For Christmas I received an early present in the mail from a young woman I have never met from a place I haven't been to in years. How did this miracle occur? It was courtesy of one of my favourite things, the art trade.
I made my first art trade about five years ago during the Culture Crawl. Tanya Mitchell, a potter who was in my building was poking around my studio and told me how much she loved one painting, an encaustic rose. I told her how much I loved one of her huge platters and she suggested that if my painting didn't sell during the Crawl, we could make a trade afterwards. It all worked out, and I was amazed by how much pleasure I got from that platter, everytime I used it, I felt like I had earned it with my own hard labour.
Now negotiating art trades requires a very delicate diplomacy. Some artists may prefer the cash, if you like their art you buy it and then they will buy yours. You may want to trade with an artist, but perhaps they don't like your work. I have proposed trades to artists who sweetly smiled and demurred, which is of course their right. Also there is the issue of values, sometimes your prices may be significantly different, so you may want to do some kind of cash/art combination. I love looking at other people's artwork and poking in other people's studios, so I usually know what another artist's work looks like before they have seen mine. If an artist whose work I love comes and admires mine, that is the optimum time to suggest a trade.
The Christmas art trade had its beginnings when I took part in the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition last summer. A woman who had seen my work there contacted me to contribute to the Ontario College of Art fundraiser. When I investigated a little further, I ended up on the site of the artist who had sent me the email request, I fell in love with her sweet paintings. Her name is Jessica Newell, and she not only makes cupcake art, she makes cakes as well. Life perfectly intersecting with art. We started an email negotiation that resulted in my unwrapping this adorable painting:
And here's the painting I sent to Jessica, along with a plaster cupcake. I do love dessert art!
I must admit, guiltily, that I did not end up sending anything to the OCA fundraiser, but I hope to next year. I also hope to meet Jessica some day, perhaps over a cupcake!