Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Boundless Chase for the Cash

In my July post about online galleries I talked about Boundless Gallery –
“Gallery: Boundless Gallery (91675 Alexa ranking July 8 2007)
Inventory: 33,000 plus as per a category count on July 7 2007
Cost to Artist: 25% commission to company on sales through the gallery
Pitch to artist: no fees, low commission and can purchase front page listing
Pitch to customers: see what it looks like in your home/office before you buy
Real world equivalent: Art Gallery in a Home Décor Centre”
Since then a couple of things have changed. First their Alexa ranking has slipped to 159810 (smaller is better) as at September 29, 2007 and they have headed off in the vanity gallery direction.
They have become a fee based gallery with a range of fees from $36.00 for 6 months plus a 10% commission on sales through to $240.00 for a year with no commission on sales. Pretty reasonable looking fee structures until you do the math. With 2455 artists on their books (yep, I counted them) if their stable went for the low end that’s $175,000 plus a year up front, if the stable went for the top end it’s over half a million. In reality it will be somewhere in the middle, but even $300K a year is a nice hunk of change.
And herein lies the problem, like all vanity galleries the incentive to sell the work on the walls is greatly reduced. The rent and the wages are covered, if the work sells it sells, if it doesn’t …………their pay day is covered.
This is not necessarily a bad thing if the said gallery can provide a boost for your reputation as an artist and/or get eyes you can’t viewing your work. But with a 68,000 points slip in Boundless’ Alexa rating in 2 and a half months these become moot points.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bye Bye Bip

Great French mime artist Marcel Marceau died on Saturday at the age of 84. A master of body language he embodied the theatrical maxim “make ‘em laugh or make ‘em cry” which at his stage performances his audiences did both.

Here Comes the Judge

A Massachusetts (US) judge has ruled that there is no prohibition showing an unfinished work of art simply because it is unfinished as long as visitors to the exhibition are informed that it is unfinished.
The judge, Michael A. Ponsor, effectively said to Swiss artist Christoph Büchel if you are going to play the Prima Donna and spit the dummy there will be a price to pay. That price being that the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art who commissioned Buchel to create “Training Ground for Democracy,” which he walked away from in December last year, can display the unfinished work.
Over the ensuing months, since the separation, there has been a very public “he said/she said” slanging match that would have done a Hollywood divorce proud between Buchel and the Museum. Not surprisingly it was over money as the art work’s budget of $160K ballooned to double that amount. With this decision perhaps there is a chance of some diplomacy between the entrenched parties and “Training Ground for Democracy” will be seen in all its glory.
The New York Times reports the Museum’s director, Joseph C. Thompson, as saying, after the handing down of the decision, “Our mission is to help make new work and we’re very anxious to move forward.” Although it aint over yet as Buchel’s lawyer is reported as saying “We’re exploring our options for appeal.”
As they say in the classics “Watch this Space” as the “Training Ground for Democracy” saga continues its grandstand evolution.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Photographic health advisory No 2

The Rule of Thirds
Prior to my turn of the century epiphany that saw the abandoning of paint and brushes for pixels and a mouse I had never encountered “The Rule of Thirds”. In amongst the pencils and charcoal there resided a camera, but it was primarily an instant drawing device.
After the artistic sea change and the camera became my primary image capturing device, things photographic became my new learning curve. Whether in a magazine, book or internet article devoted to the subject at some time, the rule of thirds will raise its ugly head. This is where a tic tac toe grid of imagined lines is placed upon the picture plane creating 9 squares of equal size. When the main element of the image is placed at one of the 4 points that these lines intersect a strong composition will result.
Wrong, a boring composition will result. Strong composition is a result of the interaction between the balance and tension of all the elements in an image. A secondary aspect of composition is to lead the eye round the image.
The best place I can think of for using The Rule of Thirds is in pricing your work. A third for production, a third for the dealer and a third for the artist, which becomes an interesting calculation when your dealer expects 50% of the asking price.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Just had to respond

I came across this quote by cowboy artist Harley Brown that just did require a response.
“A painting doesn't have to have a profound meaning. It doesn't have to 'say' a word. We fall in love for simpler reasons.”
And whilst I agree with it up to a point, how much more rewarding is the experience when your new found friend does actually have thoughts and opinions they are prepared to share. Works of art like people become more valued when they enrich your life through the sharing of ideas and the experiences that inform them. It is then when they grace your wall they become more than wall paper which through its very nature should be mute.
As my father was so fond of saying, “Marry in haste, repent at dinner time.”

