Tag Archive | behind the scenes

Ranting

8 March 2008

Six months ago with Gallery O in Perth I agreed that my unsold paintings + bronze sculpture would be returned late February. To be extra sure, last month I reminded Ms. Faithful (!) to the fact that I need the apple painting because I sold it to a client in the Netherlands.

Late February I hadn’t heard anything back. But frankly said; I hadn’t – ‘Oh, seasoned as I am’ – expecting something to happen without me again ringing the bell.
So, March 1st I asked by email if everything was ready for shipping back to me. Silence …
On March 4th I asked again. Silence …
On March 5th, I asked again. Silence …
She also didn’t respond to her voice message.

Nice, right? Exhibiting. I love it ranting
Well, I never do it again! This really is the last time.
Last year I got that bullshit with gallery Fisher. And now this.
Why are these things never handled like adults, such as a normal transaction in ordinary business life? Why are artists treated like whining kids. Or like an annoying mosquito? We are talking about $ 42,000 worth of trade. And believe me; I’m a very easy-going, understanding and accommodating person. And yes, I know … that’s exactly the reason why people walk all over me.

Please help me to remember this, as soon as I’m lyrically happy again if a gallery ‘ask me’. I’m done with them. No way I’m exhibiting again via a gallery.

After writing this rant … there was a reply in my inbox. Ms. Faithful wrote: “I have been ill and not at the gallery.”

Now she too ruined my cliffhanger!




Exhibition Perth

19 November 2007

Last Sunday, my friend Wilma who lives in Perth, went to ‘Gallery O’ to check if the gallery actually exists. To check if my paintings really were hung. To check if they didn’t hang them upside down. And to check if the bronze sculpture really is shown too.

exhibition perth

Heavy boxes from NZ to Perth

In the window

In the window

The gallery owner

The gallery owner

Sculpture behind Wilma

My largest painting

My largest painting

The all time favourite

The all time favourite




A classic mistake

14 October 2007

Do you remember I had shipped some artworks to Hong Kong? And that the shipment kindly was paid by the gallery owners; a New Zealand/Hong Kong couple.
I had promised them to show up when we were around, so I had to call Chin Chye to announce our arrival. Until now all the contact was done via email. Usually all phone calls to be made in English I skip to Frank, but in this case that would be weird. After all it was my exhibition.
For a moment I was relieved when Chin Chye didn’t pick up the phone. But I also got a phone number of husband Mark. He did pick up the phone and after my stammered introduction, we headed to gallery Koru by boat and taxi.

After the always confusing European triple kiss (and widely practised in art world), a persistent advertisement seller demanded all Mark’s attention, so a jovial assistant showed us the gallery and informed us about every artwork. For each sculpture, glass object and piece of porcelain he started off an extensive story.
After about 30 minutes I suddenly realised ……… this … IS … Chin Chye!
Chin Chye is a man!
Hahaha, ooooh … I felt so stupid.

Anyway, whether this gallery can bring me more than the name Hong Kong on my resume, is the big question. They were nice people and they are good with their artists. Mark loves figurative art, but I understood that their customer base mainly consists companies, offices and hotels. I think this kind of clients mostly will opt for abstract stuff which should better serve as background decoration. My work probably has a too strong presence as an independent object. It doesn’t easily disappear in the rest of the interior.
It’s no problem to keep the 3 paintings in Hong Kong for a while. Mark and Chin Chye were willing to send them to the new gallery in Perth, in case something is sold there.




The framer

29 July 2007

Expensive people are better than cheap people.
Quite logical, isn’t it? I pay for craftsmanship, a neat finish, accuracy and certain guidelines in dealing with me, the customer. When paying for a service or purchase I don’t want too much interference from the selling or serving individual. The salesman or staff member himself is only a tool between me and the desired gadget, or between me and the wanted service. And that ‘tool’ should not disturb the joy (or necessity) of a purchase in the form of a … body odor, unclarity about the course of the events, a distracting ulcer on the lip or crankiness. The job of a salesperson is only to get the customer and the gadget together. A smooth transaction is included in the price.
Not too difficult, right?

So, we looked for someone who could frame my paintings.
The found framer did a nice job. A little to the slow side, but maybe that was normal in this country.
The man himself was very timid and polite. That was okay, personally I’m not long-winded in conversation too, so that was matching fine. And as a bonus his prizes were very reasonable.

After 2 successful orders, the 3rd fell through. The timid framer could not deliver a certain frame and his embarrassment was apparent by not daring to inform us about this fact. We visited him 3 times, asking about the progress. He replied: “Yes, I will call the wholesaler again.”
And we never heard anything from him …
Okay, that can happen. Perhaps we are the kind of customers you’d rather don’t want.

