Friday, 26 June 2009

Exhibition rewind

Tom Bush, Untitled, Acrylics on Canvas, 20x20cm


Last Wednesday we finally took down the Eldon Group exhibition after four weeks. If you remember - we got a two week extension. Here a few thoughts on past and future...

1. Preparation and logistics.
Second time rounds are so much easier. So we had a good idea of what needed doing and we pretty much kept the division of labour as we had before: S-J organised the flyer and did much of the marketing; I saw to getting postcards, organising communication between all involved and with the gallery. All of this worked pretty well. In particular the communication with the people in charge of the gallery space went a lot smoother. We probably should have had a more concerted effort to get our flyers in key locations. Setting up on the day before rather than the afternoon before was by far the better way of doing this.

2. Opening event, opening times and location
We had a good turnout for the opening event. Interestingly, very few of the people that I thought would come, turned up but others instead. Last year, many of my colleagues came along - it being 4pm on a Friday afternoon made for a convenient end of the week with drinks. The first two weeks of the show were still during term