“…pay for space and art comps…are they really worth it? “

Below is an extract of an article by ‘Spike’ from the latest issue of Tubes magazine – Spike is the resident critic of painters Tubes magazine.

Artists to read the full article. You can register as ‘preview’ reader on line (free to read full magazine) by emailing Tubes with your name and email putting ‘register me’ in the subject line. A password protected link will be emailed back to you. tubes@telia.com

painters Tubes magazine , art critic, Spike, talks about pay for galleries (vanity)Vanity (pay for exhibition space) Galleries, are they worth it?

…..so, what is an alternative to the favoured High Street galleries for the artists who cannot break the cycle of rejection, (however reluctant that may be, from a Galleries viewpoint). The so called ‘Vanity’ galleries have been around for decades and over the last two decades they have sprouted up everywhere, in one form or another. It is rarely they that are bothered or (overly) concerned about the quality of the artists work, the ones who wish to pay them for their space.

This type of gallery is in the business of renting ‘the space only,’ usually in a well located high street shop, for a profit. They use a branded banner on the outside and send out invitations of ‘applications,’  usually from commercially acquired mass emailing lists of artists, ones that are gleaned from, you guessed it, Social Media platforms. Some advertise directly on mass media or other social media with attractive wording that will entice the Artist to go one step further and start a conversation with their ‘curator’ (read Salesman). It’s only when you actually read the ‘deal’ that you discover that it will cost a ‘shit-load’ of your own money, that you begin to temper the ego and dreams of exhibiting in a gallery with that of your own financial reality.

Those who are brave and drown out the ‘money’ objection, one being screamed at them for all corners, convince themselves that they will ‘break even’ financially – if only given the chance to show their work, but usually they have either, miscalculated the cost, or are unaware of what it takes to ensure a reasonably successful ‘selling’ exhibition. Or they simply cannot get past the artistic  ‘blue-sky’ thinking syndrome. Not so long a go I did a cost analysis of exhibiting in a ‘pay-for-space’  gallery. This was based on an out of City centre location, (in the UK) with reasonably accurate costs for space, marketing, transportation and so on. The final figure came out at a cost for a 5 to 6 day solo exhibition of around £3500 ($4,800). Major City centre space was nearer double that price, when I looked further into it. That’s a lot of painting to sell, based on the market average price for a half decent sized canvas for an unknown painter, at the lower (attractive) ‘stip-end’ market price level of around £350 each (circa $500), So is it worth it? Just for friends and family to rub ones ego and confirm you are a good artist?

Painters Tubes magazines acritic takes a stab at pay for galleries
©ARNY – Sweden 

How about selling on the web and creating a virtual reality exhibitions on your own website?

Sure, but I would suggest for that to be really successful, (i.e. selling on a regular basis for a consistent period of time) the artist will need a very good e-commerce enabled website (i.e. one that is not cheap to acquire and maintain) – And spend a great deal of time making strategic posts on social media – Or hire someone to do that specific task, and with a regular advertising budget. In this case I would suggest an annual budget for Marketing and PR of in excess £3000 per annum, for doing it all yourself, or £5000 to £8,000 annually, to hand this ‘job’ over to a professional full time SEO and art marketeer to do it for you. Who will no doubt, not give you any guarantee of a return for your money.

painters Tubes magazine - what do you benefit from by entering art competitions?

©ARNY- Sweden

How about entering Art Competitions to gain recognition?

Why not, if you can live with the rejection element, nine out of ten times of entering the ones that, according to their pre-publicity, ‘give You the chance of lifetime’ to be internationally famous. Let’s be honest here, it’s a bit of lottery. The important thing to remember is, who does the judging – Usually there is an academic, a curator, another well known person who knows (not a lot) about art and the winner from the previous years competition. So the winning entries are somewhat vacuous in their preferences because of their own bias to one form of art or another. There again, if you actually ‘Win’ or come second or third, what does it bring you? – Well if it’s a National Competition’ then about 15 minutes of fame and a commission from the sponsors of the Competition, and loads of Facebook likes and messages of congratulations (ego gratification again). Plus, maybe 3 minutes on a You Tube video interview or a feature in your local newspaper.  The rest of the smaller comp’s are really a bit like Vanity Galleries, except they don’t make as much money out of the ‘customer’.  It can cost around £30 to enter three paintings to an ‘average’ competition – And if you are short listed you have to physically take your paintings to a central point – for ‘further judging’ and then schlep them back again (when rejected), which can cost you up to ‘whatever’-  depending how far away you live form the nominated place of ‘drop-off’. The on-line ‘competitions, to my mind, are simply a money gathering exercise, full stop. And, again only in my opinion, are really not worth bothering with (unless they are free to enter of course).

