Discover more from Harry Stooshinoff Painting Newsletter
I Don't Do Art Exhibits....So Why Am I Doing This One?
Buckhorn Arts Festival, August 19th and 20th
I lost interest in exhibiting in galleries quite a while ago. What interested me most was taking full control of my own art sales, selling and promoting my work online.
There were a lot of things that turned me off from showing in galleries:
I pay how much?….40% (or more) to show with you? And how do I know how much work you are doing for me? Ahhhh…I don’t….and chances are you might not be doing very much for me at all. Why?….because you have a lot of artists in your stable (I love that word,…it’s like I’m a horse), and mostly you just hang the art and collect the money. If the money starts regularly coming in for an artist…..you’ll take the time to build and pitch a sales story, otherwise you’re just stocking dead inventory. Artists for you are, more or less, passive income.
I hated having my work out at multiple galleries with inventory lists. Out of sight, out of mind! Even with lists, I’d lose track of where my things were, and this was exacerbated by the fact that things could be out for a long time, making it even harder to mentally keep track of where things were.
Do you think all gallery dealers are scrupulous? Boy, could I tell you some stories! I remember having a long conversation with a police sergeant in the early 1990s about best strategies for retrieving artwork or securing payment from a prominent Winnipeg gallery owner. And I’ve lost some great paintings over the years because the dealers simply disappeared.
Mostly it was a pain in the ass talking with gallery dealers. They see artists as a dime-a-dozen commodity, but to be fair, most of the artists who approach them are just plain bad, so they come by their cynicism honestly. But even once they took you on, if your work was not moving quickly, communication with galleries was just a chore.
Once I started selling very regularly online, I pretty much stopped selling in commercial galleries completely because I wasn’t willing to tie up the work for any period of time (online buyers want the work when they buy it…not 3 weeks from now). This is also the case with arranging shows for civic galleries. I’m just not willing to tie up the work for a month, so I don’t pursue those options.
Spending money on framing, as well as storing, and properly safe-keeping framed work is an expense that can quickly get out of hand. Crating and shipping cost, time and effort spent, all reduce profits and incentive. For many years now I’ve been selling very profitably and easily online, without any of these headaches! So it’s not so hard to see why I don’t really care to show in commercial galleries anymore.
Perhaps I’ll stop there. I still show locally sometimes, and in a very small way, if I like the people involved in the galleries, and if I like the space, and if I appreciate their effort. But I do this more out of genuine interest in the people involved, rather than any large profit motive.
So why am I showing at the Buckhorn Art Festival? I showed there about 5 years ago and I really loved the location and exhibition spaces….….simple as that! The community center is charming and perfect for summer showings of art. There are 11 small galleries, each housing between 4 and 11 artist booths. And the intimate spaces are perfect for showing my small framed pieces.
If anyone is in the area on August 19th and 20th, I’d love to see you; I hope you’ll drop in and say hi. The link is below:
I’ll be in a building like one of those shown above.
Here are some photos of my booth the last time I exhibited there. I think I’ll be more spare and sparse this time, and not include so many works.
Incidentally, I think it would be a great business opportunity if someone locally opened a gallery fashioned in this manner. Offer semi-private spaces, 8 x 10’ or a bit bigger, rent the spaces monthly, and have at least 10 spaces in one building or location. And do make it semi-private……the division into separate spaces is absolutely essential. I would opt for something like that.
Thanks for reading Harry Stooshinoff Painting Newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
This year I’ll be showing mostly the pieces on panel I’ve recently been framing in floater frames, like the 2 images below, and the one at the start of this post. These will be 8 x 10 and 8 x 8 inch panels, and I love that the framed pieces feel good in your hands, and look great on the wall.
And I’ll also show a very small selection of my miniatures, which all have a magnet on the back. The photo below shows a few on a magnetized board. I have hundreds of these, and I have no idea how many I’ve sold so far, but it’s many hundreds. I just love making them. While I’m not interested in doing most art shows, if the opportunity ever arose to show a fridge in the center of a gallery, with 3 sides covered with my magnets, I’d do that one! :) ….nothing else in the exhibition space….just a fridge completely covered with my magnets. And of course, you’d come to the fridge to get your drink while in the exhibition space.
All work produced on a daily basis is listed almost immediately to both my online sites: