It’s Showtime!

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Veiled Remarks

“I know I’ve grown as an artist when even though I think the damn car is just an O.K. shout, since everyone likes it, I’ve included it in the show”.

– Stu Jenks

I’m getting ready for a large show next month and am in the throws of the typical artist dilemma – what to include??? Since I do all of my own printing, cost is less of an issue than for others, though each piece has to be matted, framed or stretched and all that adds up. Then there is the question of wall space. Which pieces should be on the walls and which should just be matted and sold from bins? Photographers have the added decisions of what size(s) to print and on what material. How many of each to have on hand?

So how do you decide? There are the pieces that you love but you suspect the public may not wish to stare at in their living room every day. Then there are the old warhorses that you are sick of but sell year after year. There’s the new work that you’ve had little or no feedback on and the stuff you can’t bear to look at any more (but someone seeing it for the first time could love it!).

Do you ask for advice from your friends? Do you focus on what is likely to sell? Do you factor in the likely demographics of who will see the show? Do you show your best individual pieces or is it better to show a body of work, or at least groupings that are related, even at the expense of some overall quality?

Let’s not even talk about pricing… Or coming up with names for everything – that gives me a headache.

As in most things, I think the best strategy is one of balance. I’m going to have some work in the show that is just for me (my tastes are a little unusual for where I live) and some that I suspect will sell (because it has before). Some work will be new and some not – even though we get repeat visitors each year, the majority are first timers so the work is all new to them.  I’ll have some good stuff, some stuff that’s OK and probably a few that should not have seen the light of day.

5 responses to “It’s Showtime!

  1. Yes, it is always a quandary– whenever you put your work in a show– the hope for sales lurks but the desire to do what you want that might not appeal to the viewers is also strong– I live on a small island north of Seattle and the local art scene is traditional and — I just deleted the word I really wanted to say.
    Anyway, because I do non-objective paintings, I have decided this is not the place for my work. The best of of course that you put out your best work and they will still sell…I think artists can go round and round on this.

  2. Donna

    These are murky waters, muddied not only by practical considerations like money, but psychological factors like wanting your audience to appreciate the work. Interesting how some of us end up living in a place where we are an (artistic) fish out of water.


    I must not have shown you some recent things I’ve been doing…

  3. I don’t know If I said it already but …Great site…keep up the good work. 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Tony Brown

  4. I’ve been asking myself this question lately about blogging. Should I screen out more of the stuff I’m posting? Or is it more about just putting it all “out there” and letting folks choose for themselves. Sometimes people say nicer things about images that I like less. In fact, just got a watercolor into a juried show, and it’s one of my least favorite pieces. Even thought of withdrawing it… And sometimes I go back and remove a piece from my blog archive cause I really don’t want to see it again, even if someone else might. On the other hand, my favorites don’t always get accolades.

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