October 6th, 2005

firesea: self-portrait


So today I went down to Kirkland to scout around the art galleries there. I hadn't been there in 3 years.

Three years ago there were more galleries there than I could count - today, there were six, most of which were small, cramped, and disorganized. Three years ago there was a significant variety in the styles, mediums, and price ranges of art being shown - today it was almost all nature photographs and impressionist landscapes, with prices between $3k-$12k (that may seem like a large range, but consider that even the low end puts the purchase way out of the reach of most individuals - forget the days of buying art because you like it.)

The only gallery which expressed any interest at all in my work was Parklane, the Kirkland co-op. Now don't get me wrong, co-ops are great - but I can only pay so many $XX/month membership fees, in the hope that I *might* sell some work in a scene that is very obviously dying.

The one place I'd hoped might be interested due to what I saw on their website said flat out that not only weren't they interested in surrealist work, they didn't know anybody in the entire Seattle area who would be. They get points for honesty, at least....

It's interesting. On the one hand, I could be disheartened that the art scene in Kirkland does appear to be dying, and that what is there is so mismatched with anything that I do. But I actually find myself encouraged, because this is very much what I expected (not the dying art scene so much, but that nothing "fit").

The next stop is probably Pioneer Square, but I'm not terribly hopeful - I wasn't very impressed by the stuff on the art walk I saw a couple months ago, and the online galleries are showing nothing but abstracts and impressionist landscapes.

Here's another interesting trend I'm noticing: when I lived here three years ago, there was exactly one co-op gallery in the greater Seattle area, and it was brand new. Now? There are at least four. That tells me that while the gallery scene may in fact be drifting towards bland, corporate, "safe" art, the artist community is sick of this and starting their own venues. But are people buying from them? I guess that's the question.

I am not discouraged, though. While there was a time when a single gallery saying no would have sent me into a spiral of self-doubt, I now have sufficient confidence in myself and in my work that it's just a matter of deciding which places are worth my time to try. All I have to find is one person willing to give a chance to something a little different.
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