Wednesday, October 31, 2012

SOLD and a great story

Where do you start telling a great story? I'm smiling as I write I've been very busy with client work and its taken me a few days to get to blog and share this great story that happened Saturday night.
Our local Tidy Towns organised an art exhibition in the local pub, the Schooner. A cheese and wine reception as a fund raiser with "9 local artists in one venue. Many well renowned artists such as Eithne Ryan, Roisin Markham,Myra O' Loughlin Sarah Horgan and Lucy Lawlor as well as first time exhibitors Aileen Ryan,Clare Martin,Amy Roche and Cait McCarthy. This promises to be a great social occasion, Please give these artist your support and raise funds for the Tidy Towns."
Bernie had called me I think as far back as August to ask me would I put something in, although knowing my own exhibition would be on in The National Irish Heritage Park as part of the Wexford Fringe. I readily agreed thinking it would be a great opportunity to put up some local work and the possibilities of getting some photography printed and framed.
The time went by very quickly and low and behold I'd to drop pieces up to the pub Saturday afternoon and hang the work. I had some debate about what to bring I had not hung everything in Wexford by choice. No photographs printed or framed but some work of old. I had decided to bring the largest piece I had and some smaller pieces to demonstrate affordability and scope of my work. The big piece was just nice to show locally not many have seen it a 96 x 70 cm framed piece of work first exhibited two years ago at the Wexford Fringe in an exhibition titled 'Of Earth and Soul', slide 2.
I choose to hang 2 other medium size pieces they looked better on the pub walls. I let go of the idea of selling anything it was morae about showing work and being social. Most other artists had small work. Eithne Ryan's pastel local landscapes were impeccable as always, terrible news that she had to cancel her Fringe Solo Show due to an injury and I hope she makes a speedy recovery. 
Saturday night came and I felt a little awkward standing in the pub until some friends arrived. But before they did I struck up conversations with strangers asking them what work they liked, had they spoken to the artist and told them, encouraging them to give feedback. I don't know if they knew I was one of the artists it was as much about getting general feedback and encouraging engagement with the creator of a piece of work.
It was interesting as a few weeks ago on twitter I had some discussions with people asking them how they responded to art and the artist at exhibitions. Most implied they never think to speak with the artist... 
I've learned at my exhibitions to listen to how people respond to my work. My general experience is that the audience is not interested in hearing or understanding how or why a piece was made they want to tell me what it reminded them of or how they connected emotionally to it, some feeling, memory or emotion. Hey, I think its great people make an emotional connection to my work after all I make work to sell and I love to hear how people connect to my art work no matter if they buy it or not. Once a piece of work is hung on a wall and people are invited to view it I want to engage, listen and connect. It is one of the ways I communicate and my desperate attempt to self express what I can't share in words.
The pub is small and it was great to see the local faces that came to support the fundraiser and see the art. Thanks to Paulette for coming out from Gorey and great to catch up with Suzanne too.
As I was chatting and getting into my social stride a man tipped me on the back and asked me 'did you make that?' looking at largest piece on the walls...
 'The only thing certain is this...' Roisin Markham
Mixed Media
I smiled at this quiet spoken gent with a glass of wine in his hand "Yes, I did". He seemed utterly fascinated by it. The conversation dims in memory but he mentioned he'd 'never seen any thing like it before' and he started to ask me about the piece of work. 
My philosophy on people is treat everyone with respect, you never know who you are talking too.
The conversation continued he knew something of art. He spoke about two artists work he owned one an international name I recognised. His questions were different some how he was interested to know how I made it and what it meant to me. Very unusual. As I spoke about how I painted the background with water colour, layered up hand made paper, painted and worked oil pastel over the work and used silver metalic crayon to pick out textures and layers - he listened intently. It did me the world of good to talk about this piece of work and it reminded me I make original art. I know how I could I have forgotten?
 He mentioned the title and that on the exhibition listed it read
Roisin Markham
The only thing certain is this...          €1,000
He mentioned there had been some comments about the price from another local whom I did not know. This lead to conversations about where we lived and I established he was a local farmer from Kilmuckridge just south about 5km.
"I would n't pay €1,000 for it I'd pay €500"
"I'll make you a smaller one" instantly imagining one half the size
"No, that one would look good in my hall. It would look good in anyones hall"
He looked at the piece of work constantly as we had our sideways conversation. I had no idea we were in a negotiation I just thought we were chatting. I spoke about how I used to make a living from selling work and how the market had changed. He spoke about taking some animals to the mart and having to take them home again after them not selling. I compared it to exhibiting work for sale - put em up take them down acknowledging that they were not technically the same but similar.
I said to him 'You know if someone handed me €700 for that painting right now I'd be happy with that'
he looked at me as if he'd been hit by lightening "I'll give you that". Now it was my turn to be hit by lightening "really?" I know the look of surprise radiated through my face, I could have been knocked down by a feather.
"Will you drop it over to me in the morning?"
"Will you have cash to pay me?"
"Not cash but a cheque"
"Will it bounce?" it was out of mouth before I could stop it!
"It may but you'll know where I live" he smiled
"If it does we can swap it for a cow" I laughed "shall we shake on it"
I agreed to drop it over to him the following morning as I was on my way to Wexford.
The following morning as we stood in his hall I could see that he loved the painting he held the top of the frame and stared into the layers of colour and he was lost in his own thoughts. He asked me about other work, I mentioned my exhibition as part of the Wexford Fringe on till November the 4th. He also showed me his small but impeccable collection of works. He breeds horses too. A patron with money!
It does look good in his hall, he was right.
I'm delighted. Without this local opportunity to put up work in the pub I would have never meet this art loving farmer, my newest patron and fan of my work. Amazing I have exhibited that piece of work in Mallow and Wexford and here we are a mile and half up the road in the local pub and its sold!
I was delighted to be able to tell the Tidy Town crew and of course the news spread about the pub like wild fire, don't think anyone could believe it!

1 comment:

Rose Hughes said...

now I am smiling writing this...what a wonderful tale and how perfectly told/ one never knows when a wise man will show up to chat and have a glass of wine. thank you for sharing and congratulations!

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