Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Groping Around in the dark
It has been several months now since any of my jewelry has sold on Etsy and I'm not sure what gives. I feel as though I'm groping around in the dark trying to find a foothold. Tonight I watched American Idol and noticed that a number of the singers were having the same problem. What they thought would appeal to people seemed to miss the mark with the judges in some vital way in many cases. Only one or two seemed to hit the nail on the head in enough areas to get that unhesitating "Yes!" response that all artists strive for, the kind of response in which the beholder doesn't have to think consciously about what worked, but knew unequivically that it did. Even after polishing their act taking into account all the feedback they'd been given, still several of them were told that they veered left when they should have veered right, or that they'd gone too far in one direction that they'd been told to go in the previous week and over-corrected.

I thought about how visual art is similar. It's like that game "pin the tail on the donkey where you're blindfolded and have to rely on often ambiguous cues and instructions as to when you're getting "hot" and when you're getting "cold".

As artists it seems that often we come kind of close (and someone may like something we've made enough to compliment but maybe not heart it), or at times very close (and then somebody will heart it but not buy it), then on those lucky occasions when all the conditions are right... bingo! (Somebody buys).

Those moments to an artist are like a juicy steak set down in front of you at the end of a long day, but what are they made of? Better yet; we all wonder how we can repeat them, yet the formula seems to elude us and remains a moving target.
Sometimes it seems as though an art-based business is more like trying to win the lottery than other jobs in which you can be sure your pay is going to continue week after week. Althought ironically with all the recent lay-offs the two might be more on a par with each other now more than ever.

It is alot like going fishing. You choose where you think is a good fishing spot, attach the worm (choose types and decide on your methods of promotion), then drop your line in the water and see if there are any fish around to see it, and whether they are interested (is your demographic where you're advertising and do they want what you have to offer on this day?)

Sometimes they see it but stay where they are, not making a move forward. Other times one comes close and even takes a little nibble.

I remember when I was a kid out on the pier many summers waiting patiently to catch "the big one" and it did come around. It's presence massive, an impressive creature, fins glistening like polished silver, sunlight glancing off it as its muscular body maneuvered effortlessly through the water below. My heart seemed to stop for a moment in anticipation. I was afraid to breath for fear I might scare it away.

It was these fish that were hardest to catch, as they all seemeds to have grown to this size by narrowly escaping capture any number of times. Some even had remnants of hooks in their mouths which had partially healed over. These big granddaddy fish would glide up to my hook and appear to sniff around at the juicy morsel attached, assessing whether or not to go in and chomp down. More often than not they'd nibble around the edges, avoiding the hook inside as if they knew that there was a price to be paid for not controlling their hunger. Then they'd dart off if there were any sudden moves, or seem to get distracted while staring at it and lose interest, sailing up to, then beyond my offering, eyes focused forward.

I never could figure out what the determining factor was to their deciding to bite down solidly versus the other two responses. To this day it remains a mystery.

In my jewelry design process I have alot of versatility and often challenge myself to look at trends and then create my own twist on elements that seem to appeal to a number of people. I don't want my work to look like everybody else's but at the same time I often wonder if there is such a thing is going too far off the beaten path.

I have read that certain shapes such as circles appeal to most people and afford them a kind of security. Maybe there's something to be said for predictability in an increasingly unpredictable world. Sometimes I will look at work that does not seem very unique and see that nevertheless it is selling pretty regularly.

Two questions keeps raising their heads; "How plain should I go before the work becomes boring? How complex or unusual should I go before the work is too far afield for viewers to relate to it?

It is easy to go too far in either direction, but where that line in the sand exists is not well understood.

Tomorrow between 1 and 3 pm someone is coming to look at my poor kitchen floor that the other repairman tore while moving the refrigerator and Carmella continued to peel back.

I will be relieved to have that work done so that I can mop it without worrying that it will warp. I want to wash the floor with bleach as soon as I can in case Carmella's foot microbes re-deposit onto her while she's walking in there.

You can see when you look close-up that these torn areas trap hair, and stains, and all kinds of unwanted stuff. Yuck!

Carmella's second day wearing the cone has been touch and go. She has found ways to get around the thing now and then and either stick a back foot inside the cone or slide the cone down her neck toward her shoulders and then reach her front feet. I have to keep pushing it forward. I hope this infection gets better soon because I can't watch her every second of the day and keep re-adjusting that thing or I'll go nuts! Luckily she has fallen asleep on the chair in here in the computer room. I almost hate to wake her up to bring her into my room and put her onto the bed, but I can't leave her by herself to wander around the house unsupervised. There's no telling what sort of mischief she'd get into and how much it would cost me to replace whatever in here she might destroy with that deadly micro-snout of hers.

Goodnight to you all! Keep reading and commenting, and if you see any big fish be sure to send them my way! Minnows will work if you have enough of them but it's nice to have a big meaty Salmon at least once in awhile.

1 comment:

Dina Cuomo said...

Oh poor Carmella- you need this problem like a hole in the head! She is such a beautiful dog and so lucky to be part of your family!