I called in to a prestigous gallery yesterday with the proviso of just looking at the artwork hanging on the walls, and the standard and subject matter of whatever they had there. I am still trying to find the elusive “unique selling point” for my art and wanted more involved and concerted inspiration in that area.
The sales assistant was excellent at asking me what I was interested in, showing me the details of some work, and discussing any pieces I made a comment about. I liked her immensely for her enthusiasm, and easy manner. As we were chatting, the manager got caught up in the conversation, and since it was a cold, wet, quiet Monday afternoon was more than happy to chat to me. As far as he was concerned I was a just a woman who was interested in art. It was only after chatting for about half an hour than I mentioned I was a professional artist who would love to have my artwork on their walls, it was *just* (ha!) finding that elusive *thing* to paint. Its not the technicall ability (I have that) its the *thing* I don’t know what to do since I have painted so many things, am so interested in many things. That’s my problem (big problem!). He nodded in total understanding, and explained that most creatives have that problem and have to make the decision of whether to create for three people, or hundreds. I nodded, and said that most work I do is for commission, which I much prefer doing since I know what I’m doing and know what I am going to get paid for it. But…. I realised that that was the *three people* he was referring to. If I paint for the hundreds I have to change my subject matter, but then, as a creative, I felt that I was selling myself short just to please the mass market. He then said something really profound that I hadn’t considered before, that most people know that classical music is technically better than pop music, but most people would rather listen to the Beatles than Chopin. And even Mick Jagger who has earnt an awful lot of money from playing his music at concerts can’t play the new stuff he’d rather sing, because his fans (me included!) want to hear the old, familiar stuff that they prefer. If you are a creative, you have to do the stuff you want your mass market to buy, but try to put in the newer stuff bit by bit if you can, but you may not get the chance.
I asked with a grin what his gallery was looking for, currently, from their new artists, and he replied with the answer I was expecting. You can’t name WHAT it is, you just KNOW it, when you see it. When the hairs on the back of your arms rise up with excitement, then you KNOW it. Its that elusive *X Factor* (no, not the talent show on the telly) that all galleries are looking for, and he said with a big smile that if he could find THAT he’d become a billionaire, bottle it, and buy a small country, probaly ………..Italy!!!
I thanked him and his assistant for their time and help and I came away inspired and still on the search for the *thing* that I need to find.
And today, whilst looking at the artwork of one of my favourite artists I noted that she had stated that recently she was changing her way of painting more towards figuritive art, which I presumed meant that she much prefered painting it to the other stuff she is well known for. And realised, that even she has done what Mick Jagger does, pushing the stuff that sells rather than the stuff that they prefer…….