Alone on the Prairie

Drawing in the StudioHomesick Blues, Angst, and My Modest Request for an Awesome Gallery Owner

Well if you read my blog in the past you might have noticed that I would generally post at least once a month, which was my goal when starting the Creating: A Life blog experiment. Well it has been since early summer since my last post and it is now early winter, we are into this year’s holiday season. I suppose there are numerous reasons for the lack of posts, the most prevalent being that I went through a period of disliking computing and also being disheartened by my artistic career. I am not sure how to think about or appreciate the new phenomena of social networking. I don’t believe I am a complete Luddite, however I am reluctantly accepting the fact that it is and will most likely be a major aspect of my life and career as an artist.

At the core of my being I am a home-body, who would rather stay relatively close to my domicile, and within close proximity to family members. However, not so close that I can’t disappear into my studio. As a stay-at-home dad with a converted garage studio, I have grown to love my domestic life. As a result of the Mid-Western winter with its negative below temperatures and numerous feet of snow, I am starting to miss my extended family. This is more prevalent this year as my wife and I decided not to travel the four-six day trek to and from my North Eastern relatives this December, its no sleigh ride!

This decision was difficult, because we both love being with family during the holiday season and we especially want our son to be with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. So that he will feel comfortable with them, especially if he ends up a single child. It pains me to think that he might be lonely in this world. Even though I know he will be, it is inevitable, loneliness seems to be major aspect of the human condition. The car trip is grueling and often filled with treacherous weather conditions and flying is not economically viable. We also need some together time. In addition, I desperately need some major studio and career building time, because, I am feeling quit a bit of angst about my artistic career.

The thing is my artwork is going quite well and I am happy with my new series, the “Poisoned Cocoons”, however, how do I effectively market them? When I was an academic, my main focus was making the work, exhibiting it, and publishing it. It was great when it sold and it did subsidize of my studio, however, selling was not as financially critical then as it is now. There are so many questions that I don’t know how to answer, when it comes to promoting my artistic career. One of the down falls of arts education in general, is the lack of promotional skills introduced, encouraged, and/or mentored by institutions higher learning. Most colleges and university art programs train pupils solely in the skills of making art, and currently graduate students are primarily trained and prepared for teaching positions. This is the path I successfully took, until my resignation from academia.

I now see how unfortunate it is that, I and many other educated artists received little or no training in the area of artistic self promotion and marketing. Especially, because I once was in a professorial position and might have been able to help artists-in-training promote their artwork. What I did gain from my education is an appreciation and knowledge of good effective art. Since, I have honed my art making skills and received some notoriety as an artist, I know that my artwork has worth to some collectors. The question is, how do I promote my artwork in such a way that it maintains its worth to more collectors, businesses, institutions, museums, and galleries, and do it on an extremely limited budget? I know that it can be done, there are people who do make their livings as fine artists, so I have hope.

I am slowly taking steps to start gearing up for an art work promotional push, but I do wish I was closer to my extended family in the east, to pull from their emotional support. And of course it wouldn’t hurt to be closer to the eastern cities and their appreciation and financial support of the arts.

So suffice it to say, I am feeling “alone on the prairie”, and some how I have to “pull myself up by the boot straps”, “kick myself in the butt” and embrace my current situation. Chances are no one is going to come along and become my patron, those day’s are pretty much gone as we artist know, especially in these woeful financial times.

Pieces and PartsHowever, I would really love a great gallery owner to fall in love with my work and believe holistically in its potential and purpose as an artistic commodity and promote it relentlessly. This is a possibility is it not!

So hello there Great Big World, I am sending you good energy and hope via electrons, the internet, social networking, asking you to please lead me to the most awesome gallery owner and/or agent the world has ever known, or at least that I have ever know, to help me promote my artwork!

4 Responses to “Alone on the Prairie”

  1. mike Says:

    hey man, great blog. to the tune of what you said in your blog i think theres a book that might help out a bit. its called art/work. its a book dedicated to the actual business of selling and marketing art. from studio space to gallery. its full of tips that they dont touch on in college. the book has alot of input from collectors, curators, gallerists, and anyone else you might be marketing to.

  2. Dan Says:

    I have had my challenges with my career too but I can hardly imagine myself not doing the kinds of things I do.
    I hope you stay true to your a/vocation.
    I love your work. Its clever amusing with its sly humor and visually interesting twists.
    Maybe when I’m making tons of cash with my career, I’ll buy one of your sculptures.
    In the mean time be well, and enjoy.

  3. Frances Figart Says:

    Gerard, I love reading your blog as I can hear your voice as I do so.
    As an only child with a great number of really close friends who are like family, I think your son will not be any lonelier in life if you don’t have more kids.
    If you have stuff to promote, I’m happy to post info to my network and would be into doing an interview with you for my blog. You can see another artist interview I did here:

  4. Teresa Savard Says:

    Gerard–so much of which you write here is being very closely paralleled (almost eerily so, in fact) in our own household. Rob is currently out of work and trying to be a stay-at-home Dad to our two-year-old foster child and at the same time make room in his life for the incredible surge of creative energy he has been experiencing for about the past year. He is constantly in the garage (his shop) and is currently consumed with creating a human-powered vehicle for entry into a kinetic sculpture race held here annually in the spring. For this particular project, he actually does have a patron, a friend we met through Barry Richardson several years ago in Lexington who now lives and is a practicing physician in Oregon who is also passionate about being involved in this project. It is a really exciting time for Rob, but also frustrating, because,well—–because child care and creativity are just a really awkward combination on the best days, and also because the financial hit to our family with him out of work for two years has been a real blight. But, he is as engrossed with this as I have ever seen him, and your blog reminds me that art is a calling and the muse can be unforgiving. I try to be a good wife and give him space and time to create without nagging, because that’s what I would want if I were creative. I am very thankful that there are men like you and Rob around because that creative energy is such a huge essence of the life force. Thanks for writing and sharing your journey. It has been good for me and Rob to read this and to realize how are lives are paralleling in some significant ways right now. I hope the patron of your dreams comes along soon. And, last, but not least, if we ever get any cash flow again in our lives (ha ha) Rob loves your recent work and wants one of them in the poisoned cocoon series.

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