Thursday, January 19, 2012

A New Year of Giving

There’s no question that 2011 was a difficult year in the art world around me.  Local galleries were closing down and some are still teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Several artists I know were forced to give up their studios and take their practices home. Although I realize that many artists thrive in home studios, the ones I know were wistful about leaving the artistic support and community of a studio building, but resigned to the fact that they could no longer afford it.  Other artists had to put their art on the back burner and take up better-paying jobs.  During this year’s Culture Crawl, I heard more people speak frankly about the financial aspect of collecting artwork, saying that they loved a lot of the work that they saw on the Crawl but they couldn’t afford it. British Columbia bucked the trends for a while, but the economic turndown has finally caught up with consumer attitudes.

I have to consider myself fortunate in all this turmoil, my art sales have remained steady and while I haven’t experienced the growth I’ve had during stronger economic times, I’m happy with my art business. 

Each year, I try to set up a general goal for my art.  In the past, goals have been to get more public gallery shows and to generate more media coverage of my art. Although I have a business background, I never set specific goals, such as: “Increase sales by 25%,” because that would be pointless. I can't control the market, and while a big art sale might increase sales temporarily, it would harm my sales in the long term. My goals are more general. When opportunities arise, I take those that move me in the direction of my goals, all the while maintaining my painting practice and my regular marketing efforts.

This year my goal is a little different, it's a philosophical goal.  I’m calling 2012: A Year of Giving. Being an artist, I work alone in my studio, and operate my art business is in a vacuum, and while I have donated art to institutions like the Vancouver General Hospital and the National Nikkei Museum, I’d like to be more mindful of my part in a world that needs a little generosity right now.

What I mean by giving is not just giving art to different charities and auctions, because I already have some strong opinions on that subject. I’m thinking about giving in terms of donating art supplies to programs that need them, donating time, promoting other artists I love, and even giving a little joy to all the people that like my art.

I’ll blog about some of these endeavours as they occur, since this blog is always a place to freely give:  information, amusement and advice. Meantime, stay tuned for more!


  1. I love how you are taking a time in which many would consider cutting back on generosity and amping yours up! It will come back to you, one hundredfold, my friend.

    PS-- Shoot me an email if you'd be interested in coordinating efforts for a giveaway or donation project through Artsy Forager. Would love to spread the generosity with you!

  2. Wow thanks Lesley, that's a great opportunity and I will have to brainstorm a little to see how I can take advantage of it. I feel a little humbled by your words, because I feel like I'm just doing something that may be overdue, but thank you in any case.

  3. I think giving is something that is so beneficial, but difficult to make yourself do. Its a lot easier to be self-contained, but once you start giving I bet it can be addictive!
    Good luck on your year of gifts!

    Also, I heard about this awesome charity that gives small to medium sized cute paintings to starving law school students. I think you just ship it to their headquarters in Kingston or something and they take care of the rest. Just a suggestion!

    1. Somehow I feel you've missed the point of the post. Certainly law students may be starving now but hopefully not in the future. Perhaps someday I'll need a lawyer and I can pay her off in artwork.

  4. Beautiful sentiments and beautifully written-I'd be glad to help.