Friday, April 19, 2013

Down— But Still Up

My two spring shows, the Arts and Conservation project and the Parade of Artists, have come and gone and I have two main observations. One: the fine-art market is still depressed, and two: the appreciation of fine-art is still alive and well.

As an artist I'd like to believe that fine-art is an intrinsically important and valuable commodity to the general public. But reality and common sense make it plain that it is not as important as things like food, gasoline, and a place to live. Imagine that.

Art lovers visit my booth
at the 2013 Parade of Artists
I first noticed the downturn in my own sales about four or so years ago– the same time that the US and world economies took a heavy hit and have yet to recover. People and corporations alike not only have less cash reserves but are still uneasy where this is all headed. They are loathe to spend money on anything not a necessity. And art certainly falls in that category. Let's face it– fine-art is a luxury good and I don't expect to see brisk sales until the economy in general rebounds to a rosier outlook.

The second observation is that people still have a keen interest in and appreciation of fine-art. At my second show venue I was together with eight other artists. Although I was back in the far corner from the entrance to the facility there seemed to be not only good traffic through my booth, but those coming through seemed to be generally animated and upbeat about what they were seeing.

One young couple, in particular, stuck in my mind as being particularly interested in my work. I spent probably fifteen minutes or more talking with them about the photographs they were looking at. And they were not only interested in the photographs themselves, but wanted to know in detail the background of why I chose the specific artform that is my forte and how each photograph came about. I was almost certain I would make a sale, but, alas, it didn't happen. In the end, however, I was gratified that someone seemed to deeply appreciate my work, sale or not.

Later that night my wife and I spoke about some of the events of the day. She had volunteered (thanks again, "Pootie-Pie!") to act as our wine and refreshments "wrangler" for the two evenings and had been stationed at a different corner of the large room. Her location gave her a different perspective from my own and her perch allowed her to witness the interaction of the show patrons and many of the artists. Before I had said anything she mentioned a young couple (turned out to be the same ones I had remembered) that stopped at the booth of every artist and engaged each of them in extensive and intense conversation about them and their work. She said it was great to see these young people with such an appreciation for fine-art.

Although it somewhat deflated my estimation of the uniqueness of their appreciation for my own work, it still gratified me to see that awareness, comprehension, and affection for fine-art in general is still out there.

For those of you engaged in producing art, but have been discouraged of late concerning your sales, just "keep on keepin' on," because there are still many out there who are interested in what you are doing.

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