Saturday, October 29, 2011

Am I invisible?

Time to bring all of the plants indoors, and my house now looks like a jungle! It got cold yesterday after the beautiful week we had and today is a cold wet day, I'm firing the kiln and drinking lots of warm tea. Also cleaning my house, which may be the last cleaning it gets until mid December. Scary I know, but I can't do it all and I have quit trying. Right now there is clay, that's all....... I can fit in time for Gerry, time for Wesley, time for my friends, but I can't fit in grocery shopping and cleaning and laundry. It will just get done when it gets done, that's all I can promise.
I have something that has been on my mind and it won't go away. I find that if I purge it all here on my blog it goes away and I feel so much better. So, I may regret this later, but I'm just going to say it anyway. It's my blog and I'm over 50 so I have excuses for my behavior :)
This began a while back when I stopped by a gallery in a nearby town to drop off some postcards and ask if I could show them some of my work. Without ever even looking up from her computer screen the gallery owner said sure, she would be glad to take a look at my work, never really acknowledging that I was actually standing right there in front of her. I found this behavior offensive, impolite and it made me feel extremely insignificant. Now, you know how artists are with self doubt when it comes to our work. I mean, I have all the self confidence in the world. I am not too bad looking, I am mostly a nice person, I will treat you right if you treat me right, sometimes I even brush my hair, I have a great family, I basically like my life and what I have done with it (for the most part). But I am an artist, and I do question my work from time to time, because there is so much great art out there to compare myself to, and one has to be careful, because when you start comparing yourself to others you walk on treacherous ground. So, when a gallery owner barely acknowledges you when you are standing right in front of them, here comes the doubt monster. So that happened and then she turned me down after all, stating that I was over represented, big fat lie there!
So then other things happened. I applied to Frank, the local "it for the moment" gallery. I got turned down. Yesterday, I was in there with a friend of mine, and there is a bunch of work in there that causes my eyebrow to raise and causes me to make faces, and I KNOW my work is better than a lot of work in there, so I say to myself WTF? and then we go into a local museum store across the street. This gallery buyer also said to me when replying to an email inquiry, "sure, please stop by any time and introduce yourself, we look forward to working with local artists". Soooo, I did stop by to introduce myself and this very same woman told me she did not have time for me, and that was the end of the conversation. Very impolite, again, feeling pretty insignificant here. And then yesterday, the cherry got put on top, so to speak. My friend and I went in. This woman appeared to basically develop a crush on my friend and actually interrupted a conversation my friend and I were having. She followed her around the store, it got weird, because my presence was never acknowledged at all. She said not one word to me.
So this leads me to wonder, do I become invisible from time to time, and I don't know that I have this magical power?
I know my work is fine for galleries, I sold both pieces last year in the very wonderful American Craft Today show at the very wonderful Bascom gallery, my work sold in the NC Landscape show at the VAE gallery, I sold a bunch of work at my solo show at the NC Craft gallery and I continue to get checks from them and the Bascom for work they have. I have decided that I want to sell to galleries and step away from the outdoor shows I have been doing. I would just as soon pay the commission to the galleries as pay booth fees and waste my day at these idiotic food fests. But, I don't want to work with assholes, so after Christmas I plan to start looking for charming, kind and artist friendly gallery owners and see if they want my work. There are some out there and I would love to work with them. Sara at the NC Craft gallery is one of the great ones. After I sent an inquiry to Crimson Laurel gallery recently I got a very warm and professional email reply and I hope to see them sometime in the new year. And there are others, so if I survive the CDCG show and the Chatham Studio tour, I am going gallery hunting with some new work I have in mind. That's the plan, and I'll take off the invisibility cloak when I go see them :)


John Britt said...

Tracey, Go with what is working for you and screw the others. Work with the people who like your stuff. Remember the Van Gogh couldn't sell shit and felt bad about his situation but now look at things. So even the best artists have trouble! Keep plugging away.

Tracey Broome said...

