Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Amazing Feeling of Appreciation

Blue Tempest (2010)
It has been a while since I really put myself out there and put my work on display for public consumption. Sure, I have had my images hidden in the mash of other images of my peers, but it has been a long time since I show cased my images in a featured artist setting. That is until now.
Fall Bloom (2012)

I know I am a good photographer, but I also know the world is full of good photographers and I am but a simple guppy the sea.

I personally know dozens of photographers who consistently produce absolutely stunning work. By absolutely stunning, I mean their work truly humbles me in regards to my own work and constantly inspires me to do better. So, with that said, I have not been highly motivated to try and market my work. I have been focused on fine tuning my style, my voice, my vision.

I know, this can sound pretentious and a little asinine like the way movies stereotype the snobby New York artists, but the fact of matter is that I have been on this journey of discovery for year. As a result of the journey I developed three different styles, one of which is present in the image on the right, called Fall Bloom.

This particular style was initially experimented with in 2010 with my Blue Tempest shot, above. I truly fell in love with Blue Tempest. I printed it as and 11"x17" print on metallic paper mounted on foam core and showed it at the State Fair. There was an offer made to purchase it at the fair, but the sale never came to be. So over the course of two years, it hung on my wall as I quietly fine tuned that style into what became the style shown in Fall Bloom.

A few years ago I made a good friend, April, during a program called the Artist Way. April has always been a fan of my work, as I have been of hers. In December, April was promoting the opening of a new family ran pizza parlor style restaurant named Donatello's. Being the man of culinary substance that I am, I dragged my wife down on Donatello's opening night.

April was working the bar, as a favor to the owner. We chatted for a bit and she asked me if I would be willing to be their first featured artist. I hesitated for a three seconds and before I could say the six reasons I came up with in those three seconds, my wife said "He means, yes he will do it."

I am going to do something magical right now. I am going to answer your question; "What are the six "reasons" you came up with in three seconds to not say yes immediately?" I am also going to translate those reasons for you as well. They were, in order:

  1. "The walls are really red." Translated, I was simply making an excuse to hide my fear.
  2. "I don't have enough images to fill the huge space." Translated, this was another excuse to hide that I was doubting the validity of my own work. 
  3. "I won't have time to get anything together." Translated, this was an excuse to hide I was afraid standing out from the crowd.
  4. "I can't afford to print new images." Translated, this was an excuse to make sure I didn't have to do it.
  5. I don't have anything worth showing. Translated, this was an excuse to ensure success through lack of action. What does that mean? If I don't try, I can't fail.
  6. I am not capable to doing a featured show. Translated, this was pure fear.
This is how the whole thing when down:

April: "I am glad you came to night. We are going to be displaying artwork from local artist and I would love for you to be our first featured artist."
Me: "Um, yeah... well..." (six excuses processed)
My Wife: "He means, Yes, he will do it."
April: "That is great!"

Above the Bar
I am my own worst critic. Most of us are. My second worse critic is my wife, but she is also my biggest fan and supporter. So after her almost comical  and instantaneous acceptance of the offer on my behalf we sat down to eat some yummy pizza and I said, "I don't have enough pieces to fill the space and we don't have enough money to print more." She called me on my bullshit and the rest is history. With seventeen of my existing prints and a budget of $100 I printed fifteen more images from the only locally owned and operated professional printers I work with, Photo Vision here in Salem, and I prepared to show. On December 23rd, with the help of my wife and April, my prints were hung in the pizza parlor and I made my first sale about a week later, Blue Tempest and my second sale came about a week after that, Fall Bloom.

I am happy that I did this show. It has inspired me to show more. I am not making a fortune in any way shape or form from the sales of these images, but then that is not what this was about for me. This was about showing my work. This is about people experiencing my vision; my voice. The fact that two pieces sold is great simply because these people were moved enough by my work that they have hung my work, in their home, shop, garage, place of work or bathroom. Their appreciation of my work will continue, even after my showing is over. That is what makes me happy.

Outside the Men's Room
Now I am a big supporter of three types of businesses, those that support local artists, those that give to the community and those that are locally owned and operated. So here is my plug for a business that is all of the above. If you live in the Salem, Oregon area, come in to Donatello's at 3981 Commercial SE, next to Northern Light's Theater. While you are there, try a bite of their fantastic pizza and their amazingly fresh salad bar. It is a classic pizza parlor dining experience that resembles the days before the other fast food, diarrhea inducing, prefabbed crap that is out their today. 
Donatello's just opened in December. They are family owned and operated. They are providing an avenue for artists to show and sell their works. They support local giving events. They are a family friendly business worth the support of a community and their food is amazingly delicious and fresh to boot. Go check them out. Show your support. Eat some delicious food. Appreciate some art. Enjoy a family friendly experience.

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