Art Every Day 066 – On Selling and Transitions and Process


Easterly Wind 001

I sold the first piece on canvas last week, to Genn, a friend who came over in search of a gift for her mother’s birthday. She bought a gorgeous yellow box (no photos) with a pthalo blue and quinacridone magenta wash version of “Oh! Morning…” in the lid (it’s a sort of a frame), and then bought “Easterly Wind 001” for herself. Genn is a counselor, and she wants something tranquil and beautiful for her clients to look at when they need some serenity. Serenity is a good word and a good sense to emulate.

I have always loved both the pieces she bought; they are about as close as my art can be to that serene and mystically beautiful work that other artists make look so easy. You’ve probably seen them: collages or tiles or assemblages that manage to evoke mystery, a dream scape, the vague taste of a memory, the ache and the sense of nostalgia, work that is both elusive and allusive. For example, tiles by Sid Dickens, or those notebooks that have a sort of Japanese binding, but have twigs holding the stitches in place. I try to figure out how to make work like that, work that seems to belong to or come from another place, but I always end up figuring out how to make other work.


A Fan of Trees – Ruby

I’ve received an email asking if one of the fans (A Fan of Trees – Ruby) is still available. I sense it’s a scam, because this individual, who lives in Glasgow, is very eager to make his payment by cheque; he is apparently affluent enough to purchase art from half a world away, but does business on the internet by cheque. Does this seem reasonable? I would be delighted if this were to lead to a sale, but I don’t mind if it turns out not to, because his question brought some older work, the fans, back into the light.


the overpainted fan

I made the fans in late 2009 and early 2010; the original inspiration was a solid fan I’d purchased for $1 from the sidewalk table of one of those curios shops in Chinatown. Those fans have images of bucolic beauty: maidens in repose or playing musical instruments, or birds, or flowers, or landscapes. Being not so much into that kind of imagery, I painted it over and covered it with design. I liked it so much that I decided that I wanted to make more fans, but I wasn’t able to find any instructions for construction. Not wanting to paint each one by hand, I needed to figure out a process – using modern attitudes, materials, and technology – that would allow me to make my modern tributes to honour my traditional Chinese craft roots. After weeks of trial and error, I devised a process.


traditional fan

The first one I made was purpose-built for a fund-raiser at Rhizome, a local community space, and it was so beautiful to me that I didn’t want to give it up, but I did. After that I went into production and made twenty or so of them, finessing my process as I went. They were the bulk of the work I presented at the first Eastside Culture Crawl that I did (2009); the best comment I received was “It’s like a zen palace in here.” Serenity again. Some were sold, and some were donated, and some are out on the FAB rotation. Still I have a bunch of them, that need to be unearthed, in my studio. They are future archaeology, like much history serving as a reminder to temper the enthusiasms for the work.

Monika, a Vancouver arts organizer (FAB) and entrepreneur, sent a text this morning that one of my pieces sold. The text didn’t outline what was sold, but Monika did call yesterday morning to ask about how to price one of the framed shadow panels, so I assume it was one of those. Monika has some of the fans, some shadow panels, and some candles. How exciting to hear from her twice in as many days.

Genn, the friend who bought the two pieces last week was just here to pick something up. She told me her mother liked the box, and appeared to be surprised by receiving something nice. Our relationships with our mothers are not always serene, but sometimes they are. Sometimes we can help them with art.

~ by thiscassandra on Wednesday 6 November 2013.

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