Art is "Retail"

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

Photo title: "Java," Brooklyn, New York, black & white (analog film) -2017


Thanks for checking back. I hope something I have something here to share, something that helps you see in a way you did not see before and think in a way you did not think, until now.

So today while I was scooting around Brooklyn, I was looking at several shops that sold all sorts of knick/knacks; t-shirts, shoes, etc…both used knick/knacks and new.

And although there was an emotional response to what I saw, you might think that response was far so away from the world of creativity and art, but the truth is; it wasn’t and never will be.

And today, I felt it necessary to share the hard realization with you that “art is retail”

Let me start with a quick story to my point…

Back in 2017, I was dying to have my photography exhibited at Art Basel Miami.

I knew a gallery owner from Paris, who also also owns a contemporary gallery in Los Angeles. I reached out to him with the hopes that he would consider my new body of work for the upcoming event. I was really proud of my new work and I knew that if he would just consider accepting one of my pieces, it could be the beginning of something great for me.

Well, that never happened (for several reasons) and my bubble was burst, but none the less, being the tenacious creative I am, I reached out to him weeks later for an update on how the show went.

His reply: “I spent over $150,000 setting up my artists for the Art Basel show in Miami, it was the biggest waste of money ever! There are NO real collectors in Miami. The real collectors are in New York. Never again!”

Now, I can’t say I can blame the guy for feeling the way he did. We all need a return on our investment. Either an emotional return or monetary return, both being ideal. But this simply was not the case.

Now, I don't know about you but if I spent $150K and had nothing to show for it, I think I would cut my own throat. Yeah, we artists are dramatic. came to me at that moment; "art is retail." As is the case with any retail product; we have to think like retailers, act like retailers and service our clients like retailers.

There really is no other way to put it.

This was a hard lesson for me at the start of my career and still presents challenges today. But, to help, what I started doing years ago is; spending 80% of my time doing the things that bring in the money and 20% of my time doing the things that I am passionate about.

Today was one of those days that seemed pointless, zipping around Brooklyn on my electric scooter, picking up garbage and other bullshit that inspired me. It was time well spent.

You are either in this game 100% or not.

Here are a few thoughts to maybe write down:

What am I passionate about.

What am I really good at (exploit the fuck out of it and be the best).

Write down the things you are NOT passionate about but you need to complete to get to the next stage in your career. (Check on them every month and make sure you are on target.)

Ask yourself where is the money side of things.

Listen, what can I say, it's a competitive world we live in and there are about 8 billion of us.

There is a market for anything you are doing, but there is also someone else doing it better than you, and wants it more than you do, so stay strong, keep shining your light and one day that that 80% and 20% will FLIP! and then you will be doing 80% of what you are passionate about and the 20% you hate, won't seem so bad.

I wish you the best of luck and I hope something I have shared with you helps get you to that place.

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