The next framer was located in a busy shopping street with logically higher prizes He was cheerful and easy-going. His unsolicited statement about how much money he monthly need to earn to be able to rent his shop, wasn’t particularly necessary info for me (we all suffer from life), but hey, everybody has his little rants. I have them too. It’s like sneezing.
This framer also was significantly faster in delivery. The fact that the invoice suddenly was a bit higher than we had agreed, we devoted to the matter that we happen to be very good at drawing a straight face when someone calls his price. We might give the impression that it didn’t sound too bad for us. Or that we didn’t hear the price at all. Perhaps we need to work on that.
For now we shrugged our shoulders because in the Netherlands we were used to even higher prices. So. We ordered him to create 8 frames more.

We would screw in the paintings by ourselves, so we agreed a ‘pick 8 and pay for 7 deal’. The framer himself already did the haggling (with himself) for us. I suspected a sliver of guilt about the higher invoice.
“But you need to drill the holes for us” we extra underlined.
“Yeah, of course, I will drill the holes. That’s part of the job”, he said.
“And getting all these frames to our home … how do we do that? They are pretty big, huh?”, we tried.
“Yeah no worries, we work that out. I will look around to see if someone has a van. I’ll pack them well in bubble wrap. It will be alright”.
Great. I love the words “It will be alright”. I myself rarely use them because I always see problems everywhere.

After a week the order was ready. Luckily just in time we saw the requested holes were not drilled. “But, said the framer … that was because it was easier to drill the holes if the paintings were attached”.
That indeed would be easier. For him. Because the attaching should be done by us … Remember?
“And did you think about the carriage?”
“No”.
“No?”
“No, no way.”
“What no way?!”
It is surprising how one day the same words can have a totally different meaning than the other day.
Well … okay, we are no dickheads. Maybe we could organize an roof rack ourselves. We would come back the next day to tie the largest frames on top of the car. In the meantime ‘could Mr. Framer ensure that everything was wrapped in that bubble foil he talked about?’
“Well, umm … bubble foil is very expensive, you know. Then I need many meters of wrapping”, he replied.

I gave him an intense (and quite long) mean look. With all the bitterness that I could find in myself. Hoping that my eyes hurt him.
To that list of expensive demands at the top of this story, from now one I also want to see ‘pride’. Believe me, I want to pay for the pride of a salesman!
Our last request was to make the promised drill holes. Of course we could do it ourselves, but he has a huge working table, a spacious studio and certainly a lot more experience in measurement. We, however, had to do such a job on a carpet full of dog hair, between the pushed aside furniture. I’d rather he makes the errors, than we do. And -a small thingie- finally it was part of the deal, right?
He disappeared, loud grumbling into his workshop, his hands raised. We waited a while. Maybe he was interrupted by a ringing phone, or something?
But there was silence in the workshop.
He didn’t return to say g’bye. Or to say ‘see you tomorrow’.
Speechless we looked at each other.
We shouted goodbye, but no answer came, so we left.

The next day we drove to the framer again. With a roof rack on our car. The key in my back was turned up to the limit. I was ready to shoot.
He came to us with a red stained face and waved with his hand that we had to come inside the workshop …

framer

Two large frames on the roof rack

The night before he had drilled the holes all wrong!
He realized this just after drilling the very last frame and then almost had burst in tears. He had filled them all in with putty, sanded and repainted the spots and was busy until late at night. Early in the morning he drilled the holes again, in the right place. The repainted spots were barely visible, and he asked if it was okay with us. Frankly, I thought a painting would exactly cover them, so I did not mind.
And, they were all packed up … !!!

So, now I know I really can shoot a killing stare! Good to know.




Vanity press

10 May 2007

vanity booksI missed out the last art contest of this year. More than a week before the closing date I had sent the picture of the ice landscape to Christchurch, but I got it back. With a note attached that my entry had arrived too late (?!)
So, a giant crate of 40 kilo can be shipped to Hong Kong in 2 days, but a letter within New Zealand would take more than a week??? Yeah … right.

A while ago I got a book, called Dreamscape. It contains 40 artists of a certain genre, with the intention to catch the interest of specific galleries and art collectors.
Of course, I’m not stupid. Many requests of publishers of art books already have been flipped through my spam filter. When a publisher emails me that I am his ultimate discovery for their great contemporary art encyclopedia … that happen to have just being in progress, but there is still one spot available … And furthermore I’m told that the previous books have been blockbusters and the artists all became famous …
Little detail is that you -as the ultimate discovery- strangely enough is addressed as ‘dear Clogs. P’ or as dear Lincpat (my digital nickname since the internet was born).
Another small detail is that it will cost you $ 4000
For that amount of money you get a moderate printed book where your images are printed among hundreds of other desperate souls. Yes, artists are also a target group with their own weaknesses.

