Thursday, February 23, 2006

On exhibiting

Recently on Flickr, I answered a few questions about my (limited) expierence exhibiting. I thought I 'd share them here.

What you've felt you've gotten from the experience?

There are over 100 million images on Flickr and now maybe the same amount on Fotolog. There are a good portion of the people who do quite a bit of selective viewing. That's the way that people use the web. These sites are important for me as they present an audience and that has increased the definition about the images I make - that's a good thing. Running with this audience since 2003 prepared me for 2005 as I had the good fortune to be selected to show in 5 exhibits, 4 group shows and 1 solo show. I also did two open studio events in connection with one exhibit. For 4 of the 5, I was able to participate at the gallery, meet the audience and spent time with Flickr and Fotolog friends that dropped by. Many of those I got to meet in person for the first time.

In the middle of the first opening, in midst of the other artists, collectors and varied guests I began to realize that this creative life, this adventure has a dynamic all its own. As creators we control one part of it very tightly while drifting in something akin to the East River in NY with no natural currents of its own and a strong undertow. You are at the mercy of what comes next. These are ealy days for me but to be sure, the clarity of value of the artist and audience to each other could not have come soon enough. That's empowering to me as I look into the audience and see myself and they look back to my work and see themselves. And it is complicated I think because over time the artist and audience changes and that balance could fall apart. Trust the art and not the artist!

Exhibiting is about the audience. These people that come to the gallery invest a lot. It is a personal investment in time and if they buy, in money. There is nothing more personal than the art that people hang on the walls of their home or other personal space. I know how I relate to an image and want to relate to the artist - they leave bits of their DNA on my imagination. It is very intimate and meeting the audience at least for me was a very positive experience. I am certainly not pollyana about this at all - we serve at the will of audience's imagination. It may be my art. But in the gallery it is as much the money business and that is just the way it is. I am fine with that.

Beyond the excitement of the first sale after which it all about keeping score, I found the open studio event humbling. I was able to bring in hundreds of small mostly 5x7 work prints - test prints and people bought them in pairs, sets - explaining how these would be displayed and really getting into much more of the work than six pictures that made up my part of the exhibition. The audience connected. They understood what I did.

Where you found difficulties?

I work digitally - so manufacturing - printing, framing, matting, shipping, return shipping .....

Why you want to show?

I want attention for the work and to build connections and memories in an audience. I think it also combats the indifference, isolation and alienation that comes from working alone on your art day after day.

What you think your work is saying(If there is a general overview you feel your work states)?

I feel that an image that expresses something - an idea, a mood, a feeling, a memory that tries to suggest to viewer not only what concerned or interested me as its creator but the viewer themselves is an image full or meaning and the connection that I think we all hope to make. That is the soul of image making. That is the soul of all art.


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