Monday, September 21, 2009

If work isn’t selling does that mean it isn’t good?

If work isn’t selling does that mean it isn’t good?
Regardless of the economic climate all artists ask themselves this question from time to time after they produced a body of work they are immensely proud of only to exhibit it and have no sales.
I have had three no sale shows only to have the work later win awards or be acquired for well respected collections but the topic came up again in a blog post by Janice Mason Steeves, a Canadian artist, whose reaction to a no sale body of work was to take a year off and return refreshed to her arts practice. Her candid and inspiring account of those moments of doubt we all have got me thinking.
I am very sensitive to this topic as I have recently begun and shown a new body of work which is quite raw (or fresh) and its formative stages.
Is this the right thing to do when I am getting recognition for my shredded works?
Should I continue to make the collage works for my next exhibition when I feel the distractions of this new body of work and the need to work with new media?
I am also aware that I am not spending much time in the studio at the moment because of the excitement of the move. Where will this lead?

Susan Buret. I Listened to the Tango in a Room Filled with Enormous Camellias. 2009
Acrylic and Pigmented Ink on Canvas. 76cm x 56.5cm.

I do know that for me the answer is to just do what I feel like and trust in what I make. But it does stir the butterflies.


Nicola Moss said...

You are asking one of the toughest questions of all for an artist to face.
There were circumstances in respect to your last exhibition, that make it a poor indication in regard to sales. So much depends on aligning the work and audience.

In my experience it takes time to see a new body of work objectively, I require some distance from the time of execution before I can judge it fairly.

Candice Herne said...

Hi Susan
Go with the heart,you are exactly where you need to be.You have exhibited your new work,your working with new media now after doing the blogging course and your exploring your new location. It looks like to me it has lead you to a beautiful room full of flowers and passionate music. Give the brain a rest for a little while catch up with the heart waltz around then put them together again and tango. Candy doing the cha cha cha

Janice Mason Steeves said...

Susan, your post made me do more thinking about this and I wrote a post in response to your post, which was a response to my post!!!

It's such a difficult question and harder still for one to listen to their heart and then follow it.