Today's postings

  1. [Baren 32037] Art appreciation (baren_member # barenforum.org)
  2. [Baren 32038] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V36 #3657 (Oct 14, 2006) (Myron Turner)
  3. [Baren 32039] Re: Baren Digest (old) V36 #3657 ("Marilynn Smith")
  4. [Baren 32040] RE: art festivals long post ("Maria Arango")
  5. [Baren 32041] Baren Member blogs: Update Notification (Blog Manager)
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Message 1
From: baren_member # barenforum.org
Date: 14 Oct 2006 14:26:03 -0000
Subject: [Baren 32037] Art appreciation

Message posted from: Dale Phelps

"what general art viewing public's interests are?"

I hope that the art magazines that I subscribed to, but am letting lapse, (Art News, Art Forum and Art in America) donít represent what the general public appreciates. One of the reasons that I went back to school to get a BFA was learn to understand the art that is being produced currently. While I may understand it better I still fail to appreciate it any more.
I think that there are many different types of art appreciators in our society just as there are many different opinions about everything else. If we could get everyone to love relief prints (including critics and jurors) it would be great for awhile but then we would probably be inundated with printmakers!

Dale Phelps, Waterloo, IA
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Message 2
From: Myron Turner
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 09:30:33 -0500
Subject: [Baren 32038] Re: New Baren Digest (HTML) V36 #3657 (Oct 14, 2006)
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In reply to Jennifer's question:

> Hi Regarding Myron's statements about printmaking:
> "One of the things the reviewer seems to be saying is that Mike's prints
> may have interest to Mike (and by extension to other printmakers) for
> their technical achievements but that this interest does not necessarily
> carry over to the general art viewing public."
>
> I'm sure it's my habit of living in a vacuum sometimes, but can you
> explain what general art viewing public's interests are? What would
> these be?
> Landscapes? still lives? Animals? A Few abstracts based on the first
> three
> ideas.


I wasn't referring to any specific type of work or subjects, etc. By
"general" I simply meant "non-printmaking". Because of the technical
demands of printmaking, printmakers often tend to be pretty
technical-minded, as is evident from the subjects which occupy this
forum. So they may admire and even over-value technical achievements.
Of course this can be true of any art form when seen from the point of
view of insiders. But I think it's more so for printmaking. But from
the point of view of the outsider, the viewer, the reader, etc., it's
not so much the how as the what and the impact. When we watch a movie,
as the ordinary film-goer, we may respond to the overall visual effects
of scenes, but we aren't thinking about the angles or the editing, if we
even know what that is. Yet, to the film-maker the editing is of
enormous importance. I see this sometimes when I go to the movie with
my wife, who has been involved in video. She'll remark on something
about the editing, but it's gone right over my head. I'm just the
general movie-goer.

Best,

Myron
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Message 3
From: "Marilynn Smith"
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 10:12:31 -0700
Subject: [Baren 32039] Re: Baren Digest (old) V36 #3657
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I have sold work, I have traded work and I have talked to people who think
they know all about how to sell art.

The general public is very unpredictable. I sold this old "copy" oil
painting at our yard sale for $5.00. It was not an original nor a style I
paint and I did not want to recycle the stretcher bars, just wanted to
unload the thing. No it was not plagerism either, so please do not go
there. This young couple came by, obviously young working professionals and
just loved it. It was a beach scene, they were at the beach. There was
another, actually in slightly better shape but it was not a beach scene and
it did not sell. A friend who thinks he is a great painter (have never seen
any of his work) from California told me not to paint my full sheet
watercolors of our bay because people do not want to buy large pieces of
art. One should paint things say about 12x16 so that people will always
have a place to hang it.
Yet a donated piece that was in part abstract brouht in over $500. for
charity. My husband always says to me to "paint what people will buy". My
dear elderly painter friend in Mexico paints only abtracts and he sells a
lot of them. If I spent my time trying to figure out what people will buy I
think I would go absolutely crazy.

I have done set up shows and hated it. Maria to me is amazing. But this
route is not for everyone. You have to be willing to give up weekends,
travel around and set up and take down all your stuff. You also have to be
willing to suffer through all the negative comments as well as the positive.
You have to be willing to go to a show and sell nothing and handle that both
psychologically as well as financially. You have to be able to watch the
public spend money on just plain junk that is "cute" and walk right by what
you have. You have to have good health and a lot of energy. And you have to
learn how to handle the public yourself. If you decide to go this route do
indeed listen to Maria.

