27 February 2009
There's been a discussion on the Baren Forum recently about money, selling work, what people buy and whether or not it's possible to earn a living as an artist...especially in These Economic Times.
All the while I've been putting together a self-sponsored show for the gallery at my local library (see previous post) and watching the costs mount. At this point, including all the framing and publicity but not yet including snacks and drinks for the opening, I've spent $670. That's a lot of money. Especially in These Economic Times. Obviously I hope to sell a few prints and break even, but breaking even is certainly not a given. So lest I be disappointed about losing money on the thing, I've been thinking of this event also as a sort of party I'm hosting, where I've invited a bunch of friends, and hopefully their friends too, to come by and enjoy printmaking with me.
One thing that caught my attention in the Forum discussion was a point made by Andrew Stone that people are more inclined to buy a piece of art if they have a relationship with the artist, or if the artist can "infect" the viewer with interest in the art by showing where the work came from and how it was made. That's one of the things I hope this blog does, and educating people about moku hanga will be a part of the library show as well. The poster above will hang at the beginning of the exhibit. My hope is that the photos will ignite some curiosity about the moku hanga process. Then further along there will be a couple of glass cases showing the tools and a simple three-block build along with the blocks to demonstrate how a multi-block print is created. I wish I could just be there all through the month and do my work there, but that's not possible. Wouldn't it be cool, though? People could come by and watch and ask questions and try it themselves...
Also on the topic of These Economic Times, the other day I heard a funny little essay on NPR about art in hard times by poet Andrei Codrescu, who says that one of the best conditions for the production of good art is when "there's a general depression and a whole lot of free time." You can read it or listen to it by clicking here.