Dreamscape however, is published in the Netherlands by the man who also prints my giclées. He is the only person I have that much business confidence in to hand over my precious digital files. The difference is; his book is about one particularly style/genre. Art lovers mostly have a particularly style they love. Art book lovers too. I believe that art book lovers rarely buy books with ALL kind of styles, because than the biggest part of that book is filled with stuff they don’t appreciate.




Hong Kong replied

6 May 2007

It had been six weeks since the Hong Kong people had emailed me for the first time. After their cancellation for a meeting, I didn’t want to show any sign of too much eagerness, so I waited for them to re-contact.
This week I received an email back indeed. They asked me if I was still interested. And they wrote that they had organized to get some crates of New Zealand art to Hong Kong to fly on 8 May. I could put on the pallet my stuff too. That was sounding very positively decisive, but first I wanted to get an agreement about my wishes. To get my paintings at the airport was too short time anyway.

A commission of 40% instead of 50%, I think is more than sufficient. In exchange I was willing to pay for transportation costs myself (but of course I didn’t say that), because for me that even turn out better than paying 50% commission with free shipping.
Furthermore, I had raised some business things; including my pet peeve that I wasn’t willing to hassle about discounts to customers. How many times have I heard that gallery owners give discounts and then want to pass that on to the artist(!) In such cases the artist often agrees like a sausage already dangling in front of him. I don’t want to do anything with the favours of a gallery owner to his customers. Selling is his job. Painting is mine.
The next morning I already got a reply … all I asked was okay.
That same afternoon we quickly wrapped up three of my oldest surviving paintings and called the courier. The Hong Kong gallery already put the images on their website.
The only thing now I have been tolerant in … is that I have not a real agreement on paper with a signature.
Dangerous, isn’t it?
hong kong repliedhong kong repliedBut yeah, I know where they live …

In the meantime, I painted these wooden shoes for Gina, wit a Maori pattern:




Hard to get

31 March 2007

The New Zealanders Mark & Chin Chye own a gallery in Hong Kong and via email they let me know they were charmed by my work.
As far as possible by the internet, I did a thorough digital ‘investigation’ and there seems to be no hoax-alert. The space looks large and the gallery seems to be focused on sculptures and of course I will be only one of many, but it is a city of 8 million people on a few square meters. And certainly not all penniless.
Next week the couple is in New Zealand and possibly we could organize a meeting.
Before however, I shall briefly gauge their ‘attitude’ to my new policy. For example; a commission of 50% is really too much for me. Because recently I wrote here -right on this blog- that I was thinking to quit to deal with galleries.
Now you need to know that some principles are born to be thrown overboard, but to throw myself right in the arms of the first popping up ‘new Fisher’ … is a bit objectionable too, isn’t it?

So, I wrote the Hong Kong people about a few points we needed to talk about, with the negotiating commission as the most important issue. They wrote back that there is room for negotiation about everything and they wanted to meet me as their schedule permits (next week).
Once I was a gallery-owner myself and those days I couldn’t help to handle from the view of the artist.
In any case, it is unprecedented that the Hong Kong people will insure my artworks and the costs for shipment on their behalf. That’s promising!

hard to getAnd about the ongoing contests and awards … I had sent an image of Populus Flucta to the Norse Wear in Napier. But today I received a letter that it was unselected.




Hammy

18 February 2007

And than … after the art competitions Wally & Molly I continued to Hammy.
Hammy is Hamilton. A nice town in the middle of the North Island, where the ‘Painting and Printmaking Awards’ were be held.

hammyA few weeks ago I had sent my painting Polytrichum Antrum to the jury. Not because I considered this one as a leading contender, but because I had no other painting available at that moment. According to me it doesn’t matter which painting I send. Every time I’m full of confidence that I gloriously will win … and every time the jury has completely different thoughts.

hammy

The preview just before the official opening.

I try to find a pattern; The winner of Wally did frantic attempts in the competition circuit during a few years. So after a while his name became familiar at the juries in this small country. I think I should follow his lead and next time try to get Wally’s attention with one of my monster sizes!
The winner of Molly’s competition was a local celebrity who drags away one or more prizes every year. But I don’t think I will give Molly a second chance to get a real Van Lubeck next year. The exhibition afterwards was a bit of a ‘different genre’ of what I’m looking for.

hammyHammy was in professionalism as well as in location of the exhibition and the amount of the prizes close to Wally. To my pleasure my painting was in the final selection, along with 50 others, chosen from 200 submissions. However, I even didn’t win 1 of the 6 bottles of champagne. Let alone the grand prize of $ 15,000. What I did get was the notice of ‘visitor’s favorite choice’. Isn’t that better than a choice of the jury?

hammyLuckily later that night, on the street, I got a sincere compliment of a drunkard, about my glitter blouse …
That was the most satisfying end.




