Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Solo Fiasco

My "big" opening is Friday. My first "solo". It is not taking place in a fancy gallery. It is not on Gallery Row in Lancaster where I used to exhibit as a resident artist.

Instead, I have a little room in an old Victorian house. The proprietor requested 40 paintings. I could only fit 29. (A few are on the large side). This is a collegetown coffee house, complete with cappuccino, live music and exhibiting artists I'm told.

The day before I delivered my paintings, she asked if I could supply the postcards. She didn't have the budget to do such things. (I'm missing the Red Raven already). She booked me for this show way back in October. She tells me this on February 26th. I designed and ordered postcards on Zazzle, in between picking up some framing which cost me a pretty penny. Needless to say they arrived two days ago.

When I get to my "room" I am instructed to lay out the paintings to decide what goes where. "She" had to "balance" the colors, landscapes with still lives, so on and so forth.

I had two abstract mixed media paintings framed for this event. They looked phenomenal after framing.

Proprietress P was not impressed. "The room is not feeling the abstracts" she says. Well okay then. "And this community doesn't appreciate nudes..." (I just framed that one too).

Then she asks if I have labels to specifically fit on her little Victorian moulding that some of my paintings are sitting upon.

After seeing my prices she exclaimed, "I hope 'your guests' are going to spend lots of money here." After adhering the aforementioned adhesives, I proceed to the coffee counter to buy a cup for Doug. My beloved husband, who Proprietress called my grunt. Meanwhile, Ms. P. was conversing with a customer, discussing why she prefers working with musicians over artists. (Musicians are more organized and businesslike apparently).

During this week, I decided to email Ms. P to ask whether they will be providing refreshments for "my guests". Or Should I provide something and by the way, what did you tell me you wanted in commission.

She tells me she makes no money unless the art sells. (She implies that she is doing me a "huge" favor by letting me use her wall. Her commission on any work sold is 40%. There will be two "barristas" selling coffee and pastries. I can't provide the customary wine and cheese because it conflicts with her restaurant. I should provide prints for $40.00 because people can't afford my paintings. I tell her it costs me $35.00 to make each print. If I sell them for $40.00, less her 40%,well, you do the math.

So if I sound a little less than enthusiastic, now you know why. I paint because I love to paint. I am definitely not in it for the money. My paintings are generally priced in the $300 to $800 range. I have to "up" the price a little because galleries take between 25-40%. Framing is expensive as well .

I had gum surgery today. I have been prescribed Vicoden. I am no longer feeling pain. I am quite "HAPPY" at the moment. So please do not feel bad for me despite my rant. When it is all said and done, I can now put a solo show on my resume! I suppose she will bad-mouth me if my paintings do not sell. I'm okay with the fact that my paintings are not selling off the walls. I am in no hurry to "get rid" of them. I just want people to see them. I get much better feedback from bloggers than I do at any gallery. I am happier when I give away a painting. (I will just go broke doing it) I donated two prints to a charity this month as well.

So please! Don't buy any of my paintings from Proprietress P.


dive said...

Musicians? More organised and businesslike? Hahahahahaha!
Ah, that'll keep me laughing all week, Neetzy.

I certainly won't be buying from that proprietess, though I do wish I lived close enough to go to the show and criticise her house. Having said that, I do hope your show is a complete success and that you get lots of people expressing an interest who will buy paintings later from you personally.

Enjoy your Vicoden vacation!

neetzy said...

Hah Dive,

Funny. I thought of you when she made the musician comment. I first contacted the woman because my daughter wanted to play in her coffeehouse. She told me she also had an art gallery and was looking for artists. What can I say? She is an oboe player. Everyone knows they are whacked!

dive said...

Sheesh! The oboe is the only instrument I have ever found that I cannot raise a squeak out of. I can burst every blood vessel in my cheeks and still that damned double-reed won't parp for me.
Not that I mind; I've always maintained that NOBODY can get a noise out of an oboe and that oboists in orchestras have little people hidden under their chairs, faking the music by forcing farts out of rats.
Think of that when you next speak to the gallery woman. Hee hee.

neetzy said...

Dive, I love it! Squeaking farts out of rats!

I tried to play the oboe in elementary school. I wanted to join the band. My parents wouldn't rent me an instrument. The only instrument that the school had on hand was the oboe. I couldn't get the thing to fart!
I then went on to guitar lessons. I did okay for a while.
I got an electric guitar at about 12 or 13. After Smoke on the Water, I think I replicated the farting rat!

Maria said...

I have known a few artists and I live with a musician. I think they all have to be just a little bit crazy in order to produce that kind of beauty.

I hope you are proud of yourself because, you know, this is a big deal! Fingers crossed for you.

Katie said...

Yikes! I so wish I could be there tomorrow to be part of your crowd. Then I would definitely cut a deal to buy a painting or two -- OUTSIDE so you'd get 100%. That woman sounds a bit nuts so I give you a lot of credit for even dealing with her. Just go and have fun!

Shazza said...

I enjoyed your vicoden inspired writing very much! Ms. P sounds a little pinched doesn't she. whatever.

Hang those brilliant pieces and enjoy the experience.

Love ya!

Poetikat said...

Ooh, Vicodin, eh? You and Dr. House!

Take it easy on that stuff. Hope you feel better soon.

P.S. Looking for the poet info, (but I'm half asleep).


Janelle Goodwin said...

That proprietess sounds like a fruitcake. I would love to attend your show though. It's good to get your work out there and be seen and I give you a huge gold star for doing it.

When I had a solo exhibit at the local library last October, I got the snob attitude too. But a month later, someone who had seen my work and kept my business card, called and bought one of my paintings. Your work is beautiful, Neetzy!

neetzy said...

Thanks Everyone. My dream show would involve having all of you there! Maria, Kat, Katie, Janelle, Shazza, Dive! All of you have supported my work on this blog!

Thanks Shazza
for physically making the drive from Jersey to Elizabethtown! I was honored and surprised by your visit!

I told everyone I knew NOT to buy a painting. She certainly does not deserve the 40%.

Artists, Musicians, writers, we are all just trying to share a little bit of our souls with the world. I appreciate anyone who makes the effort. You have shared so much with your blog!

I'm finished with the Vicoden. I have to say it is a wonderful drug when you need it. I only had 8 tabs. I'm just down to regular Ibuprofen. I noticed when those wore off last night. Don't worry, I would rather sip a nice wine than pop pills for recreational purposes.

I'm so glad you understand. I don't like the snobby side of the art world. Proprietress was a little nicer to me last night She introduced me to a lovely older artist who showed five decades worth of painting there. I was surrounded by family, friends and a former student.

Heather said...

count me in on your dream show...and chalk this one up in the resumee've got just the right attitude and I've done many a show like this along the way...builds character and sharpens talons !

neetzy said...

Thanks Heather! Building character and sharpening talons! I like that!

Lauren said...

yes Proprietress of said shop is quite an unattractive character. Scatter-brained to say the least... Sorry you had all those issues...she's bonkers.

Poetikat said...

Ah well, at least it was an experience, eh? Too bad about the nudes; I really like that one too.

Don't let this get you down. Your work is fantastic and as you said, it's about the art itself, right?


neetzy said...


She is crazy. Thanks for recognizing that! I actually sold one painting. When I picked them up today she was all lovey-dovey!


Again, Thanks for your support. I'll chalk one up to the experience column!