“Architecture Imitating Nature” 2008
“No statement should be believed because it is made by an authority” – Robert Heinlein
So many artists here in New Mexico are convinced we live in an “Art Mecca”, we have also been called an “Art Destination” by a few magazines, even a “Major Art City”, by another publication. What truth lies behind these titles…if any. New Mexico has been a place artists have flocked to for the ideal painting environment, a place where the “Light” offers a wonderful opportunity for an artist to excel within their particular discipline of art, and historically it has been a very cheap place to live comparatively speaking. The state can boast of the “Taos Ten”, R.C. Gorman, Fritz Scholder, Peter Hurd, Georgia O’Keeffe, Wilson Hurley, Alan Houser, and a myriad of other artists that made a name for themselves as well as the state. Statistically, I’ve no idea how many people call themselves “Professional Artist” on their 1040 or 1040ez federal tax form, (if they even file one including art sales) but I would wager to say the number who profess being artist verses the number who actually admit to the federal government that they are artists is significantly different. If “Art Destination”, “Major Art City”, or “Art Mecca” were the case there would certainly be more artists making a living producing art. In Albuquerque most everyone is an artist or knows at least one , they just have to work as a waiter or cab driver, or a hair-care sales rep, until their art hits, If it ever does. The local competition for sales is ridiculous, think about it, how many painters do you know, or jewelers, or watercolor artists, or sculptors, or weavers, or collage artists, or visionary conceptual artist, that make a living from producing art????? Like me you can maybe count one maybe two. What does that say?
In our current economy, “Art Destinations” are dying on the vine, every other gallery in Palm Springs is Vacant, (approx 90 closures) over a dozen galleries on Scottsdale’s Marshall Way are closed or closing this year. Santa Fe is waiting for the tourists to boost the economy…. Leave us not forget Canyon Road…the epitome of gallery delusion and the epicenter for the ever-present mind-set of Kalopsia. The brick and mortar mentality of the gallery is beginning to crumble.
Many of these well established galleries that are closing or have closed their doors are turning to the internet and developing galleries that are:
1. More realistic in this current economic climate
2. Offer a greater equitable exchange with the artist
3. Require a very different more affordable overhead
As “artists”, we have more options than before, comparable to a buyers market. We now can negotiate with galleries, show promoters, and artists reps and have more ability to gain what we want and not the historic method of selling art. Many artists are not using any representation at all other than their own websites, coop internet galleries, and apartment shows.
Even though the economy has damaged art sales, our choice of life styles also is based on the idea of discretionary sales, and when people are losing their homes, jobs, cars etc, the last thing they want to think about is purchasing a new piece of art they can hang on the wall that just got repossesed.
This is a wonderful time for artists, it time to build inventory, define ourselves as artists, discover our artistic strengths and hone them, develop are weaknesses into viable assets.
Here is a link to one of many magazines that talks about art trends. www.thelmagazine.com/newyork/art-world-trends-for-2010/Content?oid=1493205
and just remember what Dorothy said…”I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore Toto”