You are probably thinking about now - what on earth does she mean that she derailed her art career? And how is an SOS a pitfall - what is an SOS anyway?
OK, let me fill you in. Back in early January 2000 I had my first Solo show at a Sydney gallery - Charles Hewitt Galleries. Good heavens - was that really twenty one years ago?
Now you might be thinking - well that's a pretty good start to an art career - and it was. However six months later my dad died and I went into a pretty bad space. I ended up painting a series of works which helped me move through my grief and came out the other side having lost contact with my gallery and looking for a way to make some money as I wasn't selling any art.
This is where I really stuffed up big time. Why I never stayed in touch with the gallery I'll never know. I think I thought Charles would contact me and because he didn't I just never followed up. I think I also thought that he wouldn't be interested in the new works as they were not in the same style as the show I'd had at the gallery. IMPORTANT LESSON: Always follow up!!
Also during this time I was dealing with a family member having major mental health issues and I was under a lot of stress. So I think this all contributed to me taking a 'U' turn in my art journey and abandoning painting for a while.
I did paint something - which may give you an insight into where my head was at at the time.
In the mean time, I got involved in another project with a girlfriend - dying and printing silk velvets. This endeavour lasted for at least a couple of years - I spent a lot of money - part of my inheritance and made zippo! All I can really say about that experience was that I enjoyed the challenge of creating beautiful things but my art career was totally smashed at that time.
This is the hidden pitfall of the SOS ( Shiny Object Syndrome)! I thought the fabric project seemed like a good idea at the time. You know - whip up a few cushions and flog them off - easy. Hm-mm not likely. One of the main problems we ran into was the technical side of the dying process and getting consistent results. Talk about getting sidetracked!!
Then once we came anywhere near the marketing side of things, my partner retreated and I wasn't up to the challenge either. So eventually we petered out - poorer but hopefully wiser. I still wasn't really thinking about getting back into painting and by this time it was 2005. So I went to Venice instead! Now that - was fun!!
In all of this I think the biggest problem for me was marketing - selling myself - and staying focused, whether it was the art or the fabrics - or later on cosmetics. And that I think is the moral of this story - an artist must learn to sell them selves in a way that works for them. And like many other artists I had a huge lack of faith in my own abilities as an artist. Plus I had no clear plan - I was all over the ship!
Many years later and with the growth of the internet, I have found at least a decent part of the solution to my marketing woes. Selling work on line has now become a highly acceptable way to market ones art and last year was my best year for sales so far, without all the hassle and energy it takes to put on a solo show. Below is one of the works I sold last year through Bluethumb on line gallery.