Next post: part 3 Getting paid.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Next post: part 3 Getting paid.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
"Lipstick & Rhinestones"
©JLicsko oil on canvas 12"x9"
Part 1: In this post, and the next, I will share with you a few observations and tips culled from nearly forty years experience dealing with dealers. I have worked with a large number of galleries that have represented my work, my husbands work, or both. A few of these relationships have been exceptionally beneficial and enjoyable.
An art dealer has his feet in two buckets. He must be able to work with strong artistic personalities, speak their language, know where they are coming from, and understand their psychology. Equally important, he must be able to win the trust of collectors. Ideally charismatic, a dealer must be a strong sales force to be effective. It is rare to be fluent in both these worlds, and then add to that, to possess the head for responsible, intelligent, and creative business.
Most dealers own or manage an art gallery in a good location where walk-in traffic is essential. This gallery becomes the headquarters for exhibitions, openings, and day to day sales. This dealer must be proficient at developing a following of collectors, the less glamorous job of maintaining a physical retail space, managing both artists, and a sales staff made up of quirky individuals ranging from those with a seriously admirable arts background, to those who would be equally comfortable selling refrigerators.
I will share with you examples of polar opposites of independent art dealers. The first looks very much like a traveling sales man who will literally knock on doors. He will use one sale to direct him to the next. "Mrs. Jones down the road just bought a piece from you, she thought you might want to see the others I have in the car". (I'm serious). At the other end, is a sophisticated individual, usually with a good arts education, maybe some family connections, perhaps a sexy foreign accent, and the equivalent of a plush condo in New York or Palm Desert. This dealer often has worked out how to live well surrounded by extravagant art. Working at home, with a lower overhead, he is able to write off major portions of his home and elegant lifestyle as business costs.
If your are very lucky, as we once were, you may find the rarest of all, the art dealer who loves art and artists so much that he buys what he loves for his gallery. He sees his role as the conduit. He delights in being able to nurture and support his artists. His personality will have a strong influence on the art exhibited both because his personal taste permeates the gallery, and his choices may effect the artist's work. He will bring out the best in all his artists. If you find one, treat him very very well.
Friday, September 10, 2010
|"The Desert Rose" © J. Licsko '10 oil on canvas|
Friday, July 16, 2010
© J. Licsko 2010
oil o canvas
As mentioned in a previous post "Painting Glass", I live in the Paso Robles wine county, where the win-win collaboration of art and wine is reaching new heights. If you haven't been to Paso Robles in the last couple of years, I encourage you to visit. We have a new annual art festival. The new Studios on the Park, showcases the studios of nearly twenty working artists. The "Studios" building also houses the Paso Robles Art Association's new "Showroom Gallery" where shows change at least every five weeks. The quality of life on the "Central Coast" has pulled many nationally recognized artists to make their homes here. Overall, the quality of art is very good, as is the wine. Almost all art events, and fundraisers, are accompanied by an opportunity to taste a local vintner's best wines. Artists hang shows in tasting rooms, vintners pour at art openings. Both groups are frequent donors to fundraising events.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
© J. Licsko 03
12" x 9" oil on canvas
Visual artists often find the inspiration they need by exposing themselves to music, film, dance, literature and other mediums of expression. These different arts can lift us emotionally, and although we may not reflect the source in our work, the exposure often charges our batteries. We return to our work nourished and freshened.
I was invited to vacation with my mother in Las Vegas recently. The purpose was to wind down, do a little shopping, and enjoy our mother-daughter time together relaxing in the sun. I admit to previously judging Vegas as a little too plastic, too make believe. By the fourth day of this trip, I started to see Las Vegas in a different, more positive light, through more open eyes. Las Vegas can teach us a lot about creativity, promotion, and marketing.
We artists, create something of ourselves, for ourselves. We hope that it also will be desired by others. Las Vegas is a highly successful collective creation, and masterful at the art of seduction. Las Vegas knows its identity, makes no apologies, knows its target audience, caters to what it wants, and introduces its audience to new wants. Artists should know themselves, accept themselves, and search for the audience that both wants their work, and will support it.
In successful paintings, the eye is drawn from place to place by line; painters choose and arrange forms, lines, and textures composing the right balance to please the eye, and keep keep the viewer's eye on the painting .
Visualizing "The Strip" as a canvas, the relative ease of travel on the surface streets and freeways, impressed on me that the city designers are artists in what they do. Architectural forms must work within their layout. The Strip architecture ranges from crass midway style, to the sophistication of the Wynn Tower, but it all works together, and when seen from afar, it makes a strong, identifiable statement. A jumble of themes and styles come together on many layers. Shapes and strokes of color create an appealing patina, strengthened by daring compositions.
