Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Saving Work Back: Pros and Cons

Foggy PCH work in progress
9 x 12" oil © 2010 Katherine Kean

In my last post I brought up the idea of saving work for any exhibitions on the near horizon. The pros and cons seem to break down like this:


· Having enough work to make a strong, coherent exhibit in terms of theme, style, and content.

· Not feeling pressured – some people work very well under pressure, in fact some people seem to need pressure to work at all. I’m the opposite, and in addition I need drying time.

· Having the time to promote the work. Some periodicals require 4 months lead time before publication. Publicity is good anytime, but even better if it occurs prior to the exhibtion.


· The work could get “stale”, considering that, depending on the artist, the first pieces of a series may have been started some time ago.

· Sales opportunities could be missed.

· Sold work could lead to “holes” in the exhibit, or an overall weak exhibit, which has a negative domino effect - a weak exhibit leaves a negative impression, may lead to bad reviews and word of mouth.

The end decision? For me it seems to be to follow up the sales and juried opportunities judiciously, avoiding overextending and to save work back up until a replacement is complete and in place to exhibit.

I’d love to hear from other artists on how you deal with this aspect of working towards an exhibition. Do you save work back?


Kathryn Hansen said...

it is a conundrum. I personally don't like pressure to produce and i'd rather have a really strong show...so i would hold work back instead of going for a juried show. Juried shows are great for building your resume but i don't think produces much sales or other opportunities, in my experience at least.

.mosa said...

pressure doesn’t work for me, I can’t make Art that way.
generally I keep away about %5 of my best work to be only shown in gallery.
juried shows doesn’t do much for me ether! to get feed back there are many art/social website that would do the job.


Beth Rommel said...

Hi Katherine. I like to have fresh pieces and show new things so hold back. About 20 years ago, I had a mini-show as part of an opening of a new interior design boutique. I was so pleased to have my art in a public place, the store was very pretty. I invited a very successful artist to attend. She looked very closely at my art and at the dates. Some were new, many were a few years old. Her only comment was, "What have you been doing?" I can tell you I was raising young children, but I didn't dare say it aloud, it was only an excuse. I have never forgotten that. It was mortifying and a lesson learned. Do you put dates on your pieces?
p.s. this is a nice piece, I like it

loriann signori said...

Hi Katherine, Good question. I am in agreement as the pros outweigh the cons. Saving your best work for a solo show is important. And while juried shows may bring awards they rarely bring sales... although they say if you pick your juried shows carefully they can bring more recognition in different areas. balance...it's the answer for almost everything.
PS I like the feel of your work in progress.

CountryDreaming said...

I'm a photographer, rather new to the art world, likely more of a free spirit, and may or may not be taken seriously by painters. At this point I'm learning to save work back for juried shows rather than toss them all up on Etsy or my blog where a photo may sell before I can submit it to a gallery as an original. While it's good to always be taking new pictures, I'm not always happy with what I get ... I look for just the right weather, atmospheric effects, lighting, etc. and it's like fishing, sometimes you land a minnow, sometimes a whale, sometimes you wind up with your bait stolen and your bobber up a tree. As for old work vs. new work, well hey, sometimes I simply prefer my older stuff to the newer, and wish I could simply exhibit what makes me happy in the hopes it will make others feel happy too. Then again, the older stuff works perfectly well on display at Etsy or a craft fair.

Katherine Kean said...

Thanks for your comments everyone!

Kathryn, I feel much the same way. I see that a lot of juried shows don't produce much else other than resume building, although some do. If it's juried by someone you'd like to have see your work, it may be worthwhile.

Katherine Kean said...

mosa, you're right - for feedback facebook, myspace, and blogs work much faster!

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Beth,

What an experience to have and you do bring up an interesting point! I know a lot of artists won't date their work. I don't put dates on much of my artwork, but I do provide the dates on my website along with the prices. Thanks for sharing that.

Katherine Kean said...

Thanks Loriann. I agree, balance is key and a very good thing to keep in mind.

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Country Dreaming!

I know what you mean - so much about photography is about the capture. Your fishing analogies are quite apropos!

The advantage photographers have though is that since your end product is a print, you can sell and still have something to show, unless you are doing a hand made process such as retouching on each.

I do see plenty of photography in galleries, and with the digital age the line between painting and photography is a little bit blurrier.

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