By: kmarulis

Sep 28 2010

Category: Uncategorized

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Focal Length:33mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 40D

I have a painting hanging on my wall that I completed some years back that depicts an individual attired in cap and gown, clutching a diploma and is seen entering his/her gallery. Surrounding him/her are numerous offerings of the middle fingered salute from others in a scene of personal anger and resentment.
I was tired of the rude treatment I would receive when a gallery owner would discover that I was an Artist and not a buyer of the wares on display. In a fit of emotional resentment over my perceived victimization, I painted this scene of requital and titled it and ultimately signed it.
I called this painting FU2! and proudly hung it at a few of the small, nondescript shows I had going on around town. It drew a few chuckles and I was pleased. I had declared myself and I ultimately decided upon which side of the counter I stood. My rightful place was with the marginalized and I had declared this relegated fact in the only way I could, with paint.
It was FU2! to those folks that I began to look upon as glorified shopkeepers. They were glorified shopkeepers and nothing more.
After all, it was through the efforts of people like myself who, through some mysterious quirk of the human psyche managed to find the vision, the talent, and yes, the wherewithal to produce at our own expense and sacrifice the art that might someday hang on those elusive gallery walls.
It might be said that time tells all tales and the passage of time will heal all wounds. Maybe my sensitivities have calloused over and age has opened my eyes and enabled an attitude of understanding to move into a place where anger once stood.
Maybe I have come to realize that even in the best of times, it requires as a requisite, a set of brass balls to even consider opening a gallery and taking on the responsibilities of acquiring staff, and paying rent , and keeping books, and establishing relationships, and paying taxes, and staying relevant, and yes, dealing with the occasional idealistically cranky artist who happens to walk through your door and demand your attention.
My mind goes back when considering the plight of galleries to the good folks at Esther Claypool Gallery of Seattle.  It is my acquired understanding, a gallery will target a segment of the art-making community to represent and it was the Esther Claypool’s mission to represent some of the region’s underserved and top mid-career artists.
As I remember, it was the words of co-owner Esther Luttikuizen that stuck in my mind. She observed that her problem wasn’t that she didn’t have customers for her collection, she and her partner Brad Claypool had sold quite a bit of art and had an extensive customer list.
The problem was that Seattle’s collectors will fall generally into two categories; Those who will gravitate towards the high-end blue chip artists and those who will concentrate on the more affordable emerging artist. Esther Claypool’s core price range of between $1000 and $5000 could not be supported by a customer base ample enough to justify the expenditures required to pay for the overhead and keep the gallery going. Said Luttikuizen, “It’s just that at the end of the day, it’s a business.”
My peripheral outsider’s view of the folks at the Esther Claypool gallery was that these were good , understanding, and simpatico people and when I was ready, I would have eventually aspired to have had them show my art. It would have been my honor, I think.

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