Otherwise create what you want, enjoy your art, sell it any way you want or
choose not to sell it at all. If you do it for yourself than no critic will
stop you because you know in your heart that this is you and that you have
to create because that is your lifes destiny.
Marilynn
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Message 4
From: "Maria Arango"
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 17:02:00 -0700
Subject: [Baren 32040] RE: art festivals long post
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I'm just going to re-write some of Marilynn's comments; please don't take
offense or think of it as argumentative toward Marilynn; merely turning the
tables a bit under a more positive light. Perhaps I am just trying to
translate them and maybe in the process debunk some myths and put things in
perspective. Perhaps I am just justifying my very very happy existence, but
then, we all do that, don't we.

> I have done set up shows and hated it. Maria to me is
> amazing. But this
> route is not for everyone.

Not amazing, just stubborn mostly and, I confess, I have found my "calling"
in being completely independent of others in order to both make and sell my
art. I'm a loner and the life suits me. The life is indeed not for everyone.
It is simply the hardest most enjoyable and rewarding thing I have ever
done...did I mention hardest?

> You have to be willing to give up
> weekends,
> travel around and set up and take down all your stuff. You
> also have to be
> willing to suffer through all the negative comments as well
> as the positive.
> You have to be willing to go to a show and sell nothing and
> handle that both
> psychologically as well as financially.

Give up weekends? Well, when you have another job in order to support your
art, you have to be willing to give up your WEEKS! Traveling is a lot of fun
for those of us who enjoy it, so I don't see that as a negative at all. I
get to enjoy cool Colorado in the hot summer and the balmy Southwest in the
winter. Raising and lowering the "gallery" goes with the territory and you
get very efficient (everything rolls and folds) and look for boy scouts at
the end of the show. Setup and tear down are really just part of the life
and I would set up my booth every day rather than punch a time-clock every
again...let alone wear panty-hose. I don't really give it a thought any
longer, not as long as I have Ibuprofen handy :-)

Negative comments yes, but you get those in galleries too, even on the web.
A saying comes to mind: "If you want to avoid criticism, say nothing, do
nothing, be nothing." I have never sold nothing. Put a brick in front of ten
thousand people and one of them will buy it. Put something beautiful in
front of ten thousand people and ten or twenty of them are likely to buy
something. Did take me about two years to get a consistent income coming in.

> You have to be able
> to watch the
> public spend money on just plain junk that is "cute" and walk
> right by what
> you have.

That's the darned truth. But if you think about that, then you have to think
about all those galleries carrying Thomas Kinkade repros and then you might
as well give up right then and there. Don't think about that. I don't think
Kinkade affects the sale of woodcuts one iota. I don't think all the giclees
in any given show affect the sale of woodcuts. I KNOW someone selling cutesy
Christmas ornaments or frilly shiny hangy thinguies that sparkle in the sun
does not affect the sale of woodcuts. It's a myth, really. People will spend
money on what they spend money. Nobody will spend their food-money on art
and conversely nobody will spend their art-money on frilly shit. People go
to the mall and blow half their paychecks on crap too, but that doesn't
affect me either.

> You have to have good health and a lot of energy.
> And you have to
> learn how to handle the public yourself. If you decide to go
> this route do
> indeed listen to Maria.

Health and energy, absolutely, but the life will give you that back as well.
As for handling the public yourself, heck yeah! Who better to sell my art
than me? A gallery owner whose motivation is only making money? An agent
whose motivation is to keep me on the payroll? Do they LOVE woodcuts? Do
they really really know me and my art?

The fickle art buyer wants to meet the artist first, then buy the art. Some
people come into my booth twice a year for two years before they buy
something. Takes time to convince the frilly-stuff-customer that they REALLY
want to buy art. It is up to the artist to convince them because the gallery
owner doesn't know how, they only know how to convince the art lover to buy
art. Anybody can do that!

And if you don't handle the public yourself then you have to handle gallery
owners and other art promoters, sip a lot of wine and schmooze them instead
of the buying public. There is no escaping talking to someone when making a
living with your art and if I have to talk to someone, give me real people
walking down the street because I can relate to them. Other artists love
talking to gallery-folk and I actually envy them a little. I don't know how.

