Friday, July 12, 2013

Being my own Theo

I'm assuming you know the story of Vincent Van Gogh and his brother, Theo.  I think there was a movie called, "Vincent & Theo".  Maybe I'm a bad blogger because I'm not posting links and references, but this is the age of Googling things, so if you're interested in their story, google it!
Anyway, Theo was Vincent's brother and helped sell his art, he helped Vincent all that he could and promoted his work.
This is wonderful!  Every artist should be so blessed!  But how often does this really happen?  I mean, we all have our proud parents and siblings and various relatives that brag about us and embarrass us by pulling out some chintzy high school painting in front of our friends (ugh!) but do they market us?  Do they hit the pavement, and get our work into galleries?  Do they build our websites and organize our receipts (yikes!)
I'm thinking I need to get used to being my own Theo.
The major obvious reason would be my hoof-in-mouth sydrome, lol! (I am a proud Sagittarius, hoof-in-mouth syndrome is one of my many calling cards), But don't most artists have that?  I mean, we can let our art speak for itself, and that's easy.  It sells itself.  But people need or expect more these days, they want a tagline, a story, a sales pitch, an explanation.  They want niceties and returned favors and etiquette......oh my gosh...  And I'm telling you, with my best intentions ever, it's so hard to measure up and do all that!!!! (Theo, Theo?  Where's my Theo when I need him?!!!)
It's not that I mean to be rude, and I don't think any artist does, (we all wanna be loved, right?)  It's just, we're out of practice.  We're loners, intellectuals, visual thinkers, visionaries, if you will.  So when it comes to parties and press know, the room goes completely silent right at the moment that I hoarse-whisper to my sister, "I have really bad gas, I'll be right back"!  (Unfortunately, this really happened). It's so embarrassing!
Since I don't have Theo to help me, I am trying to learn to do a lot of things like this myself!  Please forgive me if I mess up, hahaha!  I'm trying!
But I'm motivated, and I'll tell you why:  While trying to get artists to join a group is like herding cats, it helps the artist, and helps elevate the art scene for everyone.  It's important.  And I realized lately that though I pretty much despise contests and awards (they are usually the inner circle of people awarding each other, right?  Am I cynical?) I think it can be important in regard to selling my work.  People that buy my work are proud of it, and they want to brag about it, and it definitely helps if they can say, "Yeah, she won such-and-such an award, and she belongs to this Art Organization", which is validating for them, and validating for me, and validating for the organziation, and validating for future awards, see?  It raises the bar for everyone.
Let me just add now that I will get back to you on this, and let you know how it pans out for me!  Right now, it's a theory.  I've had some wins & I've had some rejections.  If I keep having rejections, I might say, "forget everything I said!  Every Artist for him/ herself"!!!
Because, you know, I'm not typically a "Joiner", and aren't I looking for any excuse to get back into my comfort zone and say it wasn't worth it?  It didn't work for me?  I'm going back into isolation!
Frequently, people say to me, "You're art is awesome.  Why aren't you doing this full-time"?  That question irks me, I admit.  But I've recently begun to view it as an opportunity to educate people and say, "Hey, Painting is the easy part for me.  The business/ marketing side is what I'm working on.  Knowledge on how to do that just doesn't come naturally, you know"?  (again, THEOOOOOOO!!!!! Where are you?)
It's a challenge, and I accept.