Today's postings

  1. [Baren 32323] Re: hanga troubles and peddlin' this stuff (Ragtaghorde #
  2. [Baren 32324] Re: Baren Digest (old) V37 #3713 ("Marilynn Smith")
  3. [Baren 32325] feeling better now thanks ("hanna_platt #")
  4. [Baren 32326] Re: feeling better now thanks (Dave Bull)
  5. [Baren 32327] RE: New Baren Digest (Text) V37 #3713 (Dec 3, 2006) ("phare-camp #")
  6. [Baren 32328] RE: feeling better now thanks ("Charlie overshoe")
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Message 7
From: Ragtaghorde #
Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 08:08:41 EST
Subject: [Baren 32323] Re: hanga troubles and peddlin' this stuff
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I was deeply wounded by someone referring to my prints as "kitchen art" until
she explained that she didn't mean it as an insult, but rather as a
compliment. She meant that my work makes people feel good, gives them pleasure every
time they look at it, and they want to keep it where they see it often instead
of sequestered away in an "important" space where no one ever goes.

Since I never aspired to being an 'important artist' this makes sense to me.
Making people happy is a wonderful thing. ;^)

Another thing I have thought a lot about recently is being true to myself.
My art style (no matter what media I am working in) is small, detailed,
intimate pieces. Almost all my images are of animals. This is directly contrary to
the perception that 'real art' is *large*, painterly, and if realist then it
must be landscape or figural. I have tried to work large and painterly, but it
is a struggle, and the second I relax I shoot right back to tiny and tight.
I have finally accepted that, as Maria says, it is all about doing what you
love, and that there is no right or wrong art, just what is right for the

As for pricing - I haven't gotten it all worked out quite yet, but I am
trying to keep my price point for prints equivalent to lunch out in a decent
restaurant. I want people to value my art but to be able to buy without having to
agonize over it. I also would rather sell 5 prints at $20 each than none at
$100 each...


Annie Fitt
& the Ragtag Horde ~ Whippets of Mass Destruction!
Wake, Virginia
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Message 1
From: "Marilynn Smith"
Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 12:18:20 -0800
Subject: [Baren 32324] Re: Baren Digest (old) V37 #3713
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I stopped, just stopped selling. I pulled it out of galleries and went off
with my husband to enjoy his retirement with him. I make art because that
is who I am , it is my soul. It is not my profession, it is not my hobby,
it is who I am. Perhaps it is an obsession. I have been very cranky this
week. Why??? Because with all this traveling, unpacking and settling in I
have had NO ART TIME!!!!!!! Some year I will again sell art, out of my
house, my very own dream , I can wait for that day. Maybe I am insane,
there are moments when I wonder. I have endured artist block, been told
that I was given a gift, like my art just dropped down from heaven. I never
spent hours in classes learning all about composition, color, even some
about framing. And those 10 years every Friday with a nude to draw and
paint, no it just dropped down fron the sky and I do it, Hmmmm!!! I never
cut so many crooked mats so that I could learn to cut some straight , just
to make framing affordable. I never threw out all of a edition because I
goofed up and it all failed, no never. It never takes hours of labor, it is
just inspired from the art gods.

I have heard people look and say, Oh I paint, how nice. I have overheard
the criticisms. I have been told that a nicely framed little print that
someone really liked was way too expensive when I only asked $50. for the
darn thing. I have watched people buy framed prints with glee for their
living rooms and never even take a glance at my art.

If selling were the reason I made art I would have quit long before I
started. I keep telling myself I am a painter, so why oh why does that wood
pull me away. Why in heavens name do I want to carve??? This is really
nuts, why do I want to spend a ton on a good piece of Japanese paper when I
know I am not that great at printing. Because this is who I am, it is more
than a passion it is life. I can not live and breathe if I do not create.
I am not the talent Maria is, I just do not care. I am me and I will do the
best I can with what I have. I worked outside this summer on a picnic table
because there was no room anywhere in that house. My press sat in a corner,
I could not get to it. So I spooned my prints, I used my baren, I did this
because I had to make art, it is me. I also sat outside at a really rickety
old table and painted 3 full sheet watercolors of my beautiful bay. One day
I wil frame one and have it hanging in my studio gallery, a centerpiece for
my work. Yes I am a dreamer, comes with the territory.

Now I have 2 tiny shelves in an over crowded garage for my art stuff and a
basket that sits behind the chair in my living room. No matter, I am not
making money, I have had offers, maybe one day the right one will come,
maybe not.

Maria, thank you so much. Your passion is on target, you are on target and
you set a great example for the rest of us.

