Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Big Spender

So have you found next years Christmas card scene yet?

Why not, it’s past Christmas and time’s awastin’.

Before you know it you’ll be caught up in Valentine’s and then there’s St Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day and Graduation and Father’s Day, okay, so maybe Father’s day isn’t that big a deal.

You know I’m not at all certain why fathers get left out. You’d think in this political season with all of the Family Values breast-beating someone would speak up for fathers, but about all they get is a passing mention in the middle of the “children need two parents” speech.

Duh? Did someone say they didn’t? I’m sure all those mother’s out there working two and three jobs to keep the little darlings fed and housed and in school supplies would love for a father or two to step up to the plate and take some of the load off. But do they? They do not. They run for the hills at the first sign of impending fatherhood.

Sure they love the process. Just ask around and you can get any number of men to step right to the head of the line when it comes to the first step in the fathering process, it’s just all of the other stuff, the icky stuff, with three AM feedings and changing and the screaming and yelling and that’s just when they get to high school and little Tommy dumps the girl right before Spring Formal and wait until you get the bill for the limo service if you want to hear weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

So father’s get left out of all of the big-time merchandising, cause there is only so much you can do to make a Craftsman tool chest look glamorous. I won’t go into the drill crisis or the whole power washer thingy.

It’s the moms who get the bulk of the marketing and since they control the purse strings they should get all of the good gifts. But what does that mean to you and why should it affect your art and if any of this has anything to do with me I’ll eat a bug.

Ketchup or tarter sauce, cause it has to do with you a bunch.

Let’s go back a few months. First and most important to you the working artist, there’s a six month lead time for almost every kind of marketing. You want to sell your pretzel mustard brush, best be sending up a flare right after Christmas, cause the summer and the Fourth of July are right around the corner. (Remember to include corny dogs in your pitch, cause you should never work only one side of the street and not everyone likes mustard on pretzels.) {Oops, I did forget, this is Oregon where everyone is afraid of yellow condiments. Who said a hamburger should have mayo on it? This is a bigger crisis than the collapse of the economy. Children can be permanently harmed by a lack of mustard in their formative years. Now I realize that this part of the world was settled by Scandinavians and I like and respect all of those Scandies, but they do make a lot of white food and this leads inevitably to mayo on hamburgers which can as I said earlier cause serious damage to the growing child’s psyche.}

But even if you do put mayo on a hamburger you have to get your pitch geared up so that you can work it right up till the fireworks go up and the calendar returns to Labor Day.

All of which means you are seriously far behind on Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s and cutting it close on Mother’s Day and graduation and all of these events need cards. What, you expected me to say art? Sure they do, but just supplying a moderate-sized family can empty an artist’s back stock so cards are a much better way to do it unless you’ve done a deal with those clever German Brownies and have them working the night shift copying your art so that you never run out of back stock.

But if you don’t maybe now is the time to start planning and looking.

I try to get my Christmas card design out of the way before the middle of January. It does two things for me, one it means I won’t be frantically searching next December and two if by chance some greeting card company scout sees this blog and says, “Hey Fat man what kind of art card do you have ready to go?” I have an answer.

I found what I was looking for Christmas Eve. Now I wasn’t looking, I didn’t even know I was thinking about looking but there it was right in front of me, right outside the place I had just left while dropping off presents and picking up something special for Christmas day.

No, I won’t tell you, not what I found, you have to suck up to me all year so that you get on my Christmas Card list and then you’ll see just how clever I was to be open to the world’s suggestion.

No, I won’t tell you that either, if you have a double-secret special connection what gets you “the Good Stuff” you’d better just shut up and enjoy it cause if you let other people in on it they’ll come and take it away from you.

Unfortunately I managed to blow up a gall bladder this past summer and instead of being out there looking under leaves and rocks and twigs and stuff I was flat on my back in hospital. That sort of limits what you can work up for the start of the year holidays. So guess what, I’m scrambling to get something going for the February and March events.

But you don’t want to find yourself in that position, (Not in hospital or behind in your development time), so you’re out there looking and thinking and planning like a good little artist.

Now let me tell you one tiny thing more, if you are an artist who works solely for the aesthetic joy of creation and have no desire to every sell or market your work you’re probably wondering why I spend so much time prodding the artists who do want to market and sell. It is because of them and the exposure they bring that galleries and greeting card companies and all of the other resources send people into the area looking for the works which will become the next big thing.

And if you believe that no one on this small bay stuck five hundred miles from San Francisco or three hundred miles from Portland makes art which attracts national notice, you haven’t met Angela Pozzi, Kelle Herrick, Kimberly Wurster, Susan Lehman, Pat Snyder or Dutch Mostert. They turn heads wherever their art is displayed and no, I ain’t playin’ in their league, but I sure do appreciate their making so much noise so that I can get a little of the drum beat on my side of the street and you can just bet your bottom dollar when the Big Spender shows up to haul away their art, I’m going to have some of mine where he can see it. Who knows, Big Spenders spend, that’s why they get called Big Spender and it wouldn’t hurt my feeling one bit if they spent a little time with me!

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