Sunday, March 11, 2012

Birds and the Bees at Midtown in Kalamazoo

As of this week I might be ready.

Midtown Gallery in Kalamazoo asked me to be part of an exhibit called "Birds and the Bees"...bees, because another artist and I will both have encaustic work...birds because the owner knows I like to paint them.

It's been and interesting few months. I've been producing pieces, but was not feeling right about the work. I've been feeling pressure because Kalamazoo is where I got my BFA. Even though my name is different, that insecure part of me has been chanting "what if THEY look at this work and feel they expected more out of me after so many years". Annoying as that voice was, it made me realize it was I who expected more out of me after so many years. I needed to step up to the plate again as an artist. I've been making images, but not doing the inner work necessary to make ART.

In the end, maybe nobody would know the difference, but me. I assure you, it's the critical difference between truly enjoying the process and being proud of the work. Once I found the zone I looked at most of the work I'd done up to that point and deemed it unsuitable for this show. I started over and am SO glad I did. I feel like I've come home and remember what it's like to love being in the studio. It's a gift.

I may do one more piece, but know I'm ok if I can't. This is the first exhibit I've had for a couple of years (life sucked me up for a bit), so I'm looking forward to seeing the work hang. As always, I'll like some of it, hate some of it, find other people like pieces I don't. It's all ok.


On March 22 I'll be doing a brown-bag workshop for the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. It will be at their office on Turner Street in Old Town from noon till sometime after 1:00. It's been very interesting preparing materials, as it's become clear how many options artists now and more effective than ever before.

With Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, e-blasts and blogs, you can post images, videos, calendars, invitations and more. You can encourage an ongoing dialogue about your work,organization, or medium of interest and network to your heart's content. You can do it passively - not having to ever talk to a soul or put your artistic soul on the line. It's pretty perfect.

The trick is, you still have to do it. Somehow or another, you must tell people you exist, what you do, and (directly or by implication) why they should care. Marketing is an art form in itself. It's fun to plot which medium will accomplish what and layer the approach. It's gratifying to get responses to posts, or to create a community around something dear to your heart.

If you're interested in joining the conversation and receiving some written tips, please contact Katie Robiadek: or 517.372.4636 x 3.