Monday, December 23, 2013

ASTT Art Market 2013

The ASTT Art Market was a great success. It’s the second art market I’ve done, the first was last Christmas at a different venue. I’ve gained experience from it and have made notes of things to do for the next one. One of the things I will do is: take less stuff! I had 35 pieces, enough for a solo show in a small gallery and I had left all the bigger pieces at home. On the wall, the work was grouped into small oil paintings, linocuts and silkscreens, miniatures, and small acrylic paintings.

Traffic was steady all day. There were old friends and new ones. It was great for networking with fellow-artists. My mailing list has expanded and I sold a few pieces.

One odd thing happened. One of the visitors was a friend who had bought one of my pieces in 2004, which was before I started on the degree. I had thought that my work hadn’t changed all that much. In subjects it’s pretty much the same as before (Plumbago and Impatiens still appear frequently). The degree opened me up to more media and new approaches and that is where the main changes have taken place. But this friend said they didn’t recognise my work at all, that “this is someone I don’t know”. I was taken aback at first. It made me think. My palette has changed in that I haven’t used earth colours (umber and ochre) for a while now. I’ve been getting a good range and purer colour out of fewer pigments. This wasn’t something required by the degree, it just evolved from a decision I made to tackle colour in a systematic way.

I’ve heard artists who are more advanced than me say that collectors and galleries don’t like you to change. They want you to have and keep a signature style -- like a shrub that grows to a certain height and stays there. I can understand that. But . . . maybe my shrub hasn’t reached where it’s supposed to be yet, or something like that. I’ve also found that I make very different work in printmaking and painting, and it's different again in collage. For now I’m happy to observe and reflect on what happens and keep on growing for a while yet. 

Plumbago paintings pre-2006
Plumbago, 2011 onwards (four paintings plus silkscreen on right, collage second from right)

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