Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Working at the Cooperative Art Gallery

Yesterday it was my turn to work in the Art Council of Southwest Florida’s new art gallery at Coconut Point. This Season, we have a new location; one that should be busier. The day after a holiday (Veterans Day), however, was slower than watching paint dry.

We had only 18 customers, and most of them were other artists curious to see the work of their peers and to inquire about the possibility of joining our organization. No sales were recorded, but the day was filled with conservation and enlightenment.

I’m amazed with the ingenuity of individual artists. The gallery represents an array of subject matter and styles that almost overwhelm the visitors. It is truly exciting to be a part of this exhibit.

I’m a people person at heart. As a free-lance writer and consultant before I became an artist, my job was to interview people. This skill has stayed with me, and I truly enjoy getting to know what makes people “tick.”

"IN PROGRESS -- Next Stage"
Each person, regardless of where they come from or who they are, has an interesting story to tell. Some have painful stories that show up in the kind of art they pursue. Others are shy and have difficulty verbalizing how deeply they feel about their artwork and skill.

I listened attentively to two such men who were soft-spoken, and modest in spite of being well-known and extremely talented. Writers are somewhat similar. All of their expression goes directly from the head and heart to paper. They are often reticent to speak in public and shy in personal relationships. Sometimes success overcomes these feelings and sometimes not.

"Moonshines" 18x24 mixed media on canvas
My most interesting customer was a transvestite who donned a wig and the dress of an older woman. He seemed perfectly comfortable with who he was. He used his large hands when he talked, and didn’t disguise his booming male voice. He spent about an hour with us talking about the artwork, sharing his own life as an artist, and expressing interest in joining our network.

Artists come in all shapes, sizes, colors, races, and styles. But there is one thing we all have in common: the way we see the world in color, shape, and form; and a shared love for expressing our vision.

"Through her Eyes" 9x12 pencil sketch from live model