I’m very aware of my inability to paint anything new right now. It’s too close to my first exhibition. My brain doesn’t seem to have the capacity to do anything other than preparing. I’m flipping past pretty pictures in Instagram without taking so much as a screen dump. Normally a picture of a nice brick wall would lead me to start up a new painting. I have several canvases at home; it would be easy to get started. But nothing is happening.
I know what this is about. I’ve been here before. It’s the exhibition, and it needs to be finalized first before I can let it go. And start fresh on Monday.
Meanwhile I am shopping for hammer and nails, candy for the visitors, and I distribute folders in the neighbors’ mailboxes. Not to mention the constant marketing on social medias. I have planned for transport of paintings, how to pack up for transport, and I have written names and price tags. Soon everything will fall into place and I can be my calm self again. Tomorrow is when the fun starts. It’s time to connect.
An open exhibition is the traditional way of displaying your art. It’s a good opportunity for the artist to meet visitors and buyers and to be able to see the painting through other people’s eyes. Equally exciting and terrifying.
To be present when a potential buyer sees a painting and while interpreting it, giving it a life of its own. Where I as an artist no longer participate, other than from the side stands. If I adapt to this mindset, I think I will feel less anxious about how others might think of my paintings.
The alternative would be to perform a digital exhibition with glossy pictures on a website, and a web shop where you could click and buy the painting of your choice. Question is; would it present the same feeling? And what about the in-person connection; is there still a need in the digital case? Theoretically a meeting between artist and buyer could clearly take place via Skype or similar IT-solution…
But isn’t it rather about the surroundings in which the painting is situated in? Whether it’s a modern gallery or a minimalistic and exclusive web site? Perhaps this is the heart of the matter, the general impression you get as a buyer? Although, when thinking about it one more time, the artist is in fact a rather large part of the surrounding. When buying a painting, you are buying the whole package, the artist work and the history behind it all. Maybe so. I’m still nervous.
Mostly I’m nervous because I find it difficult to be in the center of attention right now. I’m not sure on which foot I should put my weight; the one with the paintings or the other one representing my own work. In a way my work is already done. It’s no longer supposed to be about me at all. But how does one detach from the painting to become merely the gallerist?
We’ve had our talks, the paintings and I. One for each painting, like a one-to-one.
Someone explained it beautifully to me that it’s about communication. Saying good bye to the painting isn’t so hard when you’ve had a continuous dialogue throughout the process. The good buy is only the final step. For me the dialogue continues also during the periods of time when the painting have been standing alongside a wall. Waiting for me. Many times the conversation is without spoken words. ”You need something else, don’t you?” A quiet confirmation. I nod and agree.
Ending the conversation with: ”You’re ready now, right?”