Hey Lurkers- Here's a rant Jeff and I wrote for the folks tuned into the Fiasco! Gallery page. Your continued support is appreciated and still needed as another amazing gallery, Vale Fine Art, closes its doors in a couple of days. This is unexpected and bittersweet news. I feel like I am really hitting my stride as a curator, the Vale show was one of the best things I've done, especially coming off the Savages show at Studios on the Park. Hard to consider myself a successful curator when sales are so inconsistent. Curator reads to me like "dude who hangs rad artwork that totally flies off the wall for $$$", and right now I'm just "dude who hangs rad artwork".
An article about the group show written by Erin Messer can be seen here. Thanks for digesting the word soup below.
So, you’ve come to the shows. All of them. You’ve danced, you’ve nibbled snacks, you loved the work on the walls. You’ve complimented the artists, you’ve even brought friends and family to the show to see what’s going on in what we can now call an “art community”. You’ve told us that we have put on a great show. A lot of work went into creating the event, so we are grateful. Without you, events aren’t fun or memorable.
Here is the heavy part, though-- while you being there is important, what’s more important is that you show your support with your money. It almost sounds shallow and might be insulting, but your compliments don’t pay the rent, and don’t pay for more work to get done. If everyone walked into their favorite restaurant from now on and only told them they made the best meal, they would close. Galleries in this county don’t show the work that we want to see because we don’t financially support it enough. If buying a painting you are obsessed with sets you apart from that new pair of shoes or going on a couple dates or even if it means you don’t get to buy food from the fancy grocery store this month, then so be it. Now is the time to make a difference.
Hopefully some of you reading this get it, and have supported. Cities like Portland and Oakland sell incredible, affordable and accessible art in salons, yogurt shops and cafes. Only a handful of artists in this county can say they have sold in such places. People who have coordinated these shows gave valiant efforts to work things out with artists, musicians, caterers and business owners. Lena Rushing, Anna Weltner, Laykin Hamilton, Brigham Baker, Leslie Clark Grey, Nick Wilkinson, Neal and Jeff have been putting on shows in this area for more than five years now. Most of you reading this have taken part in some way--you’re an artist, your girlfriend/boyfriend/friend paints, your brain loves color and your mouth likes beer and cake.
We are glad you showed your support, the people who own the gallery are impressed that we can pack in a place. They aren’t impressed when you leave without buying something. Invest in the future of a vibrant art scene by talking with your wallet. Artists work hard and most I’ve asked would rather show their work on the wall of a nice gallery (where people come to see art exclusively) and not a retail place that sells something else to pay their bills. If you want to support the artist you know, buy something from the gallery they are showing at. No one is saying you shouldn’t buy direct from your artist friends, but when an artist gets a decent show at a good gallery, do more than come by for a hug and a handshake.
This Saturday in Paso Robles at Vale Fine Art, pieces by Walt Hall are available for $125 and up. Walt Hall is an amazing artist. We think so. Juxtapoz thinks so. Look him up. I know that if you don’t have a job, spending $125 is impossible to think about when you have rent hanging over your head, but to those of you who have the means, what gives? In the most black and white of terms, this is how venues that show contemporary or cutting edge work die out. The lack of financial support makes gallery owners cut and run to bigger cities.
No violins will be playing when Vale closes their doors after this Saturday, April 19th to open somewhere more lucrative. We’re not asking for a handout. You give money, you get a painting, not a vague sense that you helped, somehow, probably. Everybody wins. If you need to feel good about your money, support not only a local business but a person who creates. Do so while looking at an awesome new piece to hang in your bedroom/in your office/over your toilet that you bought from a gallery setting.
We here at Fiasco! welcome an open dialogue about this subject. Here are some topics we would like your opinion on:
Do you appreciate/support these shows or are you coming as obligation to a friend/family member?
Do you have a desire to own/collect original art/limited editions?
Have you seen art you loved/wanted, but did not buy it? What stopped you from buying it?