The horse stamps his dinner plate foot and snorts. I can see his wild eye glaring at me as if he is annoyed. His muscles ripple under his skin impatiently and I can tell what he really wants is to take off and bolt in a direction, any direction. His breath is a tempestuous wind blowing heat and desire at me. I can hear his fierce, bold heart pounding out a rhythm that sounds a lot like a question, “What now?”
I want to dream for just a little bit. I am feeling…like something is coming and I want to take a moment to pause and dream with you for a bit before it smacks us in the face and we stand in stunned silence with our mouths open going, “What the…???” So let’s just follow a line of thought and see where it leads us.
I have had this dream of having an art business for quite some time. It has been churning away in the back of my mind and has a number of iterations. The main thing that led me to this place was the pen shop idea. I have a thing for stationary. Especially pens. A good pen is a delight. It’s so satisfying when the ink flows properly and it glides over the page and different pens have different uses. You need the right pen for the right job and then you need the right paper to go with the pen. I could go on for a long time about the joys of pens…I won’t though. I can see your eyes glazing over already.
Anyway, part of that pen shop idea was to have a section in which to hold workshops teaching people how to use ink in different ways, a studio in which to do ink pieces and a gallery exhibiting ink drawings and paintings that use the pens and ink from the pen shop part of things. While I am willing to let go of the pen shop, the idea of having a gallery and studio sticks. The workshop idea sticks too, well, a part of it. I feel like there are many people way more talented and knowledgeable than I at teaching how to use inks of different kinds. Also, I am not sure how I feel about teaching art techniques.
What I am sure of, however, is there is a lack of galleries in this area for community artists. My recent experiences have made this very clear. I want to show my work in places that know what they are doing and are up to date with basic things. I want a place to be clean and tidy and not confused about what the space is. I want gallery representatives who are present and engage with me to deliver the best exhibition I can possibly deliver to the vision I want to deliver it to. I want to work with my gallery to sell my work through a number of different avenues or at the very least, have them deal with the selling of my artworks because as the artist, I am not the best salesperson. I want them to have a good handle on media and marketing and to design good quality, well branded and consistent content and marketing materials that reflect my art.
I want the gallery I am working with to get my name right and dates right and hand me a package when I sign on with them and agree to their fee, that outlines everything I need to know. I want that package to outline basic things like bump in and bump out dates and times, be transparent about fees and charges and help me to understand the process of putting on an exhibition. I want it to discuss what they require of me and what I can expect from them.
I want a gallery studio to be clean looking. Freshly painted white walls. Swept every night before lock up and also in the morning before opening if it needs it. Holes patched and maintenance done. I want it to look modern but inviting with everything in its place and easy for everyone to know the purpose. I want it to be well lit so everyone can see clearly when making art work or when looking at the art work.
I want to make art amongst the art. To have standing tables out in the middle of the gallery space to work at or to have sketches displayed and books for people to flick through. I want to be inspired by the work and engage in conversations with other artists and people passing by. I want a gallery to be a space where creatives of all sorts come together as a community and I want that gallery to be a living part of the art community it promotes.
I want to work hard at making things work. I want to be proud of my achievements and help other people to be proud of theirs too. I want artists to feel less like annoyances and more like they are valuable and their work is worthy. I want to engage the community and breakdown the barriers between artistic practice and community perception. I want people to walk into the gallery studio and for them to WANT to be there and stay there for a little while. I want people to support living artists.
I want this gallery, for myself…and others.
I want the dream.
The horse pushes me with his big soft nose and huffs in my ear. We look out into the distance and dream of running. Everything that he is, is barely contained in the powerhouse of his large body, his muscles tight and quivering. He is ready to spring into action at any moment and I wonder at the beauty and strength of him. I hesitate. It is me holding him back. Me with my fear and my worries and my doubts. He stands so near, I feel the warmth of his flesh radiating out and my nose is filled with the heady scent of his horseyness. He huffs in my ear again, a breathy noise that sounds a lot like a question, “What now?”