Molly

28 January 2007

From the contest Wally we smoothly move over to Molly.
Molly Morphet is an art contest in our own Whakatane and in the local papers I just read that 184 entry forms have been received. Less than Wally, but the prestige and amount of prize money also is smaller.

mollySo, today we have delivered ‘Cyphomandra Vitra’ at the back door of the War Memorial Hall; the community center where all the village highlights are happening.
This week, a jury will view the 184 entries and then 60 of the best paintings will be hanged for a short weekend exhibition. The refused artworks need to be quickly removed before the exhibition weekend, otherwise they will be trashed. Friday night will be handed out a grand prize of 5000 dollar and some smaller prizes.

The paintings from the exhibition in Dunedin are returned home.
All of them. Yes dear readers, the career of an artist is paved with disappointments! The gallery owner asked me to keep them for a longer period, but I wanted them back because of this art weekend in our Whakatane. Imagine that 1 big customer fancy an impulse purchase.
These things happen. Isn’t it?!

Well …
It’s Friday morning now …

My painting is not selected by the jury of Molly. They even weren’t willing to hang it!
While in the selected artworks, sometimes more than 1 painting per artist had been selected!
Tsah! What a humiliation!

Phew, I take it as my painting looks too professional. Or at least ‘too unusual’. Because … amongst the selected works there was no kind of art I had never seen before. Of course Art doesn’t need to be innovative per sé, but I still prefer something modern which is original, above the thousandth Bob Ross landscape or another more aquarelled children’s face.
There were a few really nice things (about 2 …) but also a lot of canvasses which made me cry (and not because I was touched).

But okay, I got it. The conclusion is; I better don’t join in to every contest out there. For an art contest at the local mall you apparently have to submit ‘local mall art’. I didn’t realize that. I thought I easily could bump away the other artists, just like an elephant.
So now I understand, I’ll have to compete against these art school types. It is difficult to accept, but rather a fight against a knitted hedge trimmer (like seen at Wally’s) than against inadvertently disabled Bambi in a bright green field of non-opaque paint (sorry, no photo).

Tsss, that arrogance of Mrs Van Lubeck, huh?!




Dunedin

11 December 2006

dunedinYesterday, the transport box I had ordered in Auckland, was delivered to me. I will use it to provide the gallery in Dunedin who had approached me on October 20. Their website shows very attractive art. Three of my paintings will be exhibited.
After framing them they looked perfect, though that was not what I intended by this framing. Firstly, I framed them as extra protection against the carelessness of the average gallery owner … remembering the scratches left by gallery Fisher.
The box is really true craftsmanship. It can resist a trip to the moon and is still very lightweight. For my own peace of mind I created a sticker for on the bars of the back. I know, it looks exaggerated, but art-wise I have seen every stupidity beyond your anticipation! The most remarkable damage I got on a returned painting was … a bird dropping.

Anyway … the gallery had an add in ‘The Otago Daily Times’. The third image is mine.

dunedin

Stainless steel

20 October 2006

A few days ago I got an email from a gallery owner in Dunedin who was interested in my work. Despite my lesson at Fisher’s gallery I’m incredibly quickly spawn when someone writes nice things about my work, but now I try to stay a little cool, because Dunedin is far away. Like Amsterdam/Marseille …
Of course everything can be sent over by courier, but the control then is a bit difficult. I don’t know anything about this gallery. A lot of galleries over here are more arts & crafts & souvenir stores. Not that there’s anything wrong with that …. :)))
So first I will check out the artists that this gallery has mentioned on the website and find out what are the average prices. It may sound pretentious, but I’m on a certain price level where it doesn’t make sense to exhibit my work on a wrong market place.

