Sunday, September 20, 2009

Art as Business: Galleries III

The literature for Today's class: Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.
The novel is about Siddhartha’s spiritual journey toward enlightenment. It is a short novel and very easy to read (do not get intimidated by Hesse being a Nobel Prize winner!) I read this novel for the first time more than 20 years ago and I keep returning to it. Read it!

The lesson to learn from Siddhartha: Every one has their own path to follow - and what might seem like a detour can be a necessary excursion to gain insight - an insight needed to be able to continue towards enlightenment.

The focus for today's lesson: Siddhartha knows only to do three things - how to think, how to wait and how to fast.

I actually know how to think (analyse and draw conclusions) - BUT for a long time I thought that the art world was about higher values - and hence I didn't use my capacity to think when it came to my career as an artist.

The art world is a world of hypocrisy because most artists and galleries deny that this world works like the rest of the world. No - it is about higher values. About Art with a capital A. I too believed this. Why did I need to go to that special school? Wouldn't that just shape me like the others? Couldn’t I find my own way? Wasn’t it about how good the art was – not about the person and his/her background and contacts?

Let's ask questions to find answers
There are GALLERIES and there are galleries. And there is ART and there is art. I get to exhibit in galleries without having to work very hard for it. But I want to exhibit in GALLERIES. How do people get there then?
  1. The right schools
  2. The right friends and contacts (see above)
  3. Being “discovered”
  4. X (the unknown must exist: when there is a will there is a way)

I’m going for answer 4. – X - the unknown way. X means I have to do some serious thinking and RESEARCH. To be able to attain something you have to know what you are striving for - that is to be concrete. I will therefore
  1. pinpoint at which GALLERIES I want to exhibit (at this point I can already mention that I strive only for the very best. )
  2. analyse them and the artists exhibiting there
  3. use the analyses to figure out strategies to get to exhibit there myself

To me this means being tactic, patient and persistent. I am not trying to become a prima ballerina and time is on my side. As reaching my goals is important to me I should not rush into things - especially without thinking first. To wait is to be prepared to start where I am. To wait is also to prepare - and to know when you have prepared enough.

  • Meanwhile I think (above) I will prepare for the GALLERIES: better artist statement, better portfolio and updated website, contacts lists, network etc.
To me to fast is to not to abandon my path because I need comfort. I have for example to remember to keep the work with public commissions at the right level: to make ends meet, but not much more. I should always remember that I do not really make money on my exhibitions - and ONLY exhibit my very best art ... and not include something because I (or the gallerist) think it will sell. NO COMPROMISES!
Also: to have the time to work on my own art is essential - I need to keep improving.
  1. continue to keep a tight budget
  2. reserve days for my own creative work in my studio and at KKV (aim: 40%)
  3. Not compromise with my "real art"
To make sure things will happen I have to give myself some deadlines. Right now I am actually trying to concentrate on the "public commission part" of my business. I am already doing so many different things that I sometimes have a hard time concentrating on anything ... so I've told myself I should - if possible - divide my time into concentrated periods. October will still be "public commission period" but I can start up some things for my "gallery period" at nights.
  • order new portfolio by October 6
  • 2 hours every Thursday night should be reserved for "thinking about GALLERIES"
  • Progress Report on my thoughts and Gallery approaches on my blog 1st of November
  • try to spend 40% of my time on creative work in studio/KKV

... so many different things to do, remember and administrate - How Do I manage? Is there a secret? Yes, of Course! The secret could be yours for only $9:90 - send me an e-mail (let the subject be time management) to get further instructions.

Or you could - FOR FREE - Join me next Sunday for Art as Business: Time management!

[this is part 7 in my Sundays series about Art as Business. Here you can read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 - and part 6]


Veja cecilia said...

wow, fokus. du är hur fokuserad som helst. Det känns som att du kommer sopa gatan med hela konstvärlden!

nathalie et cetera said...

i guess I have to re-read Herman Hesse. It's been such a long time. I like the fact that you used Siddhartha as a way to approach GALLERIES. Very interesting post again.

Marchi Wierson said...

thanks alexandra!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Daniel Milton said...

Det ska bli jättekul att följa, såg faktiskt fram mot detta inlägg i flera dagar.

Jag är lite nyfiken på vilka gallerier du syftar på. Ligger de i Göteborg (där jag inte har så stor koll), Stockholm (där jag har stor koll) eller någon annanstans i världen?

Ha en bra vecka!

Aris said...

I have really enjoyed reading all of these posts. You are an excellent and entertaining writer. Maybe you should add writing a book as one of your goals. Seriously!
These are all things I think of constantly. I teach full time and work in the evenings after the kids are asleep and sometimes with my students at school. I need to do some serious goal setting as I am not showing or selling. Thanks for the inspiration.

●• Thereza said...

you're inspiring me to read this book again... great parallels in your analogy... thanks again for sharing such wonderful insights :)

aimee said...

funny, informative, honest and brilliant. as always.

Alexandra Hedberg said...

Thank you all for your encouraging comments! Your comments actually help to keep me continuing with this series...

Anonymous said...

I recently read, "Seven Days in the Art World," by Sarah Thornton, and it was very insightful about all the roles played in the art world from artist, collector, curator, dealer, art critic, etc...It gave me a better understanding of how all of these people function in the art world, and more importantly, just how much they influence what we see in galleries. I would highly recommend it to any artist.

Kitty Kilian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kitty Kilian said...

I wanted to change something in my comment and then it disappeared.. oh wel.. I wanted to say that this blog in itself would make a great axhibit - in a gallery that is so hihgh brow that it dares to make fun of itself!
I wonder how many people around the world are reading it right now..

sarajo frieden said...

alexandra, i'm late to these posts but they are really wonderful. It's interesting to hear your perspective and you articulate it so well! and somehow, though i don't know if you are interested or desirous, i think you should do a picture book.

Momo Luna S!gnals said...

I like it that this post is based on Hesse's Siddharta. I love all his work.
Another great post to keep me going.
Tnx for the tips and inspiration!