I set aside a few hours this week to visit galleries/folk art stores in my area. Seattle is crawling with galleries, open the yellow pages (when you can find them these days) and you'll find page after page from West Seattle to the waters of Lake Washington, from SoDo to Northgate. So, I picked a few and visited. Some observations so far -
1. I am not comfortable in galleries. I spend most of my art existence with other artists, reading about other artists, online looking at art, in museums or through having studied art history. I have never really been a creature of the gallery scene, unless passing by and looking at cool things in the window counts. Being a person from modest means, I have always regarded galleries as places rich people go - I feel like a barbaric invader when I enter some of these places.
2. In some of the galleries there's a tendency to have rather oppressive, large pieces hanging high above, which makes me feel I am about to be crushed by something very modern and avant-garde. At least I will die fashionable.
3. I am starting to figure out that Seattle is not into color. Whatever accounts for taste in color likes cream, gray and certain blues. Orange, red, turquoise and spring greens are not welcome - if they are invited, they will be found in a back area or on the notecard rack, their racy contents tastefully half hidden by envelopes. Apparently Seattle killed the color wheel and replaced it with neutrals.
4. The tendency of a gallery to set up in a narrow space. I guess maybe when a new gallery owner looks for real estate they drop the r in gallery and look for a galley. Because, after all, nothing is better for your customer than when they bend over and catch their bum on the sharp edge of a projecting sculpture.
5. New age music. I am generally not a fan of it, especially not moaning voices and chimes. With the acoustics of some buildings, it sounds like bad plumbing and someone trying to get a penny out of a coke bottle with a butter knife.
6. Pretentious setting for art that is beautiful on its own. I feel bad for the art and the artists in these settings. It's as if the gallery owner says "SCREW THE ART, LOOK AT MY DECOR!!!!111!!! I AM SO KEWL!!"
7. Next to the smelliest restaurant in town. Victims of circumstance, these galleries smell delicious, but you have the impression that anyone who buys a canvas or any cloth art will live the rest of their natural life with a house scented with the #8 dinner special.
8. Folk Art stores - they're the most cluttered and crazy places. Now, these are the sorts of galleries where my work sells, so I am always attentive to them BUT they are incredibly chaotic, with bits and pieces of stuff that erupt from walls and any spare shelf space. You could go crazy in any one of these places! There's one shop with pottery next to cloth dolls, organic face cream, bonzai fertilizer and jewelry. O.O
9. Flat art only. These make me sad since I am a sculptor. Paintings only and weirdly two of these so far had by far the nicest and chattiest owners. Wish I could paint.