Belov on the value of connections an artist makes beyond the studio

Posted in Blogs, Visual Art

ANNE BELOV, Jan. 11, 2013

“It’s All Relative”

This is a post about relationships.

No, not that kind of relationship, although these ideas could be applicable there, too.

Being a painter can be a very solitary activity, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore relationships.  There are the relationships that happen on the canvas.  If you want something to appear lit from within or glowing, it must be adjacent to or surrounded by darkness.  Two intensely saturated colors next to each other appear differently than they would if they were separated by neutral shades. Or they would look more different still if one color shape was large and one was small.  The choices a painter makes while painting are all relative to what is already on the canvas.

"Where You'll Find M," an on linen, is by Anne Belov. (Photos courtesy of the artist)

“Where You’ll Find Me,” oil on linen, is by Anne Belov. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

There are the relationships that an artist has with the people that buy and sell their artwork.  Once upon a time, the only way that an artist could reach the art viewing public was to hang his or her work in a gallery and hope that someone would walk through the door, (hopefully clutching the show post card in hand, saying, “I want that one.”)  If you wanted to show your work in other cities, you had to travel there, find a gallery where you thought your work would fit, and then send a package of slides and hope that: They would open the package and … decide to show your work.

Today you can research galleries online, send an email to one or more that you think might be a good fit, and get an answer within days, if not minutes.  But even if you get an answer from that gallery, you still are contemplating a relationship.  Proceed with caution.

Even with all of this instant communication and the infinite number of images and people available to us on our computers, it’s still about building relationships one-on-one, one at a time. The Internet is a weird and wonderful thing.  It simultaneously brings us together and at the same time it can isolate us.

But here is something that gives me hope: Despite the infinite possibilities and choices, people still want personal contact.  They want the story behind the work, about the artist, why they chose that subject, that medium, those colors. They want the relationship.  This is encouraging to those of us who make things by hand, one at a time, using old or new methods in making our paintings or pots.

This is not to say that relationships can’t be formed in cyberspace.  The success of both of my Kickstarter projects depended partly on people I only know through my blogs or on Facebook.  The point, is that I worked at building those online relationships for about a year before I asked them to support my panda satire publication project.  The real story is that there are old ways and new ways to build relationships.  But they still happen one-on-one, one at a time, whether you are talking about forming a friendship or making a work of art.

The moral of the story: when you start to forge relationships, you never know where they will take you.

It’s all relative.

Anne Belov paints, consorts with pandas, and spends way too much time doing “research” on panda videos and on Facebook, while living in her studio on Whidbey Island. You can visit her blog “The Panda Chronicles” and buy her new release “The Panda Chronicles Book 1: Your Brain on Pandas” here. She also is the mastermind behind The Froggwell Biennale which happens in August at Froggwell Gardens.

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