Thursday, September 26, 2013

Street Festival XIV .... and a slight rant.


Another one from the Street Festival series, which I worked on again over the past couple of months. This is number 14. Two still on the go, two more finished and ready to be photographed. And I think there are a few more still to be done.

I have mixed feelings about charity events. It is a way of getting your work into the public eye, but I think those who benefit the most in terms of exposure are those who hold the event, not the artists who donate to it. I can't help feeling that artists are used to further other people's ends when it comes to such events. So I don't think I'll do another one for a while, unless there are different terms and it's organised differently. I do have an idea of how to do that .... watch this space.

There is now a definite feeling among artists in Ireland that, unless we are great big names and celebrities, we can live on hot air and the occasional pinch of glitter. That as human beings with real human needs, we do not exist. That we create because we love to do so, and we are a freakish sub-species that can manage without money. Wrong. Artists have bills to pay just like everyone else. Art is a business, just as much as a shop is. Artists need to buy supplies, they need to pay for Internet access and electricity, they use electronic gadgets just like everyone else. Artists have a right to be paid for their expertise, and taken seriously as businesses. A pat on the head and a 'well done' for a piece that took many hours of work and expensive materials is, well, humiliating. But this is the attitude of MANY non-artists in Ireland.

And then there are those who think that the only way to be 'successful' in the arts is to be a celebrity of sorts. Em, no. If you want to be famous, well and good, but it's not a path that everyone would choose. Most of us are happy to work away in our studios, and studying, and writing, developing a body of work of which we can be proud. That is what most artists want as the focus of attention: the work they create. Many of them, if they want THEMSELVES to have that focus, would go about it differently.

Now, if you really would LIKE to actually support an artist you know - the answer is simple. BUY A PIECE OF WORK THEY HAVE CREATED. It's often possible to negotiate a price, but seriously, don't be insulting. Don't offer one hundred Euro or dollars for a large oil painting. That wouldn't even cover the cost of the materials, never mind the time it took to make it, or indeed to develop the skills to make it. It certainly wouldn't include electricity in the studio. Ask the artist how much they would like for it, and offer no more than 20% less.

Buy one you like - you have to live with it. It doesn't have to be an original piece, many artists do reproductions of works, which can be easier on a buyer's pocket. And then DISPLAY said artwork in your office, in your home, someplace where people will see it. There will be comments. Tell people where you got it, who painted it. If you help an artist by promoting his/her work, if you return and they have sold work because you were so nice as to help them in this way, you might actually get a much better deal again the next time you go to buy work from them. I would do this for my buyers. 

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