If my experience(s) of ‘unknown’ Artists exhibiting endeavours, ones that I have come to discover or hear of the experiences of, over these last 40 years in the Art world, sound to be full of negative thinking and perhaps a little depressing, well that may well be true, but I have tried to be down to earth, and look at the whole arts selling ‘ball game’ realistically. To balance that train of negativity and on a more positive note, there is another and, I think, a far better way of exhibiting your Art at a reasonable cost, but perhaps entailing a lot more personal effort and time from the artist. It’s not a new idea, but one worth looking into…..      (continued in the next issue of painters Tubes magazine)

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YEAR REVIEW ISSUE #6

The best artists interviews, articles, essays and more. Read on line for £1.50 (UK) $1.99 USA) – Click here- newstand on Joomag

Denis Taylor and Dave Coulter
Denis Taylor Artists and Editor of Tubes and Dave Coulter
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Landscape issue # 5 – publishing dates

talking with Russel Howarth
Russel Howarth – issue #5 participating artist discussing his life long landscape work with painters Tubes Editor – Denis Taylor. photograph ©Marianne Arnberg 2017.

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Weltgeist of a painter

wher do we come from

Weltgeist is a German word that describes a sort of world spirit, perhaps it can be best explained as a sort of awareness of your own consciousness. The artistic weltgeist experience is not uncommon, especially for a painter and many have recorded experiencing it at one time or another during their lifetime, i.e. Van Gogh, Rouault, Gauguin, Malevich, Chagall, Pollock and Rothko, just to mention a few. I guess another way of describing the ‘weltgeist’ of an artist is arriving at a state of mind of a momentary spiritual connection, whilst simultaneously creating art. What that connection point is, or what that spiritual link is for, remains a mystery. But it seems to depend on the personal history or the deeply held beliefs of the Artist themselves. Be that of a religious nature or of a wider secular view of what humans are here on earth for, where we come from and where are we going. Summed up in modern language as, “what’s life all about?” Answers to the basic questions that humanity have been seeking to discover from the very beginning of time. Gauguin was probably the first artist to make visual that question in his famous painting of 1897 (see header photograph).
A weltgeist or inner awareness, could also be explained as an Artistic epiphany.

The American art critic Donald Kuspit mentioned the word when discussing his book, “The End of Art” (2004) in an interview that was critical of contemporary Art at the time. Much of what he outlined in the interview reinforced many of my thoughts about the ‘Post Modern Art’ movement of the late 20th and into the early 21st century. Kuspit’s book insistence that the “End of Art” had arrived was not a new idea. The (UK) Art Review magazine published an essay written by Brian Ashbee in the January issue of 2000, which had exactly the same title. Although the front page did show the ‘End of Art with a question mark. At that time it the magazine was Edited by David Lee who is well known as the creator of the term ‘Art Bollocks’ In his splendid article, Brian Ashbee questioned the validity of the philosophy of Post Modernism and its application to the Art World. The Art Review’s front page illustrated the ‘End of Art’ by a rather horrific yet gripping [detail] of a painting by an artist who I came to know quite well over the years. In the interview Kuspit pointed out that he avoided using ‘spiritual content’ as a description for Art. “I hate that word (spiritual] and prefer the German word weltgeist, because it holds a greater width to explain the artistic process.”

Although Kandinsky was obviously unconcerned at using the term ‘spirituality’ in 1912 when he published his book “Concerning the Spiritual in Art.” Perhaps it did not hold the same narrow understanding that it probably does today, i.e. ‘spiritual = religious.’ – To describe an artwork as ‘spiritual’ these days is still a bit of a turn off for many in the contemporary art world. Perhaps that’s a reaction to the over use of the term that was used by the masters of 20th century Art, of which Kandinsky and Rothko are a very good examples.

By the late 20th century terminology for the ‘creative force’ had become cerebral, not spiritual. Art is innovative by nature and it has been common for one movement or terminologies to give way in favour of another. For example, the Dada movement, was a reaction to a perceived stagnant and corrupt culture. The Dadaist art ‘innovation’ was to present totally banal unscripted artistic absurdity to ridicule the establishment. Futurism, Expressionism, Abstract Expressionism and other such terms were put forward to categorise the various ‘weltgeist’ of artists throughout the 20th century. Indeed, manifestos of Art, at one time, seemed to be raining from the skies. Art works were categorised, labelled and bought by museums, which inevitably resulted in their acceptance and absorption into the annuals of Art History. Once accepted as: ‘of real Art Historical value’ – these movements lost their street cred and the uptake of the ideals by other artists evaporated as quickly as they had appeared. Perhaps a more dogmatic movement that has had a high uptake with the support from Art institutions in recent decades is post Modernism.

‘Post Modernism.’ Is an open-ended theory, one which is wide enough to allow anyone to make anything they so desire and call it Art. Be it banal, absurd, sexual, political, beautiful, naive or totally mundane, a non-art or art created by someone else. The term Post-Modernism covers all modes of Art with a large un-bigoted cultural umbrella, one that the Art Institutions and the culture media open at regular intervals. For the Art World Post Modernism seems to be the answer to eliminate, “that old Modern Art”. And the intellectual elites, who prophesied to understand it – far better than anyone else possibly could…  click link and read the full article..
http://painterstubes.blogspot.se/2017/03/free-read-march-april-issue.html