One of the true joys of working in the art business is getting to meet artists. Most of them are wonderful people.
Over the years I have come to recognize artists fairly quickly when they come in. You can almost always spot them. Not all of them, just the ones that have never sold any of their work. The ones that think an occasional weekend arts and craft fair is "The big time". The ones that have taken an art class at a local community center. These people stick out.
They are the only ones that ask and say things like:
Do you have water colors? I only like water colors.
I'm looking for a charcoal.
Any thing specific. Figurative, landscape...?
No. I just want to look at charcoals.
How do you decide how to price your work? How much does the artist get out of that amount?
What do you pay for the frames?
Where do you have the gickles made? Do you make them yourself?
All of which brings me to a lady I met this morning. Her face could have curdled milk from across the room.
I could tell before she spoke, what she was about to ask and how the conversation was going to go.
Lady: So, what are these? Gilsays, no doubt?
Me: To which of "these" are you referring? And It's pronounced, giclee (Zhee-clay).
(alright, I may have taken a tone with her)
Lady: Any of them. These all look like gilsays. I can tell.
Me: Actually the one right in from of you as well as the one beside it are oil paintings. The price is usually a give away.
Lady: Those are not oils young man. (wait for it...here it comes) I paint. You can't paint that smooth. That's a print.
Me: Actually, you can paint that smooth if you know what your doing. That, and I would never be able to sell a print by this artist for $23,000.00. An oil yes. And we do.
Lady: Have you ever tried to paint young man? Paint leaves a texture. I think you should spend a little more time learning about the things you are selling.
At this point, several things went through my mind. I could tell her to get bent. I could explain to her that I have multiple advanced degrees in art. That this was in fact my gallery blah blah blah...
Instead, what came out was a very loud belly laugh. I just couldn't hold it or help it. She was just too funny. Her unwavering arrogance was more than I could take. The look on her face when I laughed at her, was priceless. I turned and went back to what I was doing and she huffed off.
And I have only been open for an hour. It's going to be one of those days.