Friday, October 13, 2006

Art In Real Life

Years ago, before I had my website, I had little contact with collectors of my work. The galleries that represented me were quite controlling. I was sometimes introduced to them, briefly, at an opening, but only if they were shepherded by the gallerist, who declined (without my knowledge) their requests to visit my studio, or meet me to discuss future works. Worse, when I eventually left these galleries, collectors were told that I had been asked to leave – or even that I was no longer an artist. I never understood the reason for wanting to fuck with an artist in this way. I never figured out why a gallery might think this was a good way to sell art. All it did was undermine the confidence of both artist and collector.
That's all changed now. As a result of my online presence, I have regular contact with several of my collectors. They are no longer mere consumers of my art but committed supporters. Over time, a few have become almost as absorbed as I am in my creative process, and make a point of acquiring pieces within which they can construct their own narratives of the development of a particular idea, deriving intellectual rather than just decorative satisfaction from them.
Today I received a beautiful surprise from one such couple. They had taken about a dozen photographs of the two-story entrance hall of their large house, then taped them together to form a 360-degree view of what (they wrote) was soon to be home to a couple of my largest paintings. Written in black felt pen were notes with arrows pointing to where these commissioned works would hang, along with abbreviated anecdotes about hanging other works of mine – they do it all themselves – that made me laugh out loud. They even captioned some of the images: Art Collector's Ambition/Dream, An Art Collector at Work/Play, and Indulgence/Contemplation Spot.
How do I begin to describe how much this means to me? I don't make art for anyone but myself. And yet to see that others not only connect with it, but make it an important part of the lives, makes me very happy.


Lauren said...

wow that is incredible! So great that they can share all that with you.

Jules Faber said...

I can totally relate to that, Hazel. I too create for myself and having finally (and almost accidentally) reached a level where people wish to pay for my work and make it part of their lives, find it incredibly flattering and humbling.

All collectors of art who get involved with the artists, who buy - regardless of cost - for love and not investment, are to be treasured and honoured.
They make our dreams into realities, just by inviting us into their lives.
And I, for one, love that symbiosis.