Something else:
Because in New Zealand distances are way more serious than in the Netherlands, New Zealanders more often are away from home for a few days. Our neighbor owns 6 chickens, which we occasionally feed when he has to travel. At a later stage our ‘collected chickenpoints’ are exchangeable for cat favors.
Lately the neighbour chickens are coming over to our garden daily, for our special attraction. Among the random objects belonging to our rented house is a stainless steel shower base. It is sitting against the fence for ages, hardly noticed anymore. Now the chickens have discovered this thing and they can see themselves in the shiny steel. Each time this happen they are over the moon of enthusiasm. Every afternoon they are standing in front of the steel base overly exited about this phenomenon. Not until dinner time, they jump back over the fence one by one. Totally bewildered about what humans are inventing nowadays.
The chicken in the picture was lingering on purpose, so she could have a private talk with her stainless steel sister.

stainless steel




Wally 2

25 September 2006

Two weeks later, on our way to Auckland, I was getting nervous; one moment I was sure I had won, based on a series of pictures that I had found on the internet of other artists who participated in earlier years (and I was not really impressed). The next moment I was sure I impossible could win, because that would be too easy.

Wally had asked me if I would be present in person and extra reminded me that my name was on the ‘door list’ … Would these concerns mean something?
We quickly booked a hotel. A bit of a chic hotel, because you never know if I will belong to a different breed of people after the weekend. Than I can affably wave from my suite …

wally 2

Found !!! (Frank the photographer) was standing with his back to the dead-end corner, where the fire extinguisher and some piled up chairs are located)

As it is for areas not intended to hang paintings on the walls, it was full of those moveable panels. To my stupefaction my painting hung on the back of such a panel as the only one in a death lane of the labyrinth. A kind of; at the back of the exhibition … I don’t think more than two people (we!) have checked that far corner.

A photo impression:

A knit hedge trimmer
Glue and lolly sticks
Painted pieces of polyurethane foam
Jeff Koons inspires a lot
And some paintings, just on the wall

I was among that 50 (the ‘good’ part) that may exhibit further in Wellington, but not among the winners.

The winner a kind of man-sized lump of plastic, dangling from a gallows.
The second prize a painting of a dress.
The third prize a stepladder covered with pieces of paper.
The fourth prize a small chinese portrait.
The fifth prize a collage of painted … things.
The sixth prize a white canvas with 13 colored shapes

wally 2

For the Salon de Refuse; go through that door to the left of those orange things. Then at the end of the hallway you will find a door left again …

Now we had become very curious about what misery to see in Salon de Refuse. You know; that consolation exhibition in the main street of Auckland. Sounds good, huh? In real it were some hidden rooms behind the Citizen Advice Bureau at the end of Queen Street where actually are located no shops anymore. From the outside you see a shared hallway with no signs there is an art show going on. No window, no sign on the pavement. You really have to know where you have to be.

After finding the show of the rejectamenta’s, it confuses me that there were quite a few good artworks!!! More my kind of thing …

The wooden head, did have some sympathetic.
Molded plastic is rubbish. Painted plastic is not.
Mickey is a bit out dated, but because it was painted neatly within the lines it was ok.
I rarely shoot sharp photos. Sorry for that.
And of course there were some … eh … incomprehensible things (save your click).

After all, obviously I’m deeply offended, but also relieved, lol.
Because I did not win, next year I can participate again. I will try with a larger painting, and I won’t be nervous anymore.
In any case; my goal has been achieved; The painting is on tour and will be seen.




Wally 1

9 September 2006

Today we went to Auckland and stay there for 1 night. There were still some of my paintings pining away in the broom closet at Fisher’s gallery. Paintings which are urgently needed to ‘go on with their life’.
Today’s date was not randomly picked, but part of a larger logistic plan; A few weeks ago I had sent a photo to an art contest. There were 472 photos entered and a jury has selected 100 finalists, who can participate the contest with 1 artwork. The painting that I had in mind, now directly could be transported from Fisher’s to … James Wallace Art Trust, which is located a few blocks away. Let’s call him Wally.

The 50 best artworks will be exhibited along with the winning artworks, for 4 months in Auckland and Wellington. The other 50 artworks may hang a couple of weeks in ‘Salon de Refuse’. Hm, the name says it all.
In any case, there is an exhibition with all the 100 works, in the main street of Auckland. So, that is always better than catching dust on the attic.

Immediately after arrival in Auckland, we went to Fisher’s. To have that got off my back as quickly as possible. I had sent him an e-mail what time he could expect me, so he could put the unsold paintings ready at the front door. And so he had ample opportunity to hide away from me.
The whole visit was done in a few minutes. The assistant still stammered a bit that it was no problem to continue to exhibit without being in their stable, that it would cost me no opening money … Hm, well … luckily lately I became very old & wise and I don’t feel the need anymore to preach my view on these kind of business. Also, being understood bothers me less and less over time.
Entirely in line with the expectations … at the hotel I saw that there were some damages on 2 of the paintings. But … what else can you expect from a gallery that exists just only 130 years?
Even older and wiser than an hour earlier, I wasn’t even angry. It is the same as it doesn’t make sense to be angry on rain.

