I sold my second house portrait in the twin cities yesterday. At this rate, I will be homeless within a month. I’ve started a part time job delivering news papers to people up the Mississippi, but my minivan is starting to misbehave and since people will not walk to the newspaper tube under their mailbox, I have to run the paper up to the door. It’s very hard on my car, a catch 22. People demanding that they not walk to the edge of their property, makes me hate those lazy home owners. I’m going to try to use my skateboard for some of the route this weekend so my car doesn’t get too hot…. how old am I again??? I am grateful for their 50 cents. So that’s good news.
Even better news is that I’ve changed my approach to acquiring house portraits and it seems to be working. Instead of walking dozens of miles putting postcards in the mail slots of the homes I like, risking being fined for breaking federal law, I’m knocking on the doors ready to annoy people with face to face solicitation. I have tricky wording backing me. I got the job from the first doors I knocked on in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The resident in Saint Paul asked me why I knocked knocked on his door. I didn’t want to tell him it was because there was an eight, a zero and a one in his address for fear of appearing crazy, so I told him that I liked the way his house fit in the composition, which is generally true, even this time when I was also playing with numbers. I believe he thought it was weird that I asked him about a house portrait because he actually collects plein air work. Yes, it is weird, and he has no idea how weird.
He invited me on his porch for beer and pizza with his girlfriend and we talked about the art market. Him being really good at buying and me being really bad at selling, made for a good conversation. We both have had the experience of our opinions about a painting changing over time, which is probably a rare thing to happen. After a person has set an opinion there are strong subconscious motivators in maintaining the original opinion. Most people only decide their parachute pants and florescent yellow blouse look ridiculous well after the fad has popped. I can only hope that people paying thousands of dollars for paintings that don’t look as good as my palette during the chaos of paint mixing comes to a rapid end.
He said that, “buying art is an act of courage”. His explanation went along the lines of being judged by your piers by what you consider good regardless of what they think, searching within to find what really moves you. He’s bought some pieces that have appreciated in value and his friends told him that they wished that they would have bought those paintings back when they were looking at them. What they are too stupid to realize or shallow to admit, is that by saying that, means they don’t think/feel for themselves or that beauty is candy coated in dollar signs. It’s not that I’m bad at selling art, it’s that selling art without selling one’s soul is a near impossibility. Selling apples to zombies takes some strong magic.
Art that doesn’t have an “established value” is a terrible investment. All of my friends that own my work jokingly tell me that they can’t wait until I’m dead, so that they’ll finally be rich. I reluctantly inform them that the odds are that if I were to die right now the paintings would not go up in value, quite the opposite. If a critical mass doesn’t wake up to the genius I put on canvas and create a feedback loop of subjectively ever increasing value, my paintings will loose value. As one “Sutton” after the other finds it’s way to the trash heap, my name will get fainter and fainter and I will end up disappearing from the society’s memory like most everyone else. That’s life. Life is more than the car you drive, the vacations you’ve taken, more than your baby rabbits, more than the home you own, more than how big your wife’s tits are, and more than legacy. History is written by the winners and the masters are declared by the rich. In the end, truth is what lasts forever.
Life is about seeking truth, making magic, giving love, and recognizing beauty with your own eyes.