Monday, April 14, 2008

The Gallery
12 x 16 Oil on Panel

Once an art student decides they have mastered the principles of painting they then have to decide on a course of action to get those paintings out into the world. The usual course is to create a body of work and then take them to the gallery of your choice who will, of course, lavishly praise your paintings and offer you a one man show. It seemed obvious to us that the galleries that would be most receptive to our work were the ones that were showing Frank's paintings, but we didn't think introducing our paintings into his market was the kindest way to repay him for teaching us to paint. So as we mulled over which lucky gallery should have our work we thought it might be a good idea to test various markets around the country. Juried exhibits are a great way to do this because you only need to send one piece and can disperse your work over a large area in a short time. In the back of American Artist magazine there are listings for shows so we sent away for prospectuses of any show that took oil paintings. Of those we took the 10 best prospects, filled out the forms, labeled the slides, wrote checks for the fees and happily painted as we waited for our acceptance notices to arrive. One by one they came back...rejected...rejected...rejected. Of the 10 shows we sent to we got 9 rejections. The only exhibit we got into was a small painting show in Wichita, Kansas. We humbly packed up our paintings and sent them away. A few days later the president of the Wichita Art Association called to tell us that my painting, The Gallery, won 1st prize and also a purchase award, Elizabeth's painting won 2nd prize.....


dsb said...

I appreciate this entry with all its commentary on artist's ethics and rewards. But I wonder if your and Elizabeth's concern about introducing your work into Frank's market was justified. Of course, I haven't seen Frank's work, but I imagine it's as different as the two Toraks are from each other. What do you think of the crossover markets now, with blogging and websites expanding markets?

Thomas Torak said...

Frank is my friend as well as my teacher. We are both competing for sales in the larger art market, but hanging our work next to each other means one of us may lose a sale to other. There are lots of galleries out there and I'd rather give him as much space as possible. It's not a competitive thing, it's a courtesy thing.
The internet is another matter. There, it seems, we are all separate but equal.