make something and feel like you are cheating because you saw how someone else does it and then it ruins it for you- it’s been done. It’s just better not knowing, then you are free to create. Once you have made your stuff, go to the gallerys and you will enjoy yourself. (because you are an artist who made his own stuff and can compare, because your stuff is already made)
Standards- The welded sculptures that I make are metal and actually last a long time. (even without the lifetime warranty) At one gallery I was signing a damage waiver in case of a fire and realized that my stuff would be fine in a fire!
Because it lasts and is supposed to have a certain look, so that you can tell it’s one of mine and it’s original…. it has to be good.
Neil Gaiman gave a great graduation speech called ‘Make Good Art’ and you can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikAb-NYkseI
If you don’t like your work- take it apart or start over or whatever- but don’t put out stuff that doesn’t look right. Fight yourself over what is acceptable- because if you make junk it will haunt you. (and embarrass you)(and it can be avoided) Make Good Art.
Money- When people ask me how much stuff is, I tell them it’s somewhere between priceless and worthless. You might get some money, but it is so much more rewarding to meet the people who love your work. Each year I would be gathering my stuff to go off to some gallery and friends would come over and see the collection and talk about which ones they liked and I would listen….. then (secretly) -not send those pieces to the gallery and give them to those friends on their birthday or christmas. (much, much better than money)
Commercialization- I know this part should be about how to get into a gallery but I want to chit chat about the key chains. I want the idea of supporting the artist to be out there without having to buy the art. So, if you want a key chain, you can just ask for one. Then you can feel hip in supporting the idea of what I do (and look cool with your key chain) There may come a time when I can afford to do t-shirts again.
Success- I will probably measure it in t-shirts sales!
Success is when one person says they like your stuff and you give it to them and they are really happy. It comes with relationship. Your art is better because you know your audience and they know you and its like love. They want your art because you made it. The quality of art cannot be measured- it’s who did it. Then it just gets better.
God made this world very beautiful for us. I now work selling flowers and they are amazing. It’s very hard to describe how cool it is to buy flowers or plants. It is a very simple thing to do, but it is also wonderful. Then taking them home and planting them or displaying them- knowing that they were here for us- and they were not made or assembled- they grew. Our God is such a show off!