Yeah, but he cut his ear off in frustration haha!
Thanks John, I really like where I am right now, and I'm not too worried about the people that are to snotty to pay attention, their loss. My work sells and people that buy it are very happy, that's what matters most to me!!
Steady as she goes......

cindy shake said...

A couple of thoughts... First your art and you are fine. Finding the right "fit" is tricky and time consuming. Go with your gut. Money is tight right now for EVERYONE including galleries and other retail shops -causing everyone to be a bit more cautious and even cranky. Not to make excuses for rude people (rude and mean people suck) but I think everyone is feeling the pinch of the economy. Your work (like many artist's work) is unique and will take a more educated and sophisticated buyer -and may not be the "sure thing" that all retailers are looking for these days. Move forward your plan is sound -that sounds a little too Magic 8 Ball didn't it?! ha!

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Cindy: thank you for your thoughtful comments! For some of the folks in Chapel Hill, the economy seems just fine, lots of docs around here! I am definitely looking for a more sophisticated customer, the ones that understand what I'm trying to say :) and the galleries that get that as well.
How is the move going?!

Anna said...

If the gallery owners in question KNEW how much energy and work just went into finding venues and introducing your self, let alone the work put into the art itself, maybe they would be less rude. Do ya think? Don't sweat it. Those that pass are definitely on the losing end of this deal.

Tracey Broome said...

Hey Anna, thanks. You are so right, artists spend so much time doing everything but art, getting good photos, editing, burning CD's, writing resumes, artist statements, designing business cards, mailing shite, dealing with printers that never work when you need them to, kilns that f up your work, glazes that f up your work, dropping, breaking, rejection, sitting at worthless festivals,then there is the whole Etsy thing, what a time suck, and other media outlets, it just goes on and on if you want to actually SELL your art. Now if you just want to make it, that's easy!!

DirtKicker Pottery said...

I'm invisible to assholes too, and I prefer to keep it that way!

Tracey Broome said...

Cindy, that's too funny! Thanks :)

Scott Garrett said...

Tracey, you are absolutely NOT invisible, but i've been out drinking and i try not to comment pissed!! ha. I will be back on this one.

Don't stress it though.

Patricia Griffin said...

Keep both your ears Tracey! You'll need 'em for hearing all the good news coming to you in 2012!

Tracey Broome said...

Scott, it might be fun to hear what you have to say, come on! Thanks Patricia, yeah, I'm not into the ear cutting thing haha!

Dennis Allen said...

I'll go with the notion that you have discovered invisibility.The real trick is learning to control it. The word verification is taterant.You know, what one does when they are served an undercooked spud, or it might be the bug that eats the potato salad at the picnic.


OK... see... this is my great fear! i am TOTALLY uncomfortable with the rejection scenario, on top of the fact that you don't always know WHY you are being constructive feedback... so this crazy red streaked hair, not afraid to say anything and usually will try anything chick is PETRIFIED to approach the galleries BUT this is exactly what my plan is to do next...and I AM TERRIFIED.
I just can't keep selling on Etsy and out of my studio... I need to get this stiff OUT THERE so I have been developing this EVOLVED body of work create a strong presentation... Of course I never feel prepared enough and it starts to stack up...and I know I need to do this... but IAM FRIGHTENED... and I know INTELLECTUALLY, that I need to just go for it... so I have been meekly entering juried cup shows,
awaiting the big turn down... etc and I am creating a new website and moving forward... The shows around me never seem like the right venue... especially next to the ladies making shrinky dink jewelry(which don't get me wrong...I think is very cool...) and apple head dolls... I need to find the right place for my work... So I will go forward(knowing that I am not alone) but just know...I AM SHAKIN' IN THE KNEES SISTAH!

Tracey Broome said...

Dennis, I like to have a good tater rant every now and then! Judi, it's not that bad to get rejected once you get used to it haha! I hear ya though, just go for it!!!!

cookingwithgas said...

