“Where does she get it from?” the private view art mingling Londoners mumble over the free drinks each First Thursday, First Wednesday, First Tuesday and on the odd nights when the brave and special galleries choose to have their openings. I remember coming to London and being incredibly art thirsty; drooling over brush strokes, contrasting oil textures and ten thousand other versions of creative expression. It didn’t take me long to wonder what the rest of the crowd was doing there. Where they really only there for the free drinks? During the exhibition of the wandering artist, whose name I cannot remember, in a Mayfair gallery a couple of years ago, a Ugandan Indian, whose name I shall keep anonymous, came up to me with slightly sleepy wine-eyes and declared that he was indeed an art lover. We had a chat and as a result, I ended up on a mailinglist which supplied all previously wealthy (at least in their dream world) West-End folks with a weekly e-mail report of where to go for the free drinks. Yes, I did give him my business card and hoped that he would buy one of my paintings, because my older and more experienced friends told me to network, and the man did have a nice suit and Regent Street was gleaming as prosperous as ever before.
“Where does she get it from?” used to sound like a peculiar question with no substance, until I realized that many people have no conception of creativity and what it feels like to be grabbed by that invisible powerful force that makes you walk your garbage to the tube, put on skirts inside out and eat breakfast for lunch and dinner. Observe, sketch, research, paint, and paint, and paint, and then document, throw it all online on a webpage, contact galleries and go networking. Oh, we all know the drill and it can make a wreck out of any passionate artist burning with the will to break through. How many artists come to London for a couple of years and then give up? It can be chocking to realize how many amazing artists there are out there in the complex business jungle that is built around and feeding off creative expression, and in addition, the numbers of foreign painters represented by London galleries (not including the internationally recognized) are not many.
I started writing about artists because I found that the focus on art was consistently and close to entirely on the economic value and the trade of the same; the artist’s journey is absent. We must remember that we are not producing commercial objects. The story is infinitely more beautiful, and/or painful, and definitely more complex. Let’s rise above the competition mentality and focus on the real work.
Elinrós Henriksdotter, Founder and Chief Editor for www.ContemporaryTalks.com