When I look at my work and envision where in the home would be the best placement for it, what comes to mind is the dining room, a small sitting area, an enclosed peaceful place, and that quite space just at the end of the hall. I am not saying that my work should be restricted to these places, but these spaces within the home are well suited. Once a gallery director committed regarding the showing of “Placements” and “Cradled”, that, “Sadly, many may only see your work for the kitchen; they just see knives, forks and spoons”.
Because of the scale of my photographs, for them to be hung in the living room or the bedroom is a hard sell. People think of hanging art above the sofa or the bed, and these images are not of an appropriate size to fix that need; unless in multiples. They are more suitable on the wall next to a comfortable chair, or a vanity table in the bedroom. Even for the framed images of 16” x 20” from the theme, “An Outer Expression of Inner Growth” __ which is the title of my first publication __ is still considered small compared to most contemporary art found in homes today.
This is one of the photographs in the collection under that theme and book title. All of them in this collection were taken in my studio in the States, not in Sweden. However, the book was published in Sweden. They are all floral, plants, leaves, seed pods, etc.; somewhat of a departure of my latest work.
I do look at my images as having a home appeal rather than that for the corporate world, large conference rooms, or the grand lobby of a hotel, but still, I am open for it. Because of the intimate nature of my work it is less public, more personal. I do, however, see a place for them in a cozy upscale restaurant, or a small hushed bed & breakfast. One woman at a gallery showing said to me, “I would love to find your photographs on the walls of my favorite restaurant where I often eat. I see them as quiet and restful.”
Once, in Sweden, I was negotiating a sale with the owner and his son of a restaurant called Fork & Spoon. It is a franchise, of which this owner purchased one. The negotiation seemed promising. The father, who was the owner, and his son, who was his manager, was planning to renovate the space. They were having a designer come in, and were thinking about art. They picked out images from the theme “Placements” that they thought to be right for the restaurant, and even a few for their homes. I was very pleased, and made many suggestions on which walls I thought were best to hang which pieces. I talked, explored layouts and possibilities, as we walked around the space together; they listened, smiled and nodded.
Upon my return home, I wrote them a thank you note, and asked them to have their designer contact me so we can all work together. Well, I did not hear from them. After about a month or so I sent them a reminder as a follow up . . . nothing. So then I began to question myself as to what I must have done to discourage them from working with me. So I asked some of my Swedish brothers and friends what were their thoughts. I was told that I was just too aggressive in my approach. Swedish people like Americans, but they think Americans are too straight forward, too direct and too pushy. The Swedish people are very slow, deliberate and cautious. The owner and his son probably thought best to work with a Swedish person, or someone who is sensitive to their culture. I know I should have contacted them again to know for sure, but by them not answering any of my messages, that said a lot to me. I saw too much of that in Sweden. However, the Swedes are very nice people; they just keep to themselves.
My work is in black & white, and that also is a hard sell. Most people like color in their choice of art. Many have walls and furniture of bright colors, so black & white images may seem to them out of place. As an artist, to see people buy art for how is fits with their furniture is a bit shallow, but people want what they want. Interior designers know this to be true, and choose art that add to the overall atmosphere of the home. They know how to create a decor of their own tastes, and still give the owners what they want. The home filled with the furnishings, the walls, the rugs, and even the dishes of whites, the many shades of gray, is one modern and conservative look that I am trying to remind my collectors are always in fashion. However, please do not think I am doing this in order to sell my work. Oh no! (smile) No, there is just a wonderful feel that comes with these pigmentations, and this is why I work in black & white.
Still, of course, the genre of still life is also a hard sell. It is much lower on the sellable scale then say, landscapes, seascapes, portraits and nudes. So many art business coaches believe it is best to create works of subjects that are in demand, and not those that really just appeal to the artists themselves. This advice has merit, and perhaps is the sentiment of successful interior decorators.
Still, I believe there are those who are pleased with my images, are willing to support me as the artist, and find wonderful places in their homes for it. To change my approach to photography, and alter my subject matter in order for collectors to find walls in their homes to hang it, is not reasonable to me. It does not take thousands of collectors for an artist to make a reasonable living. The issue of course is finding them, and creating that appeal. Yes, to make a living as an artist has its challenges, as in all professions, but when you, as a collector, can see my vision, create the atmosphere in your home that embraces it, you would have found the places to hang my work.
Let us hear from you, and tell us where in your home you hang your art, and what is the atmosphere you are creating by hanging it there. That may expand our own ideas about décor in the home, and what that says about you.