I have so many confessions I would like to share.
# Confession no 2
October 10, 2019
Do you make it a living?
So often I am being asked this question when I am telling I am a visual artist. When I was younger, and more provocative than I would like to think about myself today, I would reply:
What do you earn?
This usually resulted in the person asking the question in the first place getting very upset with me, as it was not my business to ask.
Precisely! Why should I then tell you how much I make?
The conversation normally stopped there, and I went away furious in my heart to once again witness that my personal economy is everyones business.
I have not dared yet to start a conversation asking how much the person is earning. I may do it someday, just to reflect my own reaction in this person.
However, I have matured a bit, and for some years, when I was asked this quistion (which I have been asked so many times, and still am) I went on a long preach about how the artmarket really works; That I share my sale with a gallery 50/50, that there are no paid out fees to the artist for a museumshow, that there are so many great artists applying for the same grants every year, that it is more or less impossible for a contemporary artist to make their own sales, as the important collectors merely buy from galleries and art fairs, and it is not possible for an individual artist to sell directly at an art fair, ending by going on for a long time about my favorite observation:
Just because you sell does not mean you are a good artist. And just because you do not sell, does not imply that you are a bad artist. In fact, I have more respect to the independent artists whos focus is on the next piece of artwork, rather than the next exhibition.
At this point many of the persons who have asked the question is no longer listening. It is boring. It is boring to listen to an artist trying to explain the economy in a market which is more or less powered by the one percent richest people in the world.
What about the struggling artist? The poor artist? The artist who is suffering in an addict having no heat and only getting warm by doing the next painting?
Well, there is the reality, and then there is the idea of the romantic poor artist suffering. And I can promise you, that it is not very romantic not knowing where the next meal is coming from, or how I can pay my rent.
Therefore, when I am being asked the question today, I normally reply:
Thank you; It is going really well.
End of conversation.
In my mind I know what this means.
It means that I most of the time can afford a life with shelter and food. That I will never compromise with my next piece of art work. That I try not to focus too hard on the next step in my so called ´career´, rather immersing myself in the freedom of expressing myself in both painting, performance, writing and installation.
That I may not always make it a living, but I am always living with my art.
# Confession no 1
September 25, 2019
On Saturday I went to the opening of Tracy Emin in her high end gallery in Rome. I did not feel like going, but I went as I was hoping to get a glimpse of her, and I also felt it was my duty, since I am in Rome on a residency. Further, I knew it is important to network at these events.
I went on my own, and I did not know anybody. Not a single person.
Luckily I was kind of blending in, as I was wearing my nice white dress, arranged my short dark hair in a coolness way and was smiling with me very red lipstick. Mainly I was smiling to my mobile holding it in my hands standing ´randomly´ near the entrance, so everyone had a chance to see me. I guess my height also made it clear I was there as I due to my Scnadinavian long legs was looking down at the majority of the people who was there. Italians are short by nature.
They were many. They looked so pretty and rich. Judging them from their appearance I categorized them into three groups:
1. Art buyers
They clearly were the riches as they wore design which would be impossible for me even to buy a sleeve from. This group seemed to be the most relaxed, they surely had the most relaxed faces, smiling, nodding, talking, nodding, they even seemed to enjoy this moment where they were the ones having the most power in the room.
They were sophisticated dressed, and yet they all look the same all over the world. Fancy colors, not too expensive, but very carefully chosen, it was obvious that they appeared good looking, but far from the designs as the art buyers were wearing. I wondered if my dress was too good looking in appearance (I bought it for €5 in a Second Hand shop) as it did look like something the Danish Princess Mary could wear. The artists seemed a bit more stressed out, their eyes were jumping all over the place all the time. Having been in this industry for many years now, I know what were going on; who is here, who should I talk to, how should I talk to them? Only one guy stood out. He was tall, ball and was wearing enormous headphones. Slowly he was pacing from artwork to artwork and took a good look at them. No one else did.
As for the artists, art students do also look the same all over the world. Their hair are impressive! Messy, ‘sculpturish’ and they are often swaying outside holding a hand-rollet cigarette. They seemed the happiest. Of course they were also scanning the room to see who were there, but they seemed fond of each other and the conversations they were having in big groups. They were clearly the loudest.
I could not see Tracy Emin.
On the walls were paintings by her, and I wondered while looking at them if they were a brand of her, rather than being good paintings? Or more likely, I was full of envy.
I left after 12 minutes.
On my way back to the Danish institute I went to ‘The Corso’ which is the Romanian street as Oxford Street is in London. It was crowded with people. No shops were open, as it was during night time, two dogs were getting into a fight while people gathered around them taking pictures of them, further ahead a person was inside a panda teddybear looking costume twice his size. When people were putting money in the basket infront of him, he started to vibrate quite intense and surreal.
I was wondering whether Tracy Emin was the person inside? Cause the scene sure was not far from the one I had just left at the gallery. I then made a note that I wanted that costume for my next exhibition.