Patricia Van Lubeck, wally 1, wallace art trustBefore we went to deliver the chosen painting to Wally, we first picked up a travel/bullet-proof box at the brothers PicPac. Not because I’m counting on a world tour, but because I learned that people can be incredibly sloppy when dealing with other people’s stuff. The only thing I can do is make them as easy as possible for packing the painting. The Picpac brothers -who also sponsor the contest were already deeply impressed by my painting. Whooo.
In 2 weeks we will hear the judgements of the jury at the gathering with all the artists, in which the Minister of Culture is going to do the opening talk.




Squeezed out

22 August 2006

Dear Patricia,
I would like to invite you to participate in an exhibition in April next year in Fisher’s gallery. It will be a group exhibition with 2 other artists and will have the theme of surrealism. I think that this will be a very strong exhibition and would be a great opportunity to properly introduce your work to our clients.

I replied that I certainly would have 10 paintings ready in April, but first I needed to know more about paragraph 6 of the contract … Paragraph 6 says that an exposition costs me money, which will be ‘passed on’ into my account. And with ‘pass on’ he probably doesn’t mean it is included in the commission of 40%

Actually, I already have decided that I don’t want to exhibit if a gallery wants me to pay even 1 dollar for invitations, postage, vernissage, advertisements or whatever on top of a high commission.

squeezed out

Sandpapering a new canvas

There are 2 types of galleries;
One rents out walls per meter and the artist is in charge for the invitations, postage, ads. The gallery only asks a small commission for every single sold work. The other type of gallery calculates a higher commission (per sold work) where all costs are already included.
The difference is that the first type of gallery is not at risk. Not any customers, but the artist himself provides a solid base income for these galleries. If there is still some selling, than that’s a bonus for the gallery. Amongst artists … this is the circuit for the desperates. If you ever did this kind of business, you don’t brag about it as being a real exhibition. It’s called a vanity gallery.
Fisher pretends to be a gallery of the second kind. The luxurious type that claims to be able to estimate the potential of an artist and then actively trying to sell the artworks via their sophisticated customer base. “A customer base that has been built in 130 years and must be the cream of the crop!” That partly will be based on the truth, because there is hanging some very expensive stuff at Fisher’s. In return, the artist must give exclusivity to this type of gallery and is not allowed to exhibit anywhere else in the country.
I’m willing. However. I am very loyal, though! But I’m not let tarnishing my exclusivity, while I also have to pay for it myself.

squeezed out

My first Very Big canvas

Fisher’s promised to reply within a week. Last week passed and no answer. How surprising. Actually, it doesn’t matter how high or low the costs will be, I already composed an email he would find in his inbox on Monday.

Dear Mr. Fisher,
After careful consideration and thorough reading of the exhibition agreement I came to the following conclusion.
I’m used to work with galleries showing their confidence in the marketability of my work through an exhibition without additional cost for me (apart from the 40% commission of course). I understand Fisher’s has a different policy, so I think our paths must part here.

Saves him counting. It seemed obvious to me that he only could get me without costs for me. And I honestly hoped that we were finished at this point, though of course I would play the game to a proper end.
On Monday Fisher’s assistant was on my answering machine, asking me if I was ‘upset’ about something. Well, I’m not comfortable to make phone calls in English yet, so I replied by email that my sudden objections were purely business related. In new words I tried to explain again that I was not willing to be charged on top of the commission.
squeezed outsqueezed outThe next day I received his reply; A quite standard sales pitch, like why only THEY are such a good gallery and that they would continue to represent me after the exhibition. Nevertheless concluding the email by asking what they had to do with my paintings which are still there … So, no attempt to look from my point of view, but that’s okay, because otherwise both parties feel that they have to do a favor to the other.




Promises

8 March 2006

promisesLast Saturday my father returned to Whakatane from his private tour through the North & South Island. Dutifully he had written his diary and closely followed the recommendations of the Lonely Planet guide and daily emailed his Dutch girlfriend who’s living in South-Africa. He never had been on holiday for such a long time and now was desiring to his own couch, a stack of fresh Dutch magazines & papers and craving his used brand of chocolate.

After we had brought him to the airport, of course we also planned a visit to Fisher’s gallery. These days I’m already getting irritated as soon as we are approaching Parnell Road.
But … the gallerina plunged me into praise and brought up -on her own initiative- the ‘is-there-life-after-the-exhibition subject!
The one and only sold painting was now owned by an important collector ‘who got the right friends over’ (oh yeah, every artist knows that wear out record) and gallerina’s plan was to organize a group exhibition in 2007 with a number of surrealists or other ‘ists’ that fits my work.
Or should I look the other way? That I fit their work?

