Beware of wild impulses. Supposedly they lead to great new opportunities, but every so often they also lead to hundreds of strangers tramping through your house.
Met up with some very nice people at Pacific Northwest Sculptors the other night, and two very nice sculptors asked if I’d applied to be included in Portland Open Studios? “You mean the thing where you buy the calendar and it lets you drive around to the artists’ studios, see them doing their work and, I imagine, buy their stuff?”
That was the one, they confirmed. Pate de verre sculpture was unusual enough to be a big draw. Why hadn’t I applied?
Uh, because my studio is crowded when it contains two people, let alone 30, I’m not exactly centrally located, I’m not set up to take credit cards in my home, and the thought of strangers borrowing art off my walls and somehow forgetting to bring it back doesn’t exactly fill me with joy?
They assured me it wasn’t like that, that POS was a great chance to meet lots of interesting people, instead of touring them through my little studio space I could set up a larger studio/gallery in the garage, and the selling part of the equation was actually an incentive. “Trust us,” they said, “You need to get experience talking about your work like an artist and there’s no better way to do that than Portland Open Studios.”
Alright, I admit I need to get out of the Sally Field school of artistic response, i.e., “You like it? You want to buy it? Are you nuts?” Although I have yet to commit the cardinal sin of pricing (“I dunno. How much do you think it’s worth?”), I’m told I’m not far off. “If you’re going to make it, you’ve got to learn to sell it,” a very successful artist friend said, darkly.
Weeeeeellll…the prospect of visitors usually sparks a massive remodel project with me, and this one would force me to actually turn the garage into a real studio, something I’ve been promising myself for the past three years. I like meeting new people, the art collection is insured, the little selling thing wasn’t to be denied…so I sent in the application.
The POS jury accepted me about 15 minutes after I’d changed my mind. Ain’t that always the way?
And so now the garage renovation MUST be done by October, I’ve got a very tight deadline–like most ex-journalists, I still need impossible deadlines to prod my lazy carcass into producing–and I have a genuine excuse to spend a LOT of time in the studio.
And if you’re in PDX in mid-October, buy a calendar and come visit.