Went to two art shows this past weekend. Mixed reviews. I like to listen to the comments people make while viewing the art and comments made later, from both other artists and non-artists. Some artists don’t want to know what people think of their art – they want only compliments. I love compliments, but an honest review is most important to me. It isn’t that I want to please everyone, improvement is what I am most interested in. Mom always told me I was the best while dad asked if it was possible to be even better. Dad was pure German. Dad instilled in me the value of quality; put out the finest work possible, use the best materials, never cut corners.
One of the art exhibitions this past weekend seemed to be more about cutting corners. Being frugal overshadowed the art in the exhibition. The very first comment I overheard was that the frames seemed to come from yard sales. I could not help looking closely at the frames after hearing that comment. A number of the works were not even framed, simply matted and wrapped with cellophane. The venue for this exhibition was designed well for its purpose; great lighting with plenty of room for viewing the art. With so many artists looking for places to exhibit, this seemed like a wasted opportunity for these artists to really show off their work. Instead, they seemed more interested in selling inexpensive prints which were poorly presented.
Art is like no other product. Every artist who steps into the marketplace becomes a small business with a unique product. So unique that the public identifies more with the artist than the product. That is why it is so important for every artist to build a name for themselves. With other products, people can go online and search out the best deal and see reviews from others who have bought the same item. With art, every work is unique and every buyer is unique. People buy art for different reasons. For some, it is an emotional thing while with others it is a matter of matching the colors of the couch. One thing all buyers want is value for their money. They want art that is going to last. Buying a work that fades or falls apart in a year or two does little for the artists reputation.
My most embarrassing moment was having a frame fall apart at an opening. Trust me, I never used that framer again. I had a painting fall apart after it sold too. After those two incidents, I began researching the products I use. Not everything out there for artists to create with are safe for one’s reputation – and reputation is all we have. So when putting a exhibit of your art together think hard about how you want the public to see you. Cutting corners may be a solution for the present but how is it going to work in the long run?