Anyway, an exhibition will be accompanied by some more fanfare and ballyhoo than this ‘Summer Salon’, which was given ZERO publicity according to me. She said that when I have finished a new painting, she could mail a picture to certain customers and if there was a gap between the exhibitions this year, they could hang my work in between.
You understand that I was fine with this handful of promises and I was a lot less fretful.
Because of our job as entertainer for our guests, currently my easel is catching dust.
First we will accompany Frank’s parents to Australia for 5 days.




Swimming with dolphins

15 January 2006

So last week we headed to Auckland and Fisher-wise I was prepared to count on nothing.
And that was a good thing … because Fisher’s gallery was closed. Contrary to what was announced on the front door.
At this moment I have received an excuse mail from the secretary for that 3rd Christmas Day blunder and an apology from the gallery owner for this latest blunder. They just had decided to close on Sundays in the month of January, because it was too quiet. Oh really? That must be an intense exploration … they are existing 130 years already.
Windfall is that the exhibition will take 2 months, instead of their usual 2 weeks.

Then Fisher’s was on Teletext and in the newspaper! Although only the Sunday paper, but still … a paper. They wrote that his gallery was removed from the ‘Guild of restorers’ because one of the restorers had messed up a valuable painting.
Now I’m hoping all Fisher’s colleagues will take a look on his website and then … they discover that fresh art of that newly launched Dutch lady painter. And then try to steal me away from Fisher … and then treat me like a queen. Yes, that is what I had in mind …

Swimming with dolphinsOn Sunday morning we picked up my father from the airport. I still recognized him!!! After 4 months, whahaha.
To prevent to exhaust him too soon after arriving, we booked a hotel room in Auckland. We finally have had a dinner at the Skytower restaurant what is rotating 360 degrees in 1 hour. You also can stand on a floor of glass tiles on 200 meters high. Scary huh ?!

Now have done the tourist highlights like the vaunted ‘swimming with dolphins’. We were told they have healing gifts which make blind people see and the crippled walk and the balds get their hair back.
Swimming with dolphinsThe sailboat entered a school of dolphins and all the passengers were told to hang behind the boat dressed in their borrowed wetsuit and a snorkel. I never had used a snorkel before, so unfortunately I was more concentrated on the non-choking part than I got ‘healed’.
Well, seen from above, they were also nice. The dolphins were doing their very best for us.




Photographer failure

1 January 2006

Somebody I told about our useless trip to Auckland, wondered if we couldn’t have left the paintings to the neighbour of the gallery? Of course we have walked around looking for something that looked reliable, but Parnell Road exactly looks every shopping street on Sunday afternoon. Deathly quiet with rolled-down shutters and at the very end a doner kebab guy who sits in front of his shop in the sun, attentively cleaning his nails with a fork.
Across the gallery was a classy elderly flat with a central door and 20 shiny brass bells, but suddenly I lost my desire to explain who I was, why I was here and what should be done in a tiny microphone to a complete stranger.
Returned home I sent a acidly email to the secretary where I ‘thanked’ her for the warning about the closing hours.

Two days later we went again. Without notice them and knowing they were open. The secretary was on vacation, the owner of the gallery was out for surfing and the girl who looked after the shop … well, she was just looking after the shop and has nothing to do with it.
My relationship with Auckland became even more difficult because the photographer next door, unanticipated had no time for me in the next 2 weeks!!! While during my visit of 2 weeks ago I already asked him if he was sure I didn’t need to make an appointment: “No, you can come between Christmas and New Year. Just come along and you will have professional pictures of your paintings within one and a half day.”
I can’t wait 2 weeks because the paintings will hang in 1 week. So no pictures then …
photographer failure
Well … it all does not matter because my clafoutis has become golden brown and the inside was not too sticky. No, that’s not Latin for an inflamed body part, but it is the first recipe from my new “Agenda for housewives.” Whahaha. In the absence of our ‘Dutch oliebollen’ I promoted the clafoutis to our New Year cake because of the wonderful name. And it tasted good!!! Gosh!




Second failure of the gallery owner

28 December 2005

There is reigning absolutely no Christmassy atmosphere over here. They do some feeble attempts with hanging lights strips on the houses and tree-shaped ornaments, but actually it doesn’t work in a hot mid summer. Beside the disturbing aspect of the bright sunlight and images if Santa in a bathing suit, the New-Zealander hardly use those glittery tree decorations, there is no lingering pine scent, you don’t feel the first signs of a flu and they are not known with snow in a spraying can. Over here Christmas seems to be more an appetizer of the start of the summer holidays and the changing the school year.
On Christmas Eve we went to our favorite restaurant. On the way back we walked right into a neighbour-trap; a street barbecue! We -the foreigners without family and friends- were assumed to be sad and lonely, so we impossible could escape from it. In my blind panic, I sank another 3 glasses of wine in a few seconds.

