Peace luv and Frisbee in the park, man. Let’s all go back to the commune and smoke…
Well, maybe that’s not such a good idea. It seemed like a great idea back in those days and maybe because of the loss of brain cells brought on by all that smoking and toking, it seemed like a really smart thing to do…
But the underlying idea was a good one; people have more authority, more effect, more impact when they unite. They can accomplish things which they as an individual could never do and this is the idea I’d like to talk about.
We the costal art community need a commune. We need a place where we can show our art without cost, limit, or judgment. There are folks out there who have never had a picture shown because they do not do the sort of art most juries find attractive. Now, they certainly should think about why they venture so far from the beaten path but that doesn’t mean they should give up the road less traveled. But it does mean they won’t ever have a chance to be shown unless there is a no questions venue for all artists on the Oregon Coast.
There are artists who have no trouble finding places for their art to be seen, you know the ones, they get mentioned in every newsletter by every reporter, by every print media and the names are always the same because these are the guys who never stop digging. They get up early, get out and get moving and when a place says they will hang art, they sign up before the notice hits the papers.
There are artists who do shows, you know them too, they have that magic touch that gets them past every jury. They get noticed by judges, juries and gallery owners and their work is everywhere.
There are artists who beat the drums, apply for the grants, make the thing happen and they get their work up when no one else does because they are full of energy and drive and passion.
But they aren’t the only artists on the coast.
What if your work does not easily fit into a category which can be defined in a prospectus? What if you do work of top-notch quality, but you like subjects which are not cutting edge, avant-garde, buzzworthy, where does your work fit in the art scene?
Maybe you can’t easily adapt your work into clever nifty, neat and cool things which can be turned into trinkets for the tourist trade. Will the galleries give you space or will they select some other artists who has a very saleable gift and makes things which they cam market? Those nice gallery folks are running a business and if they pick things that sell so they can pay the light bill you just can’t blame them for that.
So how do you get your work out and about?
Certainly you should do all of the things those terribly clever, driven, passionate artists do, contact venues and beg, plead, wart until they hang you just to get rid of you. Make your work into something not specifically art which the average tourist will go, “What a wonderful do-hickey, Mabel, let’s get one for the house and maybe one more for the kids.” If a new place with walls opens up be first in line for the owner’s attention so that if they actually want art for those new and very bare walls they will have to talk to you first and do it all over again and again…
And lobby every artist, every gallery owner, BAAA member and museum member every time you see them with the notion that an Artists collective is a thing which we desperately need.
No not because the work is inherently non-commercial, but because the fire in the artist’s gut doesn’t want to be commercial just to get displayed.
And remember all the nice people who do show art have time limits. They have to rotate art around because they have to justify their displays with sales.
In an Artist’s Coop, run by artists, for artists, for artist’s works which may or may not be commercial, time limits would be at the discretion of the cooperative, not at the mercy of the balance sheet.
You cannot tell me with all of the empty building in this area there isn’t a single landlord who wouldn’t rather have people coming into their building, seeing how great it looks, thinking about what it could be used for and oh yes, looking a great art. Maybe there’s a landlord who is an artist who would be willing to let an empty building they own be utilized as a home for an Artist’s Co-op. Maybe there’s a grant we could apply for which would give us the money to found an Artists Co-op.
Yeah it is a pipe dream, but maybe one day it will happen.