Monday, July 23, 2012

"it is art, not just pictures"

I have posted all of the work that is displayed currently in the Glen Ellyn Library on my Facebook page. As I said before, I go through love-hate stages with social media like Facebook, but this time I have been pleased with the response I've had from all my "friends". One of the nicer things that has happened is this conversation with an old school friend. Tim and I were classmates all the way from kindergarten to high school graduation. We went to a very small school overseas which leaves our classmates with an unusual bond.
Tim gave me permission to post this conversation. I asked because he said such observant things and I felt that he really understood my artwork. An artist longs to be understood simply from the art without lengthy explanations and confusing wordy "statements".
The conversation: ( I have highlighted most important parts in blue)

Tim: I don't have time to react in full but your stuff is tremendous and should probably be priced at 10 times what you have listed.
Jan: I agree. :)
Tim: I don't have a business degree but I have been in business, sales and marketing all my life and it is so easy to under-price things but I am referring to the quality here. You technique is excellent but there is an extra quality that I note that makes me think of the early 20th century masters. What I mean to say is that it is art not just pictures. It is very hard for me to describe what I think in words.
Jan: Thank you, Tim, I appreciate that you say so. I am not having much success in sales here. I priced my large canvases much higher- average $1000. and no one buys those either! So I thought since these are smaller I would make them affordable to anyone and at an impulse buy level. I am not getting any response locally yet. I often give my art away to my good friends, which is why I don't make any money with this.
Tim: I don't know if I could sell my "children," if you know what I mean. Perhaps if they were limited edition lithographs. Anyway I have no idea why some artists sell and others don't. Of course a lot of those early 20th century artists whose paintings now fetch millions of dollars never lived to see that. Some person of means needs to start collecting Janice Skivington watercolors. 
Jan: I hope so!
Tim: It is funny my tastes in art usually runs to surrealism (like DeChirco) or abstract (like Miro) but your paintings speak to me beyond the obvious use of color, proportion and balance. To me it is what is in the spaces in between that reaches out and grabs my attention. You must first have great technique (I know you have been an artist since you were young but you have the chops, like they say in music, the practice to carry out much, much more than just pictures of flowers, which would be fine anyway but it wouldn't necessarily be art to me), then you have to have some sort of spiritual dimension which speaks to me in ways that a photograph of the same couldn't do, even though I would enjoy that. I appreciate that you mentioned that you draw from life not photographs you or others take and that to me means that you can smell them which somehow is conveyed in your drawing, as if you are my sense of smell by proxy.
I didn't mean to imply you need to make money at your art, it is it own reward and dollar value is just that. That looked like a nice exhibit at the library. I am only stating that I have been to art museums and art galleries all over the place including New York City where I think you work would pass muster easily. How does one break into that scene? Do you really want to? I am going to look at those again and again.
Jan: Tim, you have made my Day! Thank you, so so much. Your discourse here is very informed, You do know a lot about what makes something "Art". Most people can only appreciate the bright colors or the realism. It is as if you have really "looked" and seen what is me in the painting and what I really meant to say when I painted it. Yes, it is what is Not there in a piece that tells you more. An artist has a lot of information in front of her when she works and a number of skills to employ. It is the decisions, the editing that makes a work into poetry.
Jan: I have enjoyed our exchange so much, I wish I could make it public on my FB page.
Tim: You can copy any of this conversation (my suggestion, cut and paste it into a Word document and then cut and paste it into a posting) with my permission. I only made this private but now it is your choice. It will undoubtedly generate more comments.
Yes, we were Faith classmates and yes, perhaps I am a bit prejudiced but I wouldn't have bothered to write those additional comments had I not reflected on them first. Good luck and God bless. (I am going to download those photos of your art work and look at them again.)