2019 has been off to an insane start. Everything is new, fresh, and ripe with opportunities. I have a new career as a visual designer with an amazing garden center, and the freedom is refreshing. There is so much creativity bubbling there, and so many like minded artists and creatives to work with and get to know. My new schedule will hopefully lend itself to more time spent on my art after hours. I’ve already felt the inspirational pull to throw some things together, which hasn’t happened in quite some time. I think springtime does that. The flowering cherry trees are blossoming and more trees are showing new growth, so it’s an optimistic time.
I had the opportunity to have a small art show in January, and the painting shown in this post was something I created before the show. I ended up starting a whole series of paintings large and small, but with a similar, ethereal theme. This experience in January, however, was the most unique one I have had to date. I have shown my art in various venues-restaurants, cafes, a bookstore, a few boutiques, some small co-op galleries. This particular venue, I was told, was a small, empty place close to many of the popular galleries the general public frequents for the First Thursday art walk in Portland.
The gentleman who approached me about having my art there was enthusiastic and genuinely interested. When I arrived in the afternoon to hang my art, the space had been taken over by random furniture, bookshelves with books and Xbox games, random pictures, a microwave on a sticky table, and a flimsy cable that was supposed to be “an art gallery type hanging system” that was basically a clothesline. I was so incredibly disappointed. The man who wanted my art there came in and started gutting the place, and we barely cleared the space in time for opening. He had to hang sheets to cover some furniture. Barely anyone stopped in. I had some wonderful support from friends and coworkers, but this was by far the worst art show I’ve ever experienced.
Yes, I checked the place out before saying yes. It was empty. Sometimes people are desperate to get traffic into their business and use artists as a way to do so. Other times, people want the prestige of saying they hosted an art show. This time, unfortunately, was the latter and it was not supportive of me as the artist in any way. So often, artists are given opportunities because it’s exposure, but is it the right kind of exposure? Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s always good. I hope another desperate artist doesn’t have the same experience I did.