Aside from snake charming, Robin’s kept busy this summer getting the sets ready for the new shoots of The Spiel with Angie & Julie and he’s made a little time for two small projects in his studio. He’s been working on a 4′ x 3′ piece which he’s now hung in the Zen Courtyard Garden for maturing a little, before he decides if it needs more patina work and/or other elements.
I flew home from the last show in AZ, because I had the opportunity to attend a meeting regarding the possibility of acquiring a commission or sale from a local business. After that meeting, I sat alone at home thinking about The Dead End Tour and decided to discuss with Robin the idea of bringing The Tour to an end after our next show—The Coconut Grove Art Fair in Miami. This is fitting, since I’ve done that show many, many times and it has always been my favorite outdoor art fair for a number of reasons.
I decided screw the show circuit game. It’s not financially viable anymore because of the ravages of the recession and because of the politics of getting into the shows. Then there’s the matter of the reliability of our vehicle and the increase in our overhead including utilities, taxes and insurance. All of the expenses for doing the shows—fuel, motels, boothfees and jury fees– have increased, but lots of shows are doing less advertising, thus bringing in fewer and fewer qualified buyers. Art fairs have been popular for 30 some years and the original collectors homes are filled and most of the younger ones that could become collectors are more interested in electronics, body art and entertainment. And more so than at anytime in our lives people our age are living on a fixed budget and thus invariably want a bargain that won’t cover our overhead, much less provide us a decent living.
We have no other choice—we don’t have any other source of income to feed our habit of making art—art that enhances the beholders lives, art that grows their souls, art that teaches what it is to be human with compassion.
But at this juncture it no longer matters why we can no longer make a living through art fairs. It’s over. Coconut Grove is the last, unless a really tempting offer comes by.
Robin and I have decided to take the dive. Now is the moment, not at the end of the year. We don’t know how much more time we have left to make art—we’re in our 60’s. We have to make the work we know we’re capable of. That’s what we were meant to do, what we were born to do. We weren’t destined to waste time making 6 more pieces of such and such size because that size is popular and we’re all sold out, and by the way, the blues are selling better now, so make more blues.
We will be showing our work locally and making contacts with galleries outside the immediate area, working with corporate art buyers, selling on-line, and working with a few designers. Our savings are now gone—they allowed us to survive these past 5 years since the recession ruined the shows. We’ve had purchases from some wonderful patrons during the past 5 years, but by and large the shows just kept putting us further in the red. That’s over now.
We can use help from patrons with a passion for art and artists to assist us through this tenuous time. Come to our Gallery, come to us on-line, come to our studio and home–you won’t be sorry. We have things to show you that you have never seen before.
Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated–including references and introductions, following us on social media, spreading the word about our story and our talent. And beware, if you visit our studio and home you’re gonna fall in love with the art. I know that’s arrogant, but I’m just saying…..
The Dead End Tour begins January 1, 2014.
Robin and I have supported ourselves these past 20 years from the sales of our creations at art fairs around the nation. Since the recession began in 2008, it’s become apparent that the art fairs aren’t going to recover anytime soon. The writing is on the wall. Just as we have re-invented ourselves several times before, we know that it is time to find a new way of marketing our work. You’ve just not had a really exhausting year until you’ve made work in the studio, photographed each piece, made price tags and inventory sheets, written patrons, driven cross-country in the cab of a loud box van, set-up your booth in the elements, and then sat in the wind or hot sun for several days, all the while shelling out money for fuel, motels, restaurant food and don’t forget the hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars on the booth fee, and then waited for someone to get motivated to buy one of your objects. And then do it again 15 more times that year. My shoulder is too old for that. And more often than not these days, we make just barely enough to keep us going. That’s over for us.
We know what we need in order to be successful at this time. It’s not fresh ideas–we’ve got plenty. It’s not even an improved economy–that’s just not happening in the very near future. We need new ways of reaching our patrons. And we need the means to afford professional advice and assistance. Every business large or small requires these things to be successful. So very much of our precious time and energy that should go into our design and studio work is instead stolen away on tasks that could and should be accomplished by others.
The Dead-End Tour begins now–it is our last few outdoor art fairs. We are searching out new ways of reaching our patrons. We’ve already seeing big changes. Join us on our journey to re-invent ourselves.