Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Decade: Past To Present

2009 Inside Out, Hespe Gallery.

After over 10 years of working as an artist, I've realized times have changed, so I've decided to share briefly some events and thoughts of the development of my career that I deem to be noteworthy -

10 years ago I was freshly finished with school, eager and very hungry to make a living creating art full time. Before the sophistication of the internet, an artist relied upon a solid portfolio of slides of their best artwork. I scraped all my hard earned pennies in order to hire professional photographers to shoot the highest quality images to record all of the artworks I have created. I went to the best in San Francisco, Almac Camera. I can't keep count of the number of slides I have, or remember how many portfolios of these I created, nor can I recall the last time I used such to submit to a gallery. Regardless it has the standard way to submit your artwork for years.

I have always been skeptical about whether or not tiny 35mm slides did any justice to the artwork. What are the chances that you could get your portfolio of slides in the hands of the director, who had to have excellent eye vision, and that he or she would view the image facing correctly forward and right side up, and would actually spend the time of the day to squint and review all the micro sized images? Over and over I submitted my slides for review and would always include a SASE for return. After all these portfolios were time consuming to make, and I made with great care, and they were not at all cheap. So, if not returned, where the hell did my slides end up?

I may never know. Now, the convenience of my website replaces those portfolios of slides. My slide duplicates are kept for my records and are tucked away safely. And as for the rest of them, it remains a mystery. It is sad for me to think there is a whole generation that will never experience slides, cold calls, mailings, fax machines and all the rest of fun grunt work that is involved when you are self employed.

Persistence eventually paid off, as well as making a switch from 35mm to a large format slide. A tattoo parlor expressed interest in my artwork and showcased it. All of my friends and family came out to the opening and I even sold a painting or two which was a sure sign of success, but far from reassuring that I could make a living painting full time. Here is a card from one of my very first shows.

I met an art consultant in 2003. At the time, I was departing from painting a typical genre; landscapes, still lifes, figures, and portraits. Instead, I wanted to paint scenes of the surrounding city, a subject that was personal and meaningful. The art consultant advised me to immediately stop the painting of moody bleak cityscapes which were "unfavorable" and "unmarketable", and to paint happy little still lifes, brightly primary colored baskets of fruit and flowers. If I were to do so in less than a year they promised me a career painting full time. Well, after some thought I quickly realized that I would be miserably slaving away painting lame little still lifes to barely make ends meet, with "happy" the farthest thought from mind. Aw HELL NO!! Needless to say that was the last consulting on art I received from the art consultant.

Many galleries have closed the door when I came around knocking. However in 2005 I was offered an opportunity to show at one of the hottest spots for art in San Francisco, 111 Minna. This show was immensely important for it was a turning point and truly put my artwork and every feat to test if I were to sink or swim. I scraped by and made it happen. The show was a success and opened many doors.

A very big step for me was in 2007 when I began working in Gallery Henoch, NYC. It was very humbling to be included amongst so many great talented artists and to put it simply an employee, Gli157 said to me, "I have made it to the big leagues". Although that statement holds a lot of truth, I never stopped to give it much thought since after all I am still faced with the challenge of creating an image on a blank canvas.

2008 Premiere NYC exhibition, Gallery Henoch.

Since 10 years is so monumental and because I wanted to kick off the holiday season, I have decided to do a give-away. The first 3 people to send an email w/ following information will receive a prize in the mail (Hint: it is in this posting, and is not a painting or a print), from me to you. Send an email and include -

1. your name

2. mailing address

3. a brief statement about one of your first memories or experiences with art and how it influenced or had an impact on you.

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