I had a birthday a few days ago that was a marker and a quiet, grateful celebration. After all, we are still in our isolated bubble of quarantine. However there have been a number of recent events that have caused me to reevaluate what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.
Let me begin by saying that since 2014 when starting to paint professionally, there has been a conscious strategy to build work content and establish professional credits. This has been in the way of competitions, museum and university shows, residencies, sales, and in the last eighteen months…galleries. The time sorting through all the business aspects occupies 8-12 hours a week minimum. Keep in mind that does not include the actual studio work, which includes mundane tasks such as framing, packing and shipping.
Work has progressed steadily according to plan (as I learn how to handle rejection and acceptance) over the last 6 years. I was even starting to make enough to pay for materials and shipping with a small amount left over. Sales were brisk, but came to a complete halt at the beginning of March with COVID. I have been constantly worried about my galleries’ ability to stay in business in this new world. So far, they have managed to do so with obvious limitations. This time period made me reassess my relationship with each of the galleries. Each one desired a little different kind of work and for different audiences, which has not been an issue so far. Regretfully, I decided a few days ago to pull out from one that seemed an uneasy fit. Thankfully another one has taken its place and seemingly with more opportunities and more aligned with my philosophies. I have been working for the last few months to supply the needs of each of the galleries. All good, except that I have noticed a new propensity for playing it safe and a lack of innovation. After my “marker” birthday, which always causes me to take stock, I decided to spend the next couple months painting for myself and experimenting more. This seems vitally important in context. Subject matter may stay within the same vocabulary, but the physicality, materials, and processes might change significantly. Time to switch it up a bit.
I am also increasingly more involved with doing work for selected non-profits. The latest upcoming event is for our local Hospice in conjunction with Peter Roberts’ Location Gallery and my friend and Arts Advocate, Beth Logan. These community events are always something to look forward to. An Instagram friend also just pointed me in the direction of possibilities for helping develop a program to fund minority art students…still in the conceptual stages.
As I am in the midst of revaluating, these considerations will hopefully serve as an impetus for the next few months until COVID and the world stabilizes. I am fortunate enough to have several solo shows upcoming in the next year that keep will keep me focused and on track. I think it will be good to reset a bit.