What are you working on at the moment?
Landscapes, and some more landscapes! (laughter)
Your latest work seem to be getting a lot of notice. What have you done that is different from your previous work?
Now you are asking me to share my secrets…I make use of a lot of transparent layers over each other. The layering gives my painting a translucent, glowing effect, making the colors look like jewels.
Do you ever get tired of painting?
Of course! People think painting is all about sipping coffee and relaxing. Not at all! Ninety percent of painting is analytical thinking. Only ten percent is the act of enjoying what you are doing. For every subconscious minute of painting is two minutes of looking and analyzing. It gets very tiring. My brain is normally fried after four to five hours.
I’ve heard that being an artist involves a lot of administration?
Oh yes, definitely. I work in cycles. Two weeks admin, four weeks painting. During painting cycle I still have to do emailing and send out newsletter in the evenings. Admin entails emails, marketing, newsletters, contacting galleries, stock taking, placing new stock, finding new galleries, negotiating prices, lots of computer filing with lists and photos of each painting, where it is, size, medium, pricing, where it is going….og…its endless!
Is it difficult to approach a gallery?
Sometimes, some of the owners are VERY snooty. I remember walking into a very upmarket gallery about 4 years ago. The owner told me to come back in two years tome, because he only dealt with ‘famous’ artists. I’m planning on going back there this year sometime. Maybe he’ll take me this time. Maybe I’m ‘famous’ enough now! (laughter)
They get offended real quickly when you don’t do things their way. I remember sending work to a quite well known gallery about two years ago. I was sick with flu and when I phoned the owner to tell him about the delivery he couldn’t talk to me. I stayed in bed fr a week and then got a call from the courier that the gallery refused to take the package. This meant that I still had to pay for the package even though it was not delivered yet. When I phoned the owner he was angry at me for sending work without letting him know. He of course forgot that I tried to get hold of him, and we ended up pretty irritated with each other. At the time he was under a lot of financial stress, so I assume he had to take it out on someone, and I was a good scapegoat.
He still doesn’t take work from me….I think it is very funny.
Why does some galleries sell well and others not?
It actually depends on how much they like your work and if they believe in you. I had a lady selling my work in an obscure little gallery in Port Alfred. She used to sell an average of three to four paintings a month and up to seven over Christmas. The moment she left, the work stopped selling.
You have to have a good relationship with the owner and try and get him to hang the work in a good position. If the work is hidden or stored in some back room it is better to remove it from the gallery and find another gallery.
How do you decide which galleries to put your work in?
I have my own system. I divide galleries in three categories; A, B and C class galleries. A, being the best ones, like for example Lindy van Niekerk Gallery in Durbanville. An A-class gallery would be a gallery that has an upmarket client list and stock work from well-know successful artist as well as up and coming artists. They mostly sell ‘fine art’ that increases in value with time, also called investment art. Most of their customers would buy art for the love of art (because it is an investment piece) and not because it matches the couch. The work in the gallery would be anything from R2000.00 to R200 000.00 or more
A B-class gallery would be one that sell some good names, but also lots of decorative work. Mostly middle income clientele that needs a piece to match the couch. Prices normally goes from R500.00 to R30 000.00
A C-class gallery would be a small local gallery that would sell to the local area. Mostly decorative work done by part time local artist. Often lots of florals and romantic, decorative landscape scenes. Pricing would be from about R200.00 to R10 000.00.