Today I . . .
. . . took a cute picture of my dog . . .
(or an average picture of my cute dog, your call) . . .
. . . woke up for a pretty sunrise . . .
. . . painted a soda can . . .
And planned a trip to Cinque Terre, Italy, with one of my favorite and closest friends. Yummers to all of the above.
. . . Oh yeah. And I forgot that I also sustained bodily injury trying to carve a balsa wood totem pole.
I'm finally getting prints made!!!
It has been one of the most difficult errands I've ever completed in my life. Mostly because I couldn't decide where to have them done, but I finally settled on a place in Bethesda. I gave them jpegs on Thursday, saw a proof on Saturday morning, and am now going to collect the finished products tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. My dad said the prints look (even) better than the originals, which I've decided to take as a compliment.
So now if anyone wants to buy any prints, they are all available. I can mail anywhere in the US or abroad, and prints are $200. They are surprisingly expensive to have made!
In other news, I've turned the basement into a studio. The pros are that I get to keep my supplies out instead of tucked away in my bedroom and I don't have to worry so much about stepping on my pallet when I wake up. The cons are that my fingers are numb from the cold and it smells like cat pee. All in all, arguably a fair trade. I'm thinking about exploring some new techniques/styles. In particular, I'm gravitating towards Art Nouveau (especially the lettering) and better use of foreground/background e.g. perspective.
That was me being sentimental lol. Actually, now I've sold a few, and it feels pretty good. I mean if people are buying them it's not like they're going to be shredding them or anything. Presumably.
My roommates offered to let me pay rent in paintings. I guess this blog is all about what it's like to try to live an artful and sustainable life, so paying rent factors in. But I have to tell a secret here: It makes me really sad to give paintings away, and it only hurts a little less to sell them. I don't like the idea that even if my paintings do well and people enjoy them, I could end up not owning any of my own work. Also, people always ask me to give them paintings — they always have some reason why they deserve it, and it's usually very compelling — and I would LOVE to do this, but I can barely afford materials as it is.
I'm thinking maybe selling the originals is not the way to start out, anyway. What I'd love to do is get into children's book illustration. The originals would be paintings, with the images printed in the book. That way, it's artistic, collaborative, and reaches many people, yet the originals are still with me.
As far as the New York show goes, it's going really well! Starbucks is great. I wish they would consider me a part-time employee and give me benefits. I still own the originals of all the paintings in the show, and these comprise almost all the works in this latest stylistic series, so I feel pretty good about it. Right now the show reminds me of what my parents say every holiday season: Any time my four sisters and I are all back in D.C. for the end of December, my parents insist on taking pictures and video ad nauseum because, as they say, "This may be the last time we're all together!" Aside from being slightly disturbing, this proclamation gets more tiresome every year, because every year, there we all are, together, posing for the last picture we'll all be in together. But as far as paintings go, the minute I sell one, that's the last time that painting will ever be together with the rest of the collection. I know big artists get to have shows where their works are flown in from private collections, but I don't see that happening any time soon. So for now, I'm trying desperately to keep the family together; but resigning to the fact that if I don't find a commercial outlet for the images, I may have to let the chickies fly from the nest.
I thought I was impressed with the Baristas, but I'm doubly impressed with Tim, who met me there in the wee hours of the morn for no payment other than the cup of coffee I forced on him. It would have been so sad without him, especially because I was ACCOSTED by this gentleman as I was hanging my art work.
He looked to be in his late twenties and he was ogling the paintings, so in an attempt at gauging interest, I walked over and asked if he'd like a card. He looked at me and said, "No."
Me: "Oh, cuz you were looking at the art."
Then he paused, and, turning back to the paintings, he said:
"I guess they'll call ANYTHING art these days."
GASP!! OMG lol I was like, what? So I DID gasp, and I smiled and said:
"That's a mean thing to say!"
Anyway, the conversation progressed for another 20 minutes. The guy started telling me about how there are "standards" in art and how if "judges" came into the Starbucks I would be laughed out of the place. I don't expect everyone to like my art, so I wasn't really upset, but I was surprised that it seemed to offend him so egregiously. Anyway, pretending that I didn't care, I kept on hanging. My first brush with some of the snobbery that comes out of the art world.
After lunch, I was feeling pretty good about things, because, with the reasoning that any reaction is actually a good reaction, I remembered that the impressionists were in fact laughed out of where they tried to exhibit (the Academy). Clearly, they kept on and ended up doing pretty well for themselves. So if people are that indignant about what I do maybe that's not such a bad thing.
Tim and I left to have lunch in Brooklyn, after which I returned to clean up the things we left (sadly, there was a lunch rush trying to negotiate their way around a ladder and several unhung paintings). As soon as I was finished and putting the ladder away, an older gentleman stopped me and asked if I was the artist. I could sense a kindly gleam in his eye, so I said yes. And then he told me he thought they were wonderful and they made him smile, and that he and his wife had just been fantasizing about how if they had a place in the Caribbean they would garner it with my art. It was amazingly nice.
So apparently this art show is very polarizing, which is actually something I'm starting to develop a taste for (I'll have to make my art even more colorful to keep this going). I still prefer to get compliments, but I'm now also really interested by the fact that someone out there dislikes my paintings so vehemently.
I'm working on making my paintings ready for hanging! Gotta get up at 5 a.m. to hang them in the Starbucks at 665 Broadway, NYC. I can't remember the last time I woke up that early when it wasn't to go to the airport. I'm so impressed with the Baristas who do it on a regular basis. It remains to be seen if I will be a total grump tomorrow.