Agony: I recently had an experience at a gallery that “pushed me over the edge”. Firstly, I am an unrepresented artist seeking to show my work and hopefully gain representation. I went into this gallery where I saw the contact I wanted to meet with, so I was encouraged. I gave the receptionist my name and asked to see that contact. She came back and said he was busy. I was annoyed. He saw me. I went out to my car and grabbed my latest Serpent Series Freed painting and went back in and laid it on the floor of the gallery and waited. A couple assistants came and went without saying a word. Then, the Assistant Director came in and saw the painting on the floor and looked at me and asked, “Is this yours? What is this”? I said it was my latest Freed painting. He said, “It is disrupting the flow of the show”. I said, “how”? He said, “someone may see it”. I said, “there is only you and me here right now”. He said, “you could have shown this outside”. I said, “really, no one would have seen it”. He finally said, “look, this can’t be in here. This isn’t how it is done”. I walked up to him and said, “I spoke to the owner a couple of months ago and she told me that establishing a relationship is how it works, so, I reached out and invited her to lunch. No reply. I tried to set up a short appointment to meet with her and the Director. No response. I went to a couple of openings and got about 10 seconds to introduce myself to the owner and Director. I followed up with attempts to make appointments to meet. No response”. So, now, back to my recent visit. I said to the Assistant Director, “I am not looking for a half hour of the Director’s time, just 2 minutes to show him what I am doing”. I picked up my serpent and as I left I said, “I don’t know what the hell else to do”. The Assistant Director gave me some consoling words as I left, but I will never solicit that gallery ever again. Has anyone had an experience like this? I’m sure you have.
Moral of the Story: I submitted a proposition to the Museum of Modern Art in New York to show my work. If there is any place I thought would “blow me off”, it was them. Instead, I received a long, lovely rejection letter. They treated me like a human being. The elitist attitude that the gallery showed me was inexcusable. Soliciting artists are human beings. Treat them as such.
Ecstasy: I wanted to start with the story above so I didn’t end with a “downer”. The ecstasy of being an artist is the privilege of walking into my studio each day and being able to bring ideas to reality. If there is anywhere where responsibility and time seem to fall away, it is in my studio. I will work for a number of hours never really having concern for the time that is passing. I try to quite my mind and focus on an enjoy the peace that I experience as I work. This is important to me because I want to bring that peace with me out in the world as I interact with people around me. I am always challenged and often fail but am so grateful for the next time I enter my studio and get another chance at cultivating that peace for just a little while longer. If there are those of you who know what I am talking about, wallow in your bliss, you deserve it!