I see you and so do the folks that buy your work.
Gallery owners- are way over rated for their taste- remember they buy what they like- OR who they think is important. When did we allow them to dictate our lives? We need to the buyer decide what they like - not be told what they like.
You do not need these folks they need you.

FetishGhost said...

Rejection has a sport for some of us.It can can almost seem like a game, find a gallery, dream yourself in through the door and revel in the answer of "No". Just don't freak out when someone says "Yes".

imagine said...

I wish you would walk through this door, I just know that you wouldn't be invisible.
Plus we could have a good talk and go for a beer.
Tracey Just remember who you are creating your work for.
The only critic that you should listen to is that one inside your head.
I just bet that you find fault with your work all the time, while the rest of us just see the beauty and originality.
But that is what defines a great artist, finding fault and striving for perfection.
"The next one will be the best one".

Just don't give a seconds thought to the idiots who don't want to show your art.

Was there anything about them that impressed you?
I doubt it, so forget them.

You "will" get to where you want to be because you are driven, talented and a good person.
Haven't you heard "that good things happen to nice people".

Anyway, as for rejection!
I am turned down every week by artist's that are too good for us, and it hurts.
"Legends in their own minds".

So what do I do?
Sulk for a while, but then approach them again and again.
After a while getting kicked in the teeth doesn't hurt,
plus I do it with the conviction that I know that we
[artist/gallery] are right for each other.
Believe me persistence does sometimes pay off, and
if you believe in something or someone it pays to be "thick skinned".

But ask yourself, were the galleries that you approached good enough?
I doubt it.

Paul Jessop said...

I agree with John at Image, when I first started I got turned down by a gallery and since then they have come back to me twice to ask if I would supply them, "No go fuck yourself" is what i shout in my head, but I'm a polite sort of guy so I just graciously decline. ( It makes me feel so good inside to be able to say no).

Paul Jessop said...

Just realised I missed a trick
what I should have said was

" Who said That"1

Anonymous said...

hi tracey,
i'm no longer surprised when i have my invisible cloak on... some people's self importance is just over the top and now i know that those simply do not have the time or energy to acknowledge my presence. this is really a good thing though because they are doing the weeding for me. imagine you get into the gallery that treated you as if you were invisible, now imagine trying to get your check from them. good business people are good throughout their gauntlet of tasks... in the case of a gallery, that would be from meeting a prospective artist to displaying and selling to mailing out the checks and re-stocking. if they're bad at the get-go, it's doubtful things will suddenly improve. the invisibility i like the best is when i'm out with sofia's mom and someone we both "know" flirts with her and ignores me... it informs me on how much time and effort i should expend on their behalf. i liked the post though and am sure you are not invisible with the people who count. wes' song in the previous post on the video is great... you must be swelling with pride

Tracey Broome said...

Hi guys! I was trying to keep up with comments and then I went to unload the kiln Full of fabulous things I might add!!!
Meredith, there are some gallery owners/buyers that are great so boo for the asses.
John, I would love to walk through your door and I will one of these days! I love everything you post on your blog, so I know we would have a great time having a beer together! and thank you for the wise words :)
Z, rejection does make you better, if for no other reason that spite haha!
Jim, great point about getting a check from those with questionable manners! Thanks for the comment about Wesley's song, we are SOOO proud of her!!! As you are with Sophia, just wait until your girl has her first gallery opening, you will explode!
Paul, I scream that same comment in my head all the time and sometimes it even pops out of my mouth!

ang walford said...

see.... now that would have made a great video entry :)) and what John said apart from the ear issue of course!

Tracey Broome said...

Yes more videos, I hear ya!

TropiClay Studio said...

I feel like you, Tacy. The only time I have been able to show anything in a gallery,they just needed filler that would take up space and highlight the college prof's work. I think I surprised them a bit though, as I sold almost as much as he did! Now they say they want another show of my stuff soon... guess I'll have to get busy raising funds for a kiln.

Tracey Broome said...

I applied for a grant to get my kiln, maybe you can find some grant funding around somewhere for teachers!
Congrats on your sales!!