The rest of you quit whining and get to work!
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Message 2
From: "hanna_platt #"
Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2006 18:35:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: [Baren 32325] feeling better now thanks
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hi all,
thanks for the encouragement and and advice. I think the problem was that my paper was too wet. I hate to sound like such a complainer but I will anyway. I still want to know why people are willing to pay more for the frame than the art that goes into it? Is it because artists hold a lower place in our society. Do you think people ever go into a frame shop and say to the person "hey what a great little hobby you have here."? I did go to college to learn how to do this stuff i even majored in printmaking. Its not just a hobby to me. It seems like thats how so many people view art and artists. They love making art so much its just a bonus if someone buys it. they would make art even if know one bought it. Am i just being self indulgent. is there no other reason to make art than because i love to. if thats the case i should quit. is art pointless? how many people would care or notice if there was no art made from now on. See that really sounds whinny crybaby well i didn't mean
it to. I'll shut up now and go print.
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Message 3
From: Dave Bull
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 09:22:35 +0900
Subject: [Baren 32326] Re: feeling better now thanks
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> Am i just being self indulgent. is there no other reason to make art
> than because i love to. if thats the case i should quit. is art
> pointless? how many people would care or notice if there was no art
> made from now on.

The question of whether or not what you are doing has any value to
society is not answered by _you_, but by _society_.

For most people - those in a 'regular job' - their contribution to
society is a bit difficult to see; they work as part of a larger
organization, are compensated for their work and time, and it is
sometimes not easy to separate out just how the 'give and take' is
balanced. Just a random example - a person sitting across from me on
the train - he works in some kind of company downtown, does 'something'
at a desk, is paid for it, and thus earns his way in society. The
actual work he does may not be visible to us, but he must be 'doing his
part', or he wouldn't be employed.

But for you and I - who have chosen to make our living by creating
images on pieces of paper - it is _very_ easy to measure our value to
society. We live right out on the edge, where nothing is hidden. We
create something and offer it for sale. By that action, we are
implicitly saying "I want people to make a direct exchange of their
labour for my own. I want to be part of this society."

_If_ people decide to buy it and thus put food on the table for us,
then we have managed to make ourselves useful to society, and can enjoy
our meal, knowing that we have earned it honestly.

But if nobody wants the things you are making, if nobody wants to make
this exchange of labour, then so be it, you have to recognize that what
you are doing simply doesn't have any 'value to society'.

Now I'm grossly simplifying of course, but I think that this is the
basic analysis of how things work. We can all think of the example of
some great artist of the past who couldn't sell anything while he was
alive, but is now famous, and whose work sells for gazillions. My point
doesn't change. He offered nothing to his contemporary society. He
could see that at the time - nobody wanted his stuff - but he marched
to the beat of his own drummer, because that's what he wanted to do.
You just have to make your choice - make things that people want, or
make things that _you_ want to make. There is no mystery.

For some of us - and I include myself here - it is possible to combine
the two; I have carved a path that seems (so far, anyway) to offer at
least _some_ value to society, while still giving me my own personal

You just have to find that spot. If you get upset when people say to
you "hey what a great little hobby you have here" then:
- get yourself into a place where you are talking to different people,
- make work that people will recognize is _not_ hobby material, or
- just shrug it off and wait for somebody more knowledgeable to come
along, or
- educate them about what you are doing, or
- all of the above (ala Wonderwoman Maria) ...

Anyway ... time to get away from this machine, and get back printing
... so many deadlines chasing me!

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Message 4
From: "phare-camp #"
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 00:11:46 -0500
Subject: [Baren 32327] RE: New Baren Digest (Text) V37 #3713 (Dec 3, 2006)
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"Keep your head down and keep working. "

I once tried to focus on doing freelance graphic design to buy bread and
butter. I found myself so focused on making money that I stopped making
good art. The best thing my mother did for me was to make me learn to
type. I can always get a job making good money that doesn't require my
creative focus or even deep thought. This puts food on the table and saves
my soul for making the art I want to make when I want... And I'm in good
company -- Marcel Duchamp paid rent by working as a librarian just so he
could make the art he wanted to make when he wanted...and not those trendy
cubist paintings everyone else was doing...

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Message 5
From: "Charlie overshoe"
Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2006 22:38:46 -0800
Subject: [Baren 32328] RE: feeling better now thanks
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Hi Viza,

Wish I had some great tips to impart but the truth is that making a living
in the art world is hard work! Way harder than making a living doing a
conventional job.

Whatever your end product ( be it paintings, prints or pottery, etc) you not
only have to create it - you have to market it. So in essence you have two

If you are lucky ..... usually not mentioned but luck is a very real factor
in how your work is click right away. Nothing like being
in the right place, at the right time, with something that strikes the fancy
of the buying public.

Next to outright luck, there are the "right" shows and galleries. These can
make all the difference. Many confer a sort of "good housekeeping" seal of
approval. This is important! Once in, your work has been validated ( some
art authority has officially assured people that your work is good enough to
spend money on) and you are on your way. However,finding these galleries or
being juried into these shows is usually a matter of trial and error .....
at least it was when I was selling pottery... at that time many potters
guarded (and may still guard) this information like state secrets. The Baren
group seems to be supportive so it is possible that some may share.....

As to being treated like a hobbyist ( is that spelling right???) I think it
has something to do with the Puritan work ethic ( at least in the USA) and
my observations have led me to believe that...
1. If you enjoy it it can't be work( and it's possible that what you do
should be banned entirely) ....
2. You've create a product that has no concrete use ("Darlin', I can't
shovel snow with this.")
means that what you do isn't worth all that much. The frame on the other

Hope you love what you do enough to keep on printing, keep on printing, keep
on printing......


Barbara P.