In the Trenches: A New York Artist Navigates Her First Salon and Group Show
(And Amasses an Amazing Team in the Process)
January 7th, 2018 – A listing on the Opportunities page of the NY Foundation for the Arts site catches my eye: “Start your career off right…in front of the New York and Brooklyn art scene…Best in Show wins a cash prize and a solo show!” Another listing searches for works “under 30 by 36 inches” that “boast of color”. I swallow the $35 submission fees and give both a shot. The carrot at the end of the stick “…solo show” suddenly appears on my radar.
An hour later – BAM! An email reads: “Your work is exactly what we are looking for!” Could it really be?! An hour later, another: “I enjoyed reviewing your submissions…” I am giddy with happiness and tell Joseph! Nonplussed, he continues watching football.
January 8th, 2018 – Early morning. A Hillsong podcast echoes in the background. Pastor Brian Houston preaches on the pointedness of vision – “Write down the vision and make it plain…” Habakkuk 2:2. “Your dreams and passions are key to what you are really about…and connect you to the great I AM”. I take this as a personal missive from God and smile inwardly.
Later that day: I visit Jim Braden at Duggal, a Photo and Print Production Place in New York. Jim is affable, witty and professional. We discuss recent museum exhibitions, fine art photography and the rambunctious machinations of his 12-year-old son. I select paper, determine collages to be made into prints and agree on pick-up dates. An artist himself, Jim shows me an upcoming book of drawings inspired by his son. He does so with a touch of pride.
January 10th, 2018 – Early morning. An update from my mutual fund company arrives in the mail. Given the confident market and a soaring stock price, the financial report in my hands takes me by surprise. I breathe a little easier. Any previous financial fears vanish.
Anthony and I speak on the phone about the status of my website. We discuss several scenarios when he extends a game plan. I like him; he’s hungry; he has vision. I ask myself what it means to stay committed long term. Have I not waited my entire life for this?
Later that day: Jumping over dirty snowbanks and fighting a fierce cold, I make my way to the P.P.O.W Gallery in the Meatpacking District. As the sole visitor to the gallery that day, I am greeted by paintings, silk wall hangings and friezes alive in color. I feel as if I’m seeing for the first time. I decide then and there to cement a relationship with my designer.
January 12th, 2018 – Temperatures fall below freezing. On the platform of the Grant City train station, I cull Google listings in search of a suitable photographer for my newest works. My meager Iphone photographs aren’t cutting it; I need quality photographs to refurbish the site, to serve as future prints to sell and to advertise to curators for exhibition purposes. A baby photographer listens to my plea but remains unfazed. A fine art photographer in the city offers a full-day session at $2500.00. Ouch! Feeling sticker shock, I move on.
January 15th, 2018 – I’m in luck! I find a fine art photographer in Brooklyn who shoots primarily for artists. I panic when Paul asks for access to a 10 by 10-foot wall. I suggest my parents’ Tudor home in Staten Island. He arrives and unloads his studio in the center of my parents’ living room. He shoots non-stop. Paul forwards me the name a new printer and a contact known for making affordable editions.
January 19th, 2018 – Both my gallery liaisons remind me of drop-off dates. The heat is on. I collect my prints in the city and travel back home to the Hall of Frames. Janice and I select mats and affordable frames for a uniform look. In an immediate about-face, I return to Tribeca for a full night of work, exhausted.
January 22nd, 2018 – I keep a mental tally for the costs of photographer, designer, printer and framer. Meanwhile, back at Duggal, Jim uncovers a print for “Landscape at Edgegrove”. We marvel at the results; it resembles the original to a tee.
Me: “How should I price my work?
Jim: “I would calculate the cost for all that went into production and charge three times the amount. Your time and effort costs money. You should be paid…!”
January 26th, 2018 – I’m riding in the back of an Uber car loaded down with six works and speeding toward the gallery. It’s Drop-Off and registration day; I’m excited and my heart is racing. I’ve spied my competition and I think I’ve got a chance. I walk in and the walls are white with possibility. I know that this is just the beginning.