As if the desert sun alone isn't enough of a light source, it is enhanced by the equally powerful, endlessly moving, advertising light show. The variety, intensity, and volume is almost too much for the senses. These lights call us, offering a pleasing mosaic of images that represent the always changing, yet always distinct identity of Las Vegas.
A+ to famed architect Frank Gehry's design of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health building. I see this as Frank Gehry's gift to the right brained of the world. Best seen during the side-angled light of early morning or sunset, it is absolutely wonderful!
A good place to get a sense of scale, the Hoover Dam itself is worth the trip, but the ongoing construction of the new Hoover Dam Bypass, is truly awesome. The longest concrete arch in North America, the graceful design illustrates "less is more" driving home the painting lesson: "know when to quit". Both structures reinforce reverence for human ability. The two angel statues on the Nevada side of the dam are the strikingly elegant "Winged Figures" by sculptor Oskar Hansen, put in place in 1935. Realists will fully appreciate sculptor Steven Liguori's work "High Scaler" and his ability to make us feel the weight of the man and the tension of the ropes.
In the old days of art, the patron was essential, or little great art would have been funded. The combination of the patron, Steve Wynn, and the creator, Franco Dragone, results in Le Reve, a multi-faceted work of art. The synergy created from hundreds of individual artists and technicians elevates and transforms the show's audience. Each performer brings aesthetics, intelligence, perseverance, and the infectious joy of doing what one loves. The nature of the physical work these young artists do, results in truly flawless physical specimens, both male and female. The choreography assembles these perfect forms into ideal compositions, every angle well thought out and executed as in the finest painting. Colors by the millions saturated my cells. The lighting, spectacular beyond description, lit both artist and audience, melding us together. For ninety minutes we were transported, in awe of the vision, the setting, the music. The energy generated by the performers, and their dedication to perfection, is an achievement worth respect, and a testament to teamwork.
If you are thinking there are better shows, you've missed my point. Any show, painting, building, bridge is successful when all the needed elements come together at the right time, in accord with the vision. Though not necessarily painters, Las Vegas is abundant with artists at the top of their game. Their energy feeds me.
I am once again reminded of the heights mankind is capable of, and that it is my duty, my privilege, and to my benefit to support it when I am able. Dipping my psyche into the pool of dreams and illusion, I surfaced feeling revitalized. I return, and like the angel statues at the Hoover Dam, whose toes are polished from continuous human touch, all my nerve endings are polished a little. I am receptive. I am inspired.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Watermelon with Grapes
© J.Licsko 2010
0il on canvas
I like to accept commissions occasionally because it offers the opportunity to step out of my self created comfort zone. There is a subtle tension, knowing that a painting could be rejected.
In the middle of October, collectors I had not yet met, had recently purchased a still life of mine from a favorite gallery, and now wanted another. All I was told was that they wanted a still life painting of a watermelon, and that it was intended to be hung in the same room as the first painting. I wanted to please them, and please my gallery too, but the only way I could proceed with confidence was to paint to please myself.
I tried two different watermelons from the farmer's market, both too late in the season for a rich red color inside, neither had seeds. Both were "Heirloom" and therefore small. Organic was not the way to go. I found large watermelons at the big chain supermarket, still not very good color, but the size looked right for a traditional still life. I finally accepted the fact that it would have no seeds, yet the large slice presented the gift of one seed.
The upcoming holiday commitments were adding to the delay in starting. Finding the right composition took much longer than I expected. My preference in a still life is for all the subject parts to be related, a continuity in the theme of the connecting parts. As an example, adding a flower may add the right color, and balance the composition perfectly, but it would seem to me a disconnected addition. I like a scene that appears to be close to a natural occurrence in real life. A watermelon is little more than a big ball until you cut a slice into it, but the slice and the larger part together are still awkward as a composition. It needed more, hence the grapes and the lime, small knife and cloth.
Aligning myself with all the energy of the new year, paint first touched the canvas on January 1, and on the third day, and every day after, I photographed the work hoping to get a more objective view of how I work. I finished the painting January 31, having recorded each day's work with a photo, and a record of the number of the day's hours of painting.
Estimated time working on the composition unknown. I totaled 177 hours of actual painting time in 31 days. All but two of those days were pure pleasure working with colors that make my heart happy. Day 28 and 29 were hard when I reached the inevitable doubts that I was never going to get the painting done in a reasonable time, and maybe the collector had a strong idea in mind, and this wasn't it. Days 30 and 31 were a relief because by then I could see that it was becoming what I had envisioned. The last two days were joyful, all about the highlights and deep shadows. In a recent conversation, artist William B. Eckert and I were in full agreement of how the best part of paintings happen in the last few days. I recommend always taking the last two days to slow down and enjoy the process. It is so nourishing to the creative spirit to take time to play .
The collectors were happy. I learned a lot. I am very pleased with both the experience and most importantly, the finished painting.