09 July 2007

Gallery Talk...

This week in the gallery has been one of the most frustrating ever. Town is packed with tourists. They are more than happy to pay too much for a hotel room, too much for mediocre food, too much on the clothing stores and way too much on candy and ice cream. When it comes to the art galleries, we all hear the same things.

Art is only for the rich.

I don't know enough to own art.

Our decorator wont let us buy art.

I only buy art in big cities.

Is this a museum?

Do you ever sell any of this?

That's more than we spent on our house.

Is bronze a metal?
Most people that come into the galleries assume that, we are just shop workers that know nothing about what we sell. That we are the artist that painted everything in the gallery. That all of the work is local.

There are days when I listen to each of these things and try my best to educate the person. To explain to them why everyone should own art. I tell myself that if they just open their mind a smidge, that they will understand and someday they will buy something.

Other days, I look at them like they are speaking Greek and shake my head in disgust. Knowing that this country is doomed to mediocrity and Thomas Kinkade. Both of which are fates worse than death itself.

We have been in this town for a year now. This is the beginning of our second tourist season. People come from all over the world to visit here. Most of them come back year after year. For the life of me I still can not figure out why. Even though we have signed new leases on the gallery and our house, Precious and I have come to the realization that this is not working. Neither of us have a clue as to what it takes to sell art in this state.

The artists we carry have their works sold all over the world. We hear people talk about seeing them, owning them. But here they only want to look.

We will keep trying new things. Trying the old things that worked for us in other places. Hoping that business will turn around and we can make a go of it here. We like it here.
We will also be looking for other place to put a gallery. Looking for other galleries that might need or want our help. Looking for galleries to take on my work as part of their featured work.

I will keep painting, because it's what I need to do in order to keep a hold on what's left of my sanity.


Iron Fist said...

I was actually in your town yesterday (albeit only long enough to grab something to drink from the market and then head back to the beach) and yes, the place is completely overrun with tourists. And the thing about tourists is that they prefer gaudy and overpriced to quality.

It's a shame, really. Just from what I see of your art that you post on this site, your stuff is fantastic.

Dave2 said...

I dunno. I love art and cannot imagine my life without it. I purchase at least one small piece of art on every vacation I take as the "ultimate souvenir."

Mad William said...

Next time you're in town let me know, Bill's brews some great beer.

You're a rare breed. Anytime we travel art is about the only thing we bring home. It is truly the ultimate souvenir.

beta-carotene said...

I'm assuming you'll be open/home/in your town on Thursday... ?

My current plan involves being in your town on Thursday and I would love to stop by your gallery if it works out in my favor.

Sheree Rensel said...

As I read this post, I thought how the story sounds so familiar. You aren't alone. When you described your tourists, I chuckled. I was thinking the very same thing yesterday. I live in St. Petersburg another tourist Mecca. My daughter is in town, so I decided we should go to Busch Gardens. Playing tourist myself, I found myself shelling out big $$$$ at every turn. I looked around the crowd of thousands and thought "All these people are like giant bank rolls, yet I bet they don't buy much art!"
I think your at attempts at educating gallery visitors is a good thing. I cringe when I think of a former neighbor who often told me she didn't "get" my art. Hmmmmmmmmm This is coming from a woman with a giant, monochromatic, extremely ugly, and poorly rendered "Pelican" painting on her living room wall. I couldn't even look at that monstrosity. You say you continue to paint to keep your insanity. I think a lot of artists do the same. Work and hope are our food for life.
Sheree Rensel