TYB – Signposts from Les

It is hard to believe that with all the support and gentle guidance we are receiving, that I could in any way escape seeing the way forward…

Les Bicknell presented on two aspects of our future, Context and Hanging https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1KW2heAznkAwy_FsM_47-Se3dr7Zipo9X02wZnGU3Ae0/edit#slide=id.p4 and our Relationship with our Audiencehttps://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1UiyrzGVXYqxZWE4UgsYeke7ag7UK68kGMWtR7xrHvj8/edit#slide=id.p37.

My relationship with my audience was particularly revelatory, and highlighted my chosen distancing from my viewers. I need to think about whether this is intentional, and if so, the benefits and disadvantages;  and is this how  see the way forward.

At present I produce a painting, it goes to exhibition, is loaded to web sites, mine, Saatchi for originals and Not on the High Street for prints, the social media, FB, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.  My audience contact is either at a preview or whilst stewarding through an emailed comment.  Feedback is either in the form of a sale, a comment or a ‘like’ or ‘follow’.

Is this enough?  How could it be different within the context that I work?  Should I be changing the context within which I work or display work?  How would I really like the ‘system’ to work?

Taking where I am now, I have a reasonable presence on social media, I could increase that, but from other’s experience, the additional effort bring limited additional rewards.  I could participate in more exhibitions.  These would need to be more focused or in other parts of the country, other countries.

The more focused I am addressing in June with an exhibition that will be marketed on the Coastal Trail, Towner, De La Warr, Hastings Art Forum, Jerwood, with another painter of florals.  We plan artist talks and workshops, (way outside my comfort zone!).  From this I would hope to engage the public in further workshops through a local enterprise.  This should address my local profile.

With regard to other locations out of county, there needs to be a balance between effort and reward.  I am aiming to minimise effort by entering highly competitive Open competitions with online submission, and through the MA process.

I don’t think context is my issue.  I think drilling down to my uniqueness is the issue and one I am working hard to address.  Once I have identified it, through the process of the MA, I believe the rest will follow, which may ultimately be an expansion of context, or may not.

Ideally I would like the public to flock to my door, but I am a realist and we move in difficult times, particularly at the level at which I am working.  At the AGM of the Sussex Watercolour Society last week, it was universally accepted by the 30 members that the advent of Giclee prints has effectively killed the market for  originals.  So, the other option is to move up a level to a more discerning market place and probably a gallery.  I think this will happen once I resolve the ‘uniqueness’ issue.

The issue of display raised by Les’s Context presentation, is an interesting one.  Associations, connections, walls, floors, ceilings, shelves, tables, cabinets, vitrine.  Meanings, implied, embedded.  I particularly related to the ethereal printing on muslin and hanging in a church or similar building, and I may have an opportunity to explore that option later this year.


Author: susanmilleruk

Watercolour painter living, working and loving Hastings and St Leonards on Sea. MA in Fine Art.

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