A New Year of Giving


There’s no question that 2011 was a difficult year in the art world around me.  Local galleries were closing down and some are still teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Several artists I know were forced to give up their studios and take their practices home. Although I realize that many artists thrive in home studios, the ones I know were wistful about leaving the artistic support and community of a studio building, but resigned to the fact that they could no longer afford it.  Other artists had to put their art on the back burner and take up better-paying jobs.  During this year’s Culture Crawl, I heard more people speak frankly about the financial aspect of collecting artwork, saying that they loved a lot of the work that they saw on the Crawl but they couldn’t afford it. British Columbia bucked the trends for a while, but the economic turndown has finally caught up with consumer attitudes.

I have to consider myself fortunate in all this turmoil, my art sales have remained steady and while I haven’t experienced the growth I’ve had during stronger economic times, I’m happy with my art business. 

Each year, I try to set up a general goal for my art.  In the past, goals have been to get more public gallery shows and to generate more media coverage of my art. Although I have a business background, I never set specific goals, such as: “Increase sales by 25%,” because that would be pointless. I can’t control the market, and while a big art sale might increase sales temporarily, it would harm my sales in the long term. My goals are more general. When opportunities arise, I take those that move me in the direction of my goals, all the while maintaining my painting practice and my regular marketing efforts.

This year my goal is a little different, it’s a philosophical goal.  I’m calling 2012: A Year of Giving. Being an artist, I work alone in my studio, and operate my art business is in a vacuum, and while I have donated art to institutions like the Vancouver General Hospital and the National Nikkei Museum, I’d like to be more mindful of my part in a world that needs a little generosity right now.

What I mean by giving is not just giving art to different charities and auctions, because I already have some strong opinions on that subject. I’m thinking about giving in terms of donating art supplies to programs that need them, donating time, promoting other artists I love, and even giving a little joy to all the people that like my art.

I’ll blog about some of these endeavours as they occur, since this blog is always a place to freely give:  information, amusement and advice. Meantime, stay tuned for more!

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6 thoughts on “A New Year of Giving

  1. I love how you are taking a time in which many would consider cutting back on generosity and amping yours up! It will come back to you, one hundredfold, my friend. PS– Shoot me an email if you'd be interested in coordinating efforts for a giveaway or donation project through Artsy Forager. Would love to spread the generosity with you!

  2. Wow thanks Lesley, that's a great opportunity and I will have to brainstorm a little to see how I can take advantage of it. I feel a little humbled by your words, because I feel like I'm just doing something that may be overdue, but thank you in any case.

  3. I think giving is something that is so beneficial, but difficult to make yourself do. Its a lot easier to be self-contained, but once you start giving I bet it can be addictive!Good luck on your year of gifts! Also, I heard about this awesome charity that gives small to medium sized cute paintings to starving law school students. I think you just ship it to their headquarters in Kingston or something and they take care of the rest. Just a suggestion!

  4. Somehow I feel you've missed the point of the post. Certainly law students may be starving now but hopefully not in the future. Perhaps someday I'll need a lawyer and I can pay her off in artwork.

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