Sunday, August 16, 2009

Putting our best foot forward

Necessity is the mother of invention. Who said that? Props to that cat. We do the best we can with what we have in the moment.

Feedback is a wonderful thing. Well, that’s if you care what others think, believe or care about. Feedback isn’t always about us. Through what others say about us, in their feedback, they are affirming who they are, their needs, that which is important to them. Translating feedback is a developed artform of mine. Dialogue is costly. It is the exception not the norm. Everybody that comes through the door of the gallery does not want to engage. Rare is the opportunity of being fully engaged with a “Walk-in”. Most of my conversations are with artists. Weekend walk-ins are different though. During the week, it’s a bit tougher to get with someone about the art.

When everything is right, when we meet someone that wants engage, there is perfection in the conversation; sharing how the painted image affects us. Rarely do I run into an enthusiasm level equal to my own. That’s okay. I know my place. I love when a visitor lets me run, like a rider giving the horse its head and letting him run flat out. On Saturday, I ran into a decent cat that was about the art.

He comes in with a friend and likes what he sees. “Do you have more?” he asks? Yes, I have more. Down in the basement he’s excited about being near the inventory. I can appreciate that. I am an inventory guy myself. I give him an impromptu show, pulling out paintings by the different artists I represent: Brady, Eckel , Callahan, Pappallas, Silvert, E.F. Halbert, Oechsli, Farrell… When we get to the paintings from Jon Eckel’s most recent show, he’s plugged in. Initially he had been looking for a Trip-tik; a three paneled painting. One by one I pulled out Jon’s last show. Quickly, I ran out of room downstairs and begin bringing them up into the Gallery. After adding eight 48” x 60” paintings into the gallery, things got a bit crowded, but we enjoyed a maze of sorts that was created; walking through the paintings standing on end had an eerie but enjoyable sensation to it.

The guy says he thrilled at my engagement. Said he hadn’t gotten similar hospitality in other galleries before making it to Knapp that day. Needless to say, I have mixed feelings about this comment.

So, collectively, as a group of Old City galleries, our joint report card, for that individual, was below par. A fast paced and bizarre ‘010 lifestyle doesn’t afford us many opportunities to build lasting relationships. Truth be known, art is about relationship. I’m just saying. Times are hard enough without having to fend off a bad "rep" to boot. We might want to put our best foot forward, engage and develop relationship within the community? The Art Community, a sub category within the community at large, provides a significant service. We are the vehicle through which culture is maintained; the portal through which your neighbor keeps rhythm with life. Today, I did not sell a painting. However, I did engage and hopefully planted the seeds of a lasting relationship, while possibly changing one person’s tainted perspective of “Old City” galleries.