So here’s the thing. I’ve never had any commercial representation (well, DUR like I haven’t mentioned that about a zillion times before but stay with me…) and to be honest I have, for some time been terrified of it. My time ensconced in a happy studio collective a few years back was both fun and educational but I was pretty exclusively surrounded by artists who were and are taken pretty seriously in both the art community and the marketplace, who made some (if not mucho) income off their practice and to a man seemed to be full of resentful stories about the wrongdoings of their dealers.
While once it had seemed to me that the logical way to make a living as an artist was to match-make yourself with the right dealer and if your primary practice didn’t seem to have a market, develop a sideline, once I had vicariously lived-through-my-studio-neighbours, I instead saw this path as a trap. A trap I figured I was smart enough to avoid.
However here I now sit a) having failed at art teaching b) having failed at arts admin and worst of all c) with sketchbooks, notepads and odd dusty back rooms of my brain piled high with unmade works that have not had the equipment, time or money to be realised (those good ol’ art-related jobs that keep your toe in the industry are, to be fair, immensely valuable for the experience and knowledge gained within, but the pay is beyond shite and the demands on both you and your time stretch way beyond the boundaries of your employ). This means my art practice has a particularly slow burn and what’s more I seem to be skint.
So what’s the next step? Well, monkeys and squeaky pigs are pretty cute but for whatever reason (honesty, practicality, plain old snobbery…?) I don’t view them as a part of my practice. Sure, I hope to find a place to sell them because I really need some cash (hey, the brain assisting naturopathic supplements I’ve come to rely on aren’t free you know… ) but they are pretty much without philosophy or concept. A product. A simple toy. And what I imagine I will be able to charge for them actually leaves me on less than minimum wage for their production anyway, to tell the truth.
But I know I could make ART that sells. I have a good eye for trends, memes and waves of ‘taste’ and if I knew I had an art pimp ready to take stuff on I could be churning that art out. I don’t mean to be facetious of course, I really couldn’t make things that I didn’t at least like myself, but at the moment I could quite happily pass myself over to life as an arts-titute. I know there are artist acquaintances of mine who think I am nuts in that I never expect to make a buck out of what I do… but am I just fooling myself if I believe otherwise?
I ask you my tiny readership – how do you get pimped? Are disgruntled complaints about the pimp system justified or just a bit of a whinge? Would the artist-neighbours I once had really have been better off without the pimps? Is it really so predictably naff as you being ‘discovered’ by someone? How does the whole pimp-deal work? I mean I know the general going percentages for the art-pimps cut, but are they pimping you, day in, day out and occasionally advising ‘we’re running low on art, can you please do some more pitchers?’ or do they only go a-selling when you are the feature of the week in your bi-annual, just-me exhibition? So many questions because I am so naive about this whole system… I’m not joking… I just don’t know.
My artwork is one of the rare things in my life I have very few doubts about. I stand by it. I have received a lot of great positive feedback about it lately, both here and by email and so I am really interested in the lack of response here to my monkey-product (as opposed to the capital A – ART). You are small but usually so regular, Readership… are you telling me by your silence to screw the product, just make the art?
If so dear Readership, could you please do me a favour? Unlurk and give me a piece of your mind. Also, tell me your experiences (and those of others you may have) of the dealer/artist (I still rather like pimp and artstitute as terminology though but let’s be clear…)relationship in the comments. No names please. Let’s play nice. Informative but nice.
And now I’ll go ‘cause speaking of art I have a fantasy of a creeping cat-fungus that I want to realise…