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Blog the First

Who wants to be an artist?

To be an artist, you have to be an entrepreneur and an eternal optimist. It also helps to be crazy, sometimes, although that is not obligatory. There are those who say that wanting to be an artist is itself a sign of madness. They may be right.

Artistic madness can manifest itself in many ways. Some are so overt that you can't get away from them fast enough. Others are wild eccentricities well hidden beneath a relentlessly ordinary front.

But enough of madness - we can always come back to it. What about enterprise? Like it or not, art is inextricably bound up with commerce. Therefore you have to be enterprising to get anyone to notice your work. If you want to go beyond filling up your house with your work and giving it away to family and friends, you have to convince someone that what you have created is worthy of their cash.

This brings us to the eternal optimist. Your optimism has to carry you through a lot. Galleries will turn you down, or get you to pay to exhibit, only for nothing to sell. At the end of your unsold exhibition, you have to pack everything up and take it home again. That extra space you enjoyed for the duration of your exhibition disappears and you are back to having piles of paintings stacked against the walls.  

Who buys paintings? Why do they buy them? Billionaires buy famous works of art to show off their wealth and as investments that they hope will increase in value. Hence the record prices being paid at art auctions nowadays.

When it comes to less wealthy people, the vast majority never buy art. Of those who do, the majority of them want boats on the water, cute puppies, something to match the drapes, etc. Art for art's sake? Stick it in the spare room with the rest of the unseen masterpieces.

Regardless of all this, I persist in creating unrealistic art with a limited appeal. Every once in a while someone buys one of these - often enough to keep me going.

Recently I exhibited my work in a shopping mall, which had vacant space that was offered to artists for free. I was alloted a week and was joined by a few other artists. After six days of driving there every day, setting up, hanging around all day, and packing everything away in storage every evening, I sold nothing. One of the other artists managed a few sales - he does beaches and cute puppies. More power to him. 

It was a good indication of how art rates with the general public. People going to the supermarket in the mall had to walk past the art display. Most of them didn't even look in that direction or register any indication that they had noticed it. Some would give it a brief glance before moving on. A few would take the trouble to look. A few of those liked what they saw and would stop to engage in conversation. None of them liked what they saw of my work enough to buy it.

Would I do it again? Maybe not - but I will keep looking for opportunities to display my work anywhere that will have it. That's one of the reasons why I created this site. I may be languishing in obscurity like millions of other wannabe artists, but at least I'm on the internet - at last!

Now to find out if anyone is reading this. I welcome your comments.