Monday, September 10, 2007

Some Art Blogs Out There

A purely subjective summary of some of the blogs related to art that have found their way into my bookmarks.

Edward Winkleman (art, politics, gossip & tough love)
Published: Daily, Monday through Friday.
I Read: Daily, Tuesday through Saturday
Tackles meaty issues that get the grey matter working, not only from the blog post but from the comments as well. Like the art & religion post that attracted 119 comments that ranged far and wide but then such a topic would. 5/5

: spasmodically
I Read: Spasmodically
Chris Rywalt attends Gallery openings in the Big Apple and posts detailed reports of his adventures in a very readable and opinionated form. BTW he finds photography boring and what I can see via the internet of what is showing there it is understandable. 4/5

Conscientious (A weblog about fine art photography)
Published: Almost daily, sometimes several times a day
I Read: Daily
Joerg Colberg is German and a scientist and takes his blog seriously. Provides a lot of posts, news and links but his choices in photography …….. well, I can understand where Chris Rywalt is coming from. 4/5

Empty Easel
I Read: Spasmodically
Dan (my last name is a secret) writes practical advice for artists, bit Art 101 really and reviews painters both living and dead in a Readers Digest Condensed Book format. 3/5

The Intrepid Art Collector (Adventures in the art market)
Published: 2 or 3 times a week
I Read: every couple of days
Lisa Hunter, author of a book with the same name as her blog, writes wide ranging posts about the art market (duh) and provides gems of information sprinkled throughout. 5/5

Art Market Blog
: every other day
I Read: every couple of days
Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist and in AMB he writes about the art market from an investor’s point of view. 4/5

Art Print Issues
: couple of times a week
I Read: spasmodically
Barney Davey writes about the art print market from a wall décor perspective rather than an art perspective. 3/5

I Read: a couple of times a week but increasing.
Geoff Manaugh writes about art from an architectural point of view with urban design and landscape thrown in for good measure. 4/5

All About Art & Artists
: Spasmodically
I Read: Spasmodically
Dawn Keur is feisty and opinionated and takes on all comers with her tirades about what she considers to be muddle headed in the art world. 3/5

The Expat
: several times a week
I Read: proof read mostly
It’s a bit of a dog’s breakfast of opinion, art, politics, the Philippines or anything else that takes the authors fancy. 10/5 but I’m biased.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Skyline with power Lines X


To quote one of John Cages favourite sayings "I am for the birds, not for the cages people put them in."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Shameless Self Promotion

With my Canberra exhibition opening in just 13 days I am into shameless self promotion mode. And two of my favourite blogs Edward Winkleman and The Intrepid Art Collector this day have given me the opportunity to float my boat. Thanks muchly guys.

Just in case you have missed it, Altered States II opens on 17 September at the ANU’s Photospace Gallery. I've done my thing, One Workshop Printers have done their thing, FedEx has done its thing, the Peter Fitzpatrick will soon do his thing and then gentle reader comes the chance for you to do your thing. Agreed you've gotta be in Down Under's National Capital, but it's a great place to visit in spring time, just ask GW.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Photographic Health Advisory No 1

Captured moments in time.

It is a truism in the photographic world that all photographs are trapping the fleeting prey in your little box. If that is all there is to a photo it is only and will be for all time a snapshot, for one person’s “moment in time” is another’s yawn.

Whilst what is trapped in the box is 1/500th of a second of reality what the photographer does in the darkroom or in 21st Century parlance the Lightroom that makes the photograph. It is the photographer’s skill in manipulating form and content outside the box which makes for the memorable photograph.