I've spent much of the last week designing new pieces and prepping them to be quilted. The tops themselves sometimes take days or weeks to ponder over until I'm satisfied, and then the rest goes quickly. And, as seems to be my fashion, I like having a small stack of work to quilt one after the other. Maybe I'll start on these this weekend -- maybe not, we'll see.
I've been in a bit of an artistic funk lately. It's not the "lack of inspiration" kind of funk, more like the "what the heck am I doing and where am I going" kind of funk.
I really like my work, my surface design and my art quilts, and apparently a lot of other people do as well -- at least they tell me so. But I have always had an enormously hard time selling my art, whatever medium I've been working in. I've always had an inclination to sell because 1) I produce a lot of work and I want to get it out there, and 2) I am frequently encouraged by others to do so, or to try, anyway.
But all the marketing and networking and friending and connecting I've done over the years in an effort to sell myself and my work, all the Open Studios and Open Houses and Arts Alives and Art Shows, all the mailing list building and postcard printing and event inviting, and all the press release sending and online venue developing, has netted me nothing, really, in terms of building a base of clients or customers or supporters. It's really been demoralizing.
I live in an area of the country where there are maybe five artists to each potential art buyer in the county...where tourists to our area want to buy inexpensive artsy stuff...where there are no decent art shows at any time during the year...where there are no real galleries and thus virtually no dedicated gallery space. And this is what it was like before the economic downturn!
And speaking of the economy, there seem to be signs of recovery all over the U.S., at least according to the multitude of artists who's blogs I read, who have successful weekend art shows, numerous and regular customers for their wares, well-attended gallery shows, ad infinitum. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that while other artists seem to be expanding in countless ways, I find myself having to contract just to stay afloat in the world these days. Because everything I've attempted in the way of getting my art out there -- for at least the last ten years -- has disappointingly failed as well as virtually bankrupted me.
So I'm left thinking, maybe what I do ain't so great, after all.
My intention here is not to do a "woe is me" kind of thing, rather to get a grip on What's So, insofar as my art life is concerned. How it's been for me is How It Is. This has been my reality as an artist. I admit that I feel angst over the whole scene, of which I like to think I am a participant, but from which I usually feel more like an outsider, because I haven't yet found what works for me...and I often wonder if I ever will.
I've begun considering other options with my art, maybe teaching workshops and writing more...channeling that creative energy in new ways for me. So stay tuned to see what develops. And thanks for coming along with me.