Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dreams and Reality in the Art Biz

With permission, I am printing here the full copy of a Facebook post made by fellow local artist Tim Carmany. He makes some great points and I am adding my comments after his text is done. Mine may be a bit more blunt than his, which is probably why he has a lot more friends than I do!

Tim's Essay
The Hub in Canton's Arts District

Artists...I Am Your Biggest Supporter
September 29, 2013 at 1:48am
 I had a dream last night that I had failed.  The Hub was dismantled and more importantly what I had been working towards for years was meaningless. 
Paint and color and wire and solder and creation were meaningless.
I wanted to crawl back under the covers and just die.  It stuck with me all day--I couldn't shake it.
I need to let you all in on something: It does mean a lot to me.  Regardless of what it means to anyone else, it's always going to be an important part of my life.  I'm a nerd about it.  It moves me.  It inspires me.  It depresses me.  And it still blows my mind.  I've never seen a photo, a painting, a sculpture, a film and thought "Now I've seen it all--time for something else!"  There is still so much more we can do.  So much more inspiration and empathy and deep thought and humor and harmony that we can impart.  These are what make us human.
This is why it's not meaningless.
And so I ask politely and even beg you--support them.  Support us.  Help us.  Join us.  Ask us to help you.  Here are three things you can do.

1) If you care about someone who puts their work up in public--take the time to notice it.  "Like" it.  Share it.  Even if it's not mind-blowing, earth-shaking, or even very eye-catching.  Because they tried.  Hard.  And it represents something deep within them.  They made themselves vulnerable.  Let them know you get it.

2) Come to our shows and events.  If you've ever hosted a party you know it's stressful.  Those people who consider themselves artists often times have a tendency to be poor organizers.  Help them out.  Show up.  For my friends in Canton, OH--Come downtown on First Fridays and pop your head into our studios and galleries.  Translations always has amazing exhibits. 2nd April is chalk full of amazing art. Lynda Tuttle's place is always vibrant. Saxton has absolutely amazing photography. Journey is sparkling and an amazing space. 13th Floor has cool/creepy collections.  We're trying to create our own unique space at The Hub on 6th and all the studios on 4th st are incredible.  Not to mention Buzzbin, George's, Auricle, Frankenstein, and all the other music, food, drink venues downtown.  So much to do--come check it out.

3) Buy our things.  If you don't like our things, commission us to do something you do like.  A $20 bill seems to keep an artist working hard for a week if they're selling a piece of their art to a gracious patron.  Ask us to help you with a project.  Ask us for advice.  Keep us working.  Because we will create amazing things if you give us the chance.
I love the city and community I work in and I'd love to see it flourish.  Then...maybe then I'll stop posting sappy notes and sending fb invites to my shows. 
Keepin' it Canton,

Snarky Art comments….. Recently there have been several articles in the media about our CAD. All of which make note of how much there is to do and see and what great entertainment awaits! “See” and “Do” and “Entertainment” are great….but what about “Purchase”, “Commission” “Buy” and otherwise “Support” those whose things you have come to see?  I often make a joke about feeling like a trained monkey on First Fridays. Sit at the easel, paint or draw, and the people watch and perhaps even take the time to glance at my stuff, and then scurry off to the next location who might offer a bowl of free candy.  On the other 29 or so days of what I call the “off season” known as the time between First Fridays, there are not a lot of art shoppers to be seen. Shoppers…yes…sometimes…. for cards, shirts, small gifts, jewelry and things which fit into a standard sized bags, but odd shaped packages are not seen under the arm very often. Have we exhausted our local market? Maybe….  If I had the answer there would be no need to write essays like Tim’s or mine. We work hard to offer you new shows, different work, a chance to understand our world a bit or to rock yours with unusual or uncomfortable imagery. We send postcards, make announcements, post to media, email or whatever we can find to get you to come to where our wares can be seen and experienced. We are not on TV, you cannot Google us, download a show, or wander our display via a controller in virtual reality. You actually have to put on your pants, get in the car, park it someplace else (good luck with that….) get out of the car, walk up some stairs and read the dang labels next to the stuff you “don’t understand”. If it is too expensive, ask us why it costs that much. We do negotiate but we are also a business. Do you ask the plumber to give you a discount? I wonder how many people realize that some of our shows may take years (yes….YEARS) to assemble and create because art is what we are, who we are and why we get up every day. It is a job, but also a passion. Take it away and we might as well die. 

 On that last word, I want to leave you with a question from a recent newspaper article that I find very intriguing (which has nothing really to do with art, but with who you are…) Question: Are you living your resume or your eulogy?  Hmmmm……..


  1. How very true. As I have become more and more a part of the GREAT group of artist in the CAD I have seem the struggles 1st hand and wondered if anyone will show up for an opening or a show we may be trying to do. It is enough to drive you crazy at times. My only comment opposite of what you are speaking to is that there seem to be a lot of "part-time" artists and artisans - go get the people to come we must build it and building it with "part-time" bricks does not a building make. We need to get both sides to commit to the process and I am not seeing enough of that.

    1. Exactly my point to the last question, you got it! A resume says you had a gallery, your eulogy would mention what you did there and the affect it had on others. Which one will people remember in years to come?