Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The big 'why?'

This feels like the time to give you some background about how I’ve come to have this body of work and how I got to the place where I feel able to let it go.

Ever since childhood, I’ve wanted to be a painter and I’ve dedicated myself to that with my education and with the choices I’ve made to keep a studio space going.  In 2008 I gave up paid employment to paint full time and throw myself into trying to make it work as a viable career. 

I gave myself a year to get somewhere with it, which didn’t happen as I’d imagined and I take responsibility for that.  I’ve always approached each painting with the utmost integrity and commitment but one payoff for this is that I’ve neglected marketing them.  There was always a feeling that ‘my next painting’ would say more and better represent the body of work I wanted to exhibit and promote.  So I went from one canvas to the next with just a few tentative web searches and mailshots to galleries in between.

What I’ve come to realise is that the key is to value yourself and your work and know that your paintings have a place in the world and deserve to be seen. Marketing skills can be learnt but self-promotion is a really tricky one and lots of really talented people struggle with it. 

I’ve recently been applying myself to a process of giving away the majority of my belongings and this has really forced me to be honest about where my security lies.  Although it’s been a tough road, I’ve found that none of my possessions give me much in terms of security and love.  Sounds obvious now but those things have to be nurtured within.

My idea for Penny Art Auction has come out of this and when going through all my paintings applying the same questions that I had to my belongings: ‘is this giving something to me or is it taking away?’, it was a simple shift to imagine a creative life where I can face each new canvas without thinking about each one that had come before.

I’ve already spoken to other artists about this and I’ll be doing a future post about how they relate to paintings that haven’t sold and whether/how they move them on.  I’d love to know what you think too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Follow @lmwhittaker