> Otherwise create what you want, enjoy your art, sell it any
> way you want or
> choose not to sell it at all. If you do it for yourself than
> no critic will
> stop you because you know in your heart that this is you and
> that you have
> to create because that is your lifes destiny.
> Marilynn

If it is implied that if you are selling art you are not creating the art
you want, then this is simply not true. You can create what you want and
sell what you create and live happily ever after. It is yet another myth
that you can only create "real" art if you don't sell art and, further, that
if you are selling art you are necessarily not creating what you want. B.S.
Most selling artists I know have two complete and distinct careers, making
art and selling art. Sometimes I have to yell at that other Maria for making
something that won't fit into a standard frame; if she just would stick to
standard sizes, this Maria would have a much better chance of selling the
darned stuff. The two Marias get along okay but at times they are at odds
with each other. One insists on making strange monochrome stuff and the
other one has to go out there and find the perfect color mat for it so the
public will notice it. The thing is, one can't live without the other;
selling artists have the perfect symbiotic relationship with themselves.

The fickle art buying public that attends art festivals is really really
tired of opportunistic artists that make the colorful landscapes that the
frilly-stuff-customer wants to buy. The fickle art buying public wants to
see something different and, frankly, artists that create what they want for
themselves have an incredible niche among the rest. Black and white
photographers come to mind; I have only seen two or three that stand their
ground and keep their photos self-developed, artistic and b&w, one of them
drives a $300,000 motor home and does only four shows a year. Another one
lives in a small town in the desert in a tiny house and drives a beat up
'60s van en route to 30+ shows yearly. I said fickle public, didn't I?

The myth is that if you are selling art then you are not making the art you
want to make. I guess I make art and have found that my art sells. I don't
sell nearly as much as artists who make exactly what the public wants to
buy, but neither do I want to. Most of the artists I talk to don't sit and
think in the studio, hmmmm, wonder if this will sell. Gosh, I don't have
anything purple, purple is "in" this year.

No, instead, we create, we take a risk and put our art in front of the
public. Some of it sells, some of it doesn't. Collectors look for the
unusual, decorators look for the one that matches the couch,
frilly-stuff-customers look for something small and cheap. You don't have to
please all of them, but chances are, if you make good stuff, you will get
them all to buy some thing, some time. The only game is, you have to put
your art n front of the public.

Maria


Maria Arango
www.1000woodcuts.com
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Message 5
From: Blog Manager
Date: 15 Oct 2006 03:55:06 -0000
Subject: [Baren 32041] Baren Member blogs: Update Notification
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This is an automatic update message being sent to [Baren] by the forum blog software.

The following new entries were found on the listed printmaker's websites during the past 24 hours. (23 sites checked, five minutes before midnight Eastern time)

*****************

Site Name: David Bull, Woodblock Printmaker

Item: Small Print Collection - 8th print uploaded
http://woodblock.com/collection/prints/print_08.html

*****************

Site Name: Mokuhankan Conversations

Author: Dave Bull
Item: Aspen Grove (9) - 4th Set of Blocks arrive!
http://mokuhankan.com/conversations/archives/2006/10/aspen_grove_9_4.html

*****************

[Baren] members: if you have a printmaking blog (or a website with a published ATOM feed), and wish it to be included in this daily checklist, please write to the Baren Blog Manager at:
http://barenforum.org/contact_baren.php

For reference, sites/blogs currently being checked are:
http://barenforum.org/blog
http://woodblock.com
http://woodblockdreams.blogspot.com
http://studiodiary.blogspot.com
http://larimerart.blogspot.com
http://artflights.blogspot.com
http://printmakersmaterials.blogspot.com
http://mlyon.com/blog
http://room535.blogspot.com
http://mleeprints.blogspot.com
http://snowgum.blogspot.com
http://onthisblock.blogspot.com
http://pressing-issues.blogspot.com
http://www.1000woodcuts.com
http://theitinerantartist.blogspot.com
http://PLawing-Printmaker.blogspot.com
http://readdevine.blogspot.com
http://mokuhankan.com/conversations
http://mokuhankan.com
http://belindadelpesco.blogspot.com
http://vizart.blogspot.com
http://phare-camp.blogspot.com
http://amymstoner.blogspot.com