Devastation and Redemption
The studio looked like the aftermath of a bomb blast.
For weeks before the show, it had seen a frenzy of activity, and was rarely tidied up after the frenetic, manic, and daily bouts of painting.
The ASLD show, however, had been a total bust, and afterwards, the studio became a depressed dumping ground of unwanted paintings, and all the other considerable items needed to stage a show.
I simply did not possess the fortitude to put it back to rights.
I just shut the door. And walked away.
There is no shame in not managing to sell the art you make. A hundred reasons stand between your art and the very likely possibility of not selling it. Buyers may not have a place for it, a budget to buy it, or it just may not jive with their current color scheme--whatever the reason,
It doesn't mean they don't like it, or maybe even love it.
But it is still hard to rationalize after you put a lot of effort, time and money into something that offered no payback in the end, in fact, a big loss instead. It felt like a judgment of my worth.
I will admit to being depressed.
Worse yet, I needed to get ready for the next show, only a couple weeks out. My heart was not in it. I regretted ever having committed to it. But I needed to buck up, and honor my commitments.
But it was going to be a different show altogether.
The ASLD show is all about selling Art ( you are pretty motivated to do so since you are in for at least $800.00 that you hope you can recoop). And I had tried to cover my bases with a variety of styles, hoping that if someone did not like one thing,, they might like another. This proved a bad strategy.
However the next show was to be an exhibition of my more edgy works that were finally becoming my "voice". I really did not expect to sell anything. And that was OK. I just wanted to get my new works out there for comment, and put on an interesting show.
Luckily I had a few weeks to hang the show and think about it. I slowly warmed up to the idea of doing it, and then began to see it coming together as an impressive debut for the new Artwork I had been working on for two years.
I was not sure how the new work would be received. It was not going to be what people were used to seeing, in fact, they would never have seen anything like it. That in itself was quite a statement. It was a gamble. But If it was regarded poorly, it would likely put the nails in my artistic coffin, so to speak.
The first viewing was on "First Friday", a studio and gallery walk in the Santa Fe Art district that occurs on the first Friday of each month. The crowds are mostly ( but not uniformly) young, and
represent a good cross section of the Art interested public.
As the crowds filed in, I waited for their verdicts. These were not friends that might humor me.
They might say anything. They had no reason to be kind.
I had been told by a Teacher that if you could capture someones attention for just 15 seconds with a painting you could call it a success.
I was watching people spend 5 and 10 minutes in front of a painting. It was unheard of.
And it told me everything that I needed to know.
The comments came in, and were all positive: " How did you DO this?..." " We have never seen
anything like it...", " Everything we usually see is just derivative, but you have a distinct voice all your own",
" Do Galleries in New York and L.A. know about you?.."
It could give you a big head, but I started out so low down that that wasn't going to happen.
I talked to people for four hours straight. When I finally locked the doors, exhausted, I knew one thing.
Two years of work was vindicated.
And I was no longer in the mood to call it quits.