For several years I traveled the Arts & Craft circuit in an attempt to sell my paintings.
There was a learning curve I did't realize, such as, if you are going to attend an Arts & Craft venue make sure the emphasis is not on crafts. The mentality and wallet contents are focused on crafts so an artist does not stand much of chance in selling a piece of art for 500 dollars.
Most visitors to an open art show, meaning there isn't a charge to get in, are there to pass an afternoon looking around. They come to your booth and express how beautiful your art is. At time they even give you hope, "We just started so we want to look around but we'll be back because I really like this painting." News Flash - if they don't buy it right then, they will not be back and chances are some another artist got the sale just before they left the venue.
At my age and with Parkinson's, I don't travel the circuit, which limits my chances of selling my work.. I turned to a digital booth called a website, which has drawn an impressive number of hits but no sales.
I read a book titles "Secrets of the Art world" written by Lista Spanos, the owner of a very large art gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio. The book contains several excellent insights on what an artist can do to sell their work. One chapter drew my interest, the difference between branding and marketing.
To effectively market your work, people have to recognize your art. as an example Thomas Kinkade. One can identify one of his paintings without looking for his signature. As his popularity grew he went about marketing it, and very successfully I must admit. I talked about this with Lista and I believe I found a style to brand; Sunsets/ rises and or fog. People love sunsets, in fact in Florida drive by a west facing beach in the evening and you'll find people waiting for the sunset. Some even park their cars facing west, which allows them to watch the setting sun in the comfort of their air conditioned car.
Several of my paintings contain fog, which if used effectively can make a painting unique allowing it to stand out from other works.
Since my motto is, "Art For Parkinson's", it was suggested that I make it the focal point of my website. To incorporate my journey with Parkinson's into a paintings description; educate people about Parkinson's through my paintings. I've added this to some of my current work so I would appreciate viewers response to this concept.
I've been able to deal with the physical symptoms of my disease, even though I get frustrated because my mind thinks I'm 30 so it makes contracts my body cannot deliver. However, in this past week we have had an abundance of company, which I tried to escape from by retreating to my studio, which was not a solution according to my wife.
Quite often I found myself saying, "I really don't care", which is contrary to my nice guy image. Last night my wife and I had an intense fellowship meeting that opened my eyes to something I read regarding Parkinson's non-physical symptoms.
Most people associate Parkinson's with physical impairments, which is the visible or motor symptoms of the disease. The problem is people do not understand the mental aspects of the disease. Because Parkinson's is a neurological disorder within the brain it affects me mentally. Personality changes are more difficult to deal with because they creep up and alter my mood, which in turn solicits a response from those around me. Just last night I realize I have Apathy. In otherwards, "I don't give a damn".
I discovered in my journey through life that one cannot alter an issue until they recognize there is an issue. Mental problems are difficult on both sides of personal relationships and the only way to get through them is understanding where they came from.
I'm working on a painting that captures my escape from reality.
Until next time
I had a meeting with the art therapist I met while attending Florida Hospital's "Girl Talk". She wanted to hear my story and afterwards she stated I was unique because I had PD but I was also an artist who had benefited from painting.
While driving back home I came to the realization that indeed I was ahead of the curve on this particular type of therapy and should get involved to help other PD patients discover the benefits of art.
I contacted an old friend who owns a "Gallery On The Go" franchise to ask her help in finding a way to market my idea of establishing a centralized studio where those suffering from neurological diseases could come to learn how to paint, sculpture or use other forms of artistic expression and develop a schedule whereby they would experience the benefits of their labor.
During my research on Art Therapy I came across a medical research program that was being formed in NYC to study the benefits art has on those suffering from Parkinson's. The study would be limited to those PD patients living in NYC. However, I decided to send an email to the woman in charge of selecting volunteers to tell her my story and describe how art has helped me.
I received a reply thanking me for sharing my story and she added an intriguing idea, "If I could find a place to stay for 14 weeks I could be selected for the study." However, I face two large obstacles, the first being my dislike of trying to find my way around large cities and the second, and perhaps the biggest obstacle is I do not know a single person who lives in NYC.
If I could pull this off, it would be a great experience as well as an opportunity to help start an art studio for those with PD.