I nastily threw them up the next day.

To handle further details, the owner of gallery Fisher had referred me to his secretary. These further details were not much more than a contract and some additional photos. Maybe they will use a picture of one of MY paintings in the advertisement in the Herald newspaper.
When we were at Fisher’s 2 weeks ago, I had taken the showed paintings home again, because they still needed a layer of varnish. That would be thoroughly dried after Christmas. So, I asked them: “Is the gallery open between Christmas and New Year? Yes, we are open!
I sent them an extra email to tell I would bring the paintings on Tuesday, December 27th. Sometimes I become tired of myself of all that double checking …
second failureSo, yesterday we did the four-and-half hours long ride to Auckland again.
And you won’t believe it … they were closed !!!
I never have heard of a third Christmas day. And the extra closing days were not mentioned on their website or on their front door.

Four and a half hours back again … I seethed inside.




My first earnings

22 December 2005

my first earningsJust before we left the Netherlands I got an email from Henry Muldrow. Who? Well, that’s someone from the world of the performing arts and poetry. Two art forms existing miles away from me and I have no idea who are the heavyweights over there.
Henry was busy creating a poetry collection annex CD and asked me if I was interested to draw an illustration. It was a kind of ABC of Dutch cities and a bunch of well-known illustrators and singers were participating. The only name that rang a bell to me was Gerda Havertong, but only because the comic art house duo Theo & Thea claimed that she was able to juggle a roti chicken out of her swimsuit … (no doubt; you read it right).
This is my illustration for the letter W. A poet about a girl from Wildervangsterdallen (that’s a Dutch village), who inherits 1000 ping-pong balls.

my first earnings
If we have to go to the center we preferably go by foot. The road to the village is very quiet and serene. Halfway we pass a garden with beautiful sculptures. Artists called to be no art buyers, but I’m a bad example for that judgement. And I know some other bad examples. These statues are strange, elongated, sweet ladies faces with beautiful curly hair and very thick sleeping eyes. That last one really appeals to me.

Until now our deck has been a kind of in-between-place to store stuff we didn’t want to throw away yet; like a stained garment, a too small double mattress and a whole pile of excess pillows, what became a nice place to sunbathe for me and the cat.
my first earningsBut obviously we don’t want to make a poor impression when our parents come to visit us. At least we need to be able to offer them a chair in the sun, so we have bought a proper outdoor furniture set. The first one in our lives. We have chosen a strange yellow-green color because we are now quite accustomed to the equally strange green color of our house.




Gallery Fisher

10 December 2005

This week we went to Auckland to show my newest paintings to the owner of gallery Fisher.
After this visit, I was wondering … is it too much to expect a chair and an offered cup of coffee after we have driven a trip of 4 hours? Fisher may be one of the better and upmarket galleries, but a little courtesy belongs to that world too, isn’t it?
Anyway, these ‘different’ manners we shall gather under the no-nonsense policy. The sunny side is that next January 5 paintings can participate in the Summer Salon. I’m not sure what this exactly will mean – but for now I’m happy the paintings will hang somewhere, instead of getting dust on the attic.

Unexpected I got a great understanding for Moroccan women who still don’t speak Dutch after living in the Netherlands for 20 years. During our vacation in New Zealand 2 years ago, I didn’t understand a word of the accent. Now, after three months living here, I slowly begin to understand about 30%  I’m developing a talent for scanning the pitch of the voices, to know when I need to draw a matching animated face.
From the beginning, Frank is an intermediate between me and the outside world. Very occasionally I try to say something myself, but every time my courage sinks deeper and deeper. Without exception the listener looks at me in horror when I have said a few words. Even if I’m sure it is no dirty talk! The only thing I can do to break the frightening silence is to loudly shout out the keyword of my intended conversation. Mostly then the conversation is moving on, or sometimes Frank brings salvation. But it is not really encouraging. The Pavlovian effect is that I’m already blushing if I’m only think I should say something.

gallery fisherI still need to cancel the appointment with that cruel hairdresser. I’m not going to do that by phone! “Hell nooo,” I’ll send a postcard, because writing goes okay. Although … I guess you are able to read this blogs.
The willingness to belong to some kind of community has faded away already, so I can drift away into my seclusion. Though I still have quickly hung up the latest fashion in Christmas lights (from the Dutch Ikea) on the curtain rail to show the neighbourhood how ‘worldly’ we are!