Make do and mend with Oh Sew Kitty
To exhibit or not? A question that probably passes through the minds of many people practising art. For me, it was a right of passage as an artist. It was also a culmination of five years work produced in adult education classes. As soon as my teacher advised us that a workshop/exhibition space was being made available at a reduced rate I jumped at the chance. I said yes and thought about how I was going to scrape the money together later. This was an opportunity to good to miss. It was also a chance , twenty years on, to right the wrongs I’d done at art school. Now was my chance to show my work under my terms and, free from the constraints of educational assessments I was able to be myself and show aspects of myself I’d hitherto kept under wraps. The whole experience was a personal triumph for me having faced my demons so to speak, and it was well worth the many hours spent organising and coordinating the event. The piece de resistance “Self Actualisation” described a rising phoenix, not out of ashes as is usually the case, but floating upwards in the sky/water/space or whatever you chose to see.
The exhibition was a great success and with it came a totally unexpected feeling of stress and pressure. Oh dear, it hadn’t occurred to me that success brings it’s own worries and feelings of having to live up to certain expectations. I slowly realised that the only one who I was allowing to put pressure on myself was me and me alone. I got used to thinking of myself in terms of an artist, got back on the saddle and then went on to join what I call the exhibition circuit. An art agent or curator certainly helps in the organising side of things and can promote the artist’s work, however in my experience nothing beats the thrill of your own exhibition. You do also have the freedom to choose the best spots for your work. Even the best piece of work can go unappreciated or even unnoticed if it’s in the wrong spot. The biggest problem in going it alone though is that you need enough work to fill a room and not just any room come to that. You’ve got to think of appropriate location, footfall, appropriate pricing, health and safety, the list goes on. I did exhibitions for a couple of years and then, when my work commitments changed I no longer had the time to produce the amount of work needed. I must admit too that I also felt that the art side of things was also starting to feel a whole lot like work! But then that’s just life, and it took a different direction in terms of creativity. For now I’m loving doing the social media side of things and have rediscovered my interest in writing and photography which I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Funny how things turn out and when you least expect them to.
For anyone toying with the idea of exhibiting their work, whether it be cake-making, photography or stamp-collecting (and why not) then I say go for it. Do it when YOU decide, surround yourself with supportive people (to deflect from the “why?” people – I could write a whole other blog about those people!) go out and meet your audience or quietly enjoy from the wings whilst someone else takes on that role, if you prefer. As with anything in life, there’s always going to be the occasional annoying person, but on the whole most people were pleasant and/or polite. If you enjoy meeting new people then you’ll probably relish the whole experience like I did. I even found that after a while I actually wanted a bit of controversy or opinion and so I did gently prompt people to express what they really thought and some people which was very helpful indeed! All very satisfying on many levels and something that I would definitely do again in the future.
You can view my exhibited and commissioned work here:
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