Fair warning: Rant Ahead…
Last night was the Cover Auction for the Boise Weekly and my tarp “Treefort Blues” was item #25.
Not a giclee of the piece as I’d suggested — nicely matted and framed, archival quality and easy to hang anywhere. No, the actual 8 foot by 10 foot tarp.
I’d been assured the cache of having been part of Treefort, of having literally weathered the festival…
and come through a beautiful survivor, would make it that much more desirable and sure to cause a stir and fetch a nice bid for both the Weekly, and my 30% cut.
In the past the Weekly has paid the artists $150, and because my work generally runs in the $750 to $1000 range it never felt like a good fit for me. When they changed the artist’s renumeration to 30% of the final auction bid I thought that made more sense, and for the majority of artists it works really well.
The auction was at Gallery 518 and when I delivered my tarp at the appointed time I discovered that the show had already been hung and there was no room for my piece. Granted, my tarp would have taken up an entire wall which held probably 20 of the pieces available for sale — I get it, I’ve curated many shows and the difficult pieces often end up in less than desirable locations. My tarp ended up OUTSIDE the gallery on the back wall. Unlit.
During the auction Mike and I stood at the back of the gallery and I talked with darling Shelley Jund whose piece “Drawn to Cervidae Light” was number #31. Even before our pieces were up, we talked about how painful it is to have your work held up for view and then bid on — especially when the bids don’t come, or are very low. I would add how painful it is to have your work not even get properly shown and then to expect anyone to have any interest at all.
“Treefort Blues” sold for $125. I will recieve $37.50.
When we were leaving I told the woman receiving payments that if my buyer had any regrets I would buy my tarp back from him.
If you are reading this my buyer:
I WILL BUY TREEFORT BLUES BACK FROM YOU!!!!
As some of you know I’m doing a “second life” series with the tarps and I would love to have the complete original set. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, these are two detail shots of the tarp I called “Granny Squares”…
I didn’t sleep for s**t last night. I kept tossing and turning and thinking about how we artists are constantly asked to donate our work for little, or usually zero, renumeration as if it’s no big thing. Even those of us who are hugely prolific invest time and heart into what we do.
Personally, I’ve quit responding to requests for my work that don’t offer at least a 30% return — except for the Idaho Humane Society — without IHS I wouldn’t have the furry little loves of my life, so they get a pass. But after this experience I think I’m just done. If you want my work you’re welcome to buy it. My prices are reasonable, i.e. way less than I would be paid in New Orleans or New York.
By the way Shelley’s piece brought $550 which is f**king awesome!