How do artists navigate in times of crisis? Or is it like we have always known it to being two sides of the same coin?
Well, I’m not an expert on artists’ ways of handling the creative universe of wolves, but I have over the years found that there are almost as many opinions about art as that there are artists in the world. For professional artists, it is a livelihood and an integrated approach in both the execution and the sale of their art work, which must be an instant success or based a long term strategy.
After many travels in the world as a diplomat in tantalizing business life, I have visited many countries, different ethnic races and not least the cultural differences and understandings of the artistic performance and the value of art work intended for sale. I have learned that artists use many forces of new and creative ideas to attract customers yet without thinking about the costs associated with it.
In the Western world we have for many years been accustomed to receive additional financial assistance from the government, sponsors and private promoters when important exhibitions are launched. Some artists even think that such events should come free including stands and everything else like the large administrative apparatus normally associated with such exhibitions.
I must admit, that I find this difficult to understand. The “here I come” way of thinking and acting in an otherwise competitive market.
Now that I’ve cut my roots and after a long-standing wish I established myself together with my partner Catharina as a retiree in the Pyrenees-Orientales. This however does not necessarily imply that I want to dwell on the beach with a book in one hand and a drink in the other. The area is simply so rich in culture, history and nature that it would be difficult to avoid an engaging enthusiasm among active artists be it music, visual arts, exhibitions, concerts or “show business.”
During the last few years I have met so many different artists in these latitudes and they have been able to work and live with the conditions the time’s circumstances allow their artistic skills and creativity to work under. Many are now working together in small collectives keeping their individual skills while exhibiting in groups led by representatives who have a commercial background and, of course, are interested in culture.
There are no princesses or kings in this system. The competition is tough that there is no room for diva allure, just for artists who are actively involved with their own funds for events, gallery exhibitions and PR.
Combinations such as wine tasting in a wine castle and selling art, accompanied by music entertainment, are an excellent way to organize events. There are also many smaller or medium-sized galleries especially in the Vallespir area – a mix of many international artists together with the French and Catalan influence, that has exploded since the French and Spanish masters like Picasso and Salvador Dali rotated around this area with their brilliant, provocative but also highly respected art works.
The area is characterized by tourism during the summer period – perhaps not so much beach dwellers…but rather people who want to experience nature, culture, local people and history. It is therefore not surprising that it is possible to sell art and much more if the products are saleable at reasonable prices. The art of selling and producing are equally important but under cost control required regardless of the concept used. The art work will initially sell itself if complies with the buyers’ taste but PR can at least make a wider section of the population aware of all the events, exhibitions and galleries offered in a region where all artists involved will draw on the same platform.
Culture has always and will be a platform where culture’s fauna is a matter of taste,
attitudes and perhaps a professional approach to this wide range of visual experiences. The colors and shapes will always appeal to individual senses and we are lucky with this diversity which, in contrast, would be a monotonous performance without excessive tension.
The culture, the life, the experiences and the creativity do not stop just because the baptismal certificate tells one that it is now a normal custom to be retired, and we will actively be where things happen in the French / Catalan Vallespir region together with several hundreds of artists having some great visions based on reality’s world – economically, politically and culturally – “Do not wait for the potential buyers, but find them where they are.”
Our objective is simple – We will resume our own exhibitions, musical entertainment, guest exhibitions, lectures and events in collaboration with the local community and to the rules that are related to those areas, where protectionism might be seen in glimpses, but for the benefit of society, especially in this time when only unity and cooperative’s spirit will perhaps end up in a new era for the benefit of all.
Nobody will today work for free no matter what profession we are talking about and therefore I am full of sympathy for the artists who have realized that nothing comes by itself and it is even more difficult under the present circumstances to operate in this industry as a one man show unless we are talking about the upper layers among professional artists.
To become internationally renowned is only curtailed for the few and in many cases it is the artist’s name that is selling more than the actual value of the artist’s performance.
We are looking forward to a future in a good and mutually inspiring and fruitful cooperation with many of these dynamic artists in our local area – which extends all the way through the Vallespir valley in France across to the border of the northern part of Catalonia, Spain.
The challenges are many and I was actually offered a job as an organist in a church recently, which is a completely different ballgame than my favorite area of jazz, bossa nova and swinging blues music.
Welcome to a society in development with versatility as the basic foundation for the eye’s entertainment.