Archive for February, 2013

Image

Okay, I’m fortunate enough to have a gallery show next month, my very first in Northampton. The hardest thing about getting ready is the pricing part. There is no secret formula (though I’ve been advised of a few). Naturally, however, there are factors to consider. I’m not known, except to my best friends and maybe on Facebook. My pieces vary in size and complexity, and all of them are weird. They will not be purchased by any cash-stuffed corporate guy to hang on his office wall. The people who like my stuff tend to be other starving artists who can’t afford gallery prices. But I must have something on my price list (due tomorrow!).  I’m at the point of calling an old buddy of mine who is also an art dealer BUT he has bought pieces from me in the past and tells me he intends to in the future. Would consulting him be kosher? I know he’ll be practical and honest, but it would still be sort of an awkward situation.

So. Maybe I’ll devise an mysterious formula of my own using: a) length of time it took to make; b) complexity; c) size; d) X factor (i.e., How much do I like it? How much do I never want to see it again?)

Did I mention that I’m sharing this show with two other artists? I have no idea what they’ll price their things at or their rationales. We’ve talked about it amongst ourselves but only in the vaguest of terms. They both have MFAs and I do not. Does this mean I should price mine lower? I’ve looked through a large book of galleries and their average sales figures for individual works. Most of them start at $100-$150. I’ve never priced ANYTHING over $100.

I’ve been told that so-called “emerging” artists tend to price their pieces too low, out of a desperate need to validate themselves and their art by selling SOMETHING, ANYTHING! I’ve also been told that it’s easier to lower a price than make it higher. But I’m also embarrassed about asking for real  long green.

Oh, bother. Plus there’s that pesky thought at the back of my mind — I need the money. I spend the least amount possible on first-class materials, but I need SOME recompense for all those hours spent painting, cutting tiny pieces of paper into recognizable shapes, sanding the board, preparing the board, making the thing look the way I want it to, sealing the whole thing up against the ravages of time and sun. Well, geez – let’s not forget coming up with the concept in the first place! Good or bad, I’m the one who thought of it and put it together.

I’m still deliberating. After all, I have till tomorrow. I always tell myself that I work and think best against a deadline.

If it comes down to it, I can always just pull figures out of a hat. Then if any of the gallery patrons asks me why such erratic amounts, I’ll tell them that even my pricing is a work of (conceptual) art.

Dear Starving Ones,

I’ll be a bit on the short side today. Even though we here in Western MA missed the worst of Nemo (we just got the much friendlier Little Nemo), there was still an awful lot of shoveling to do, our fuel supply is heading toward zero, and I’m ready to take a dive under some blankets for warmth.

I can even make use of this time to do some detail work for the show next month. By the side of my bed I keep some things I can work with while watching netflix on TV (by the way, if I haven’t said it before, let me stress now that if you like movies netflix is a real bargain for the unlimited streaming alone).Anyway, I keep pens, pencils, templates, a box with variously sized & curved scissors, and a lap desk intended for a little kid (cheap) which has pockets on the corners so smaller stuff doesn’t disappear under the bed or get stolen by cats Luckily enough, I was the sort of child who did her homework while watching TV at the same time so this sort of multi-tasking is second nature to me by now..

So today I’m under cover(s) with a Bollywood movie to watch and some “coloring” to do — perfect!

I do wish the best to everyone in New England who is having a much harder time than we’ve had. Lots of folks still don’t have any power, and the snowfall has been incredible. Over three feet in some places, while we only had 15-16 inches. My thoughts are with you, New England comrades!

Personally, I’ve never been a football fan, and usually don’t even know who’s playing in the Super Bowl. Yes, I realize it’s the Great American Holiday but I just can’t understand the entertainment value in eating pizza while watching a bunch of huge guys smashing into each other But that’s just me. My own Mother is looking forward to the game (although I think in her case it has more to do with being a Beyonce fan than anything else) and so are a lot of my friends, even the literary ones.

However you feel about the Super Bowl, here’s my advice on how to make it an opportunity for artistic endeavor. If  you dislike it and don’t even want to watch the commercials and have managed to avoid committing yourself to being present at any parties, well fine. Consider the day to be your own Art Holiday, and spend the day undisturbed and free to work on your stuff. No guilt.

If you are for any reason watching the game, use it as an opportunity to sketch the human body in motion. Since these are very large bodies, this exercise should be especially helpful to those of you who aspire to be comics artists specializing in superheroes. You can also practice delineating a veritable panoply of emotions, as you watch faces expressive of hope, despair, joy, rage, etc. etc. If you are aspiring to be a commercial artist, take note of the memes being used in the extra-special advertisements so that you can avoid what they’re doing (after all, you want to establish your own Brand, yes?).

Have a good time, football fans, and whatever you do, try to avoid any discussion about the huge amounts of money football players get paid. Those same muscle-bound hunks you see tearing around the field like gladiators today might easily wind up in wheelchairs in their fifties. They’re making a sacrifice and a compromise to keep the Great American Holiday going, and I hope they’re also making some good investments.