21 March 2008

Decisions...Part Three

Entering into the beginning of our third "Season" we have come to the conclusion that this isn't the right place for us. As much as I love our gallery, it's not working. We could get by, but we want more than just getting by. Or, if we are going to just get by, we want to do it some where we want to be.

We have looked to hire an employee. A person that could run the gallery and keep it open. It would not have to make nearly as much without Precious and I here. After interviewing almost 40 people I have decided that there is no one on the coast qualified, or trust worthy enough for me to hire. I can be a bit hard on people but this was ridiculous.

People showed up to interview drunk, high, un-bathed, in dirty clothes, no shoes, un-combed hair. I am willing to cut some slack because this is a small beach town with a laid back sort of hippy vibe, but come on. Let me share a couple of my favorites.

Remember, we are a fine art gallery. The average work is about 3 grand with paintings up to 40 thousand.

Woman number one shows up in a tie died shirt, dirty jeans and flip flops. She hadn't bathed in days. I could smell her from across the desk. When she opened her mouth to speak she was missing all of her front teeth.

Man number two came in well dressed. We knew him already. He had worked at an other gallery in town. I asked him to tell me why he left the other gallery. He spent twenty minutes telling me how stupid the other gallery owner was. That the other employees were jealous of him and conspired to get him fired. It went on and on and on.

Needless to say we wont be hiring anyone. Sooner or later we will be closing the gallery.

One of our problems is the lease on our house. It ends in May. The beginning of our alleged Season. It seems foolish to close the gallery at the beginning of what should be a time to make some money. Our house land lord is not willing to rent to us month to month with out doubling our rent. As cool as our place is, that is something we can't go for. So if we stay through the summer and then close, we would have to move for five to seven months, close the gallery and move again.

I recently spoke to a gallery director in San Diego just to feel things out. With out hesitation he told me that he would love to have both of us in his gallery and would hold jobs if we came down in the next couple of months. If we leave now we can't get any of our money back. If we wait through the summer we could get some of our money back but then we would miss out on the jobs available now as well as having the moving issues.

We have also talked about splitting up. No, not like that. We're all good. Precious would go to San Diego in May, stay with some friends and find us a place to live. As soon as she does I would hire movers to deliver all of our things. Mr. Man would spend some quality time with my parents. I would stay in Cannon Beach, work the summer at the gallery and milk it for everything I could. At the end of the Season or when I had made some of our money back I would close it up and head to San Diego. The mere thought of being separated from them makes my heart ache.

So far this is the option that seems to make the most sense. Neither of us are really willing or wanting to give up a chance to get a little of what were told we would get. Besides, bankruptcy doesn't seem like much fun.

There is the outside chance that we could have an April that is three to five times above our gaol. That would solve all of our issues. Some how, I don't see that happening.

5 comments:

eclectic said...

MW, I'm awfully sorry. I'd picked up bits and pieces here and there, but didn't fully grasp the whole story until now. You and Precious are to be commended for how long and how well you've stayed the course.

Being apart is difficult, but not impossible. Mr. Eclectic and I experienced that when we were transitioning from Orlando to here, with him moving here and me staying there (with our eldest who was just a toddler), keeping our income steady while he forged a new path for all of us. It wasn't our first choice, but it was the best we could do, and it ended up just fine. Made for a tough year, but we came out the other side stronger and more certain of the value of what we have together.

Best of luck to you both as you tackle these tough decisions!

Mad William said...

Eclectic,

Thanks for the support. Things are about to get very interesting. It's a good thing we love an adventure.

Elleda said...

Hello Mad William,

I'm a photographer, and I live in Astoria. I did numerous studies of the area before I moved up here, and already knew that the majority of the resident population, the "locals," have little disposable income. Everything hangs on the tourists, which seems to be the current trend for North Coast towns.

Unfortunately, it's a lot like the lottery ... you never know when or if the tourists will show up or not. And it's not like California, which really has no significant seasonal changes ... there is a distinct, and short, season here.

Plus, as you well know, the gas prices have put a very large dent in the tourist industry on the North Coast. Those who finally do show up often have little disposable income, and what they do have will go on food and gas, not art.

Anyway, I'm digressing from the point I wanted to make. I came up here because I needed to. Artistically and personally. If I make money at my art, it's a blessing; but I don't expect it, and never did.

I was born in New England, on the coastline, and then lived in L.A. for 22 arid and awful landlocked years. L.A. and California were, to me, a cultural and inspirational desert. I needed to be near the sea again, and to see Victorian houses again, and be back in the closest thing I could come to a fishing village.

So I guess the bottom line is that it's your expectations that have failed you, i.e. they were unrealistic for this area, and you were the victim of some pretty snappy salesmanship. Yes, probably in 20-30 years the Big Sur comparison might work, but then, in my book, it would be time to get the hell outta here.

In the meantime, I wish you and your family the best, and hope all good things come to pass for you.

Cheers,
Elleda

eclectic said...

Wishing you lots of chocolate -- Happy Easter!!

Sizzle said...

What a difficult situation! I'm so sorry you are going through this. Your last option does seem to be the wisest even though it will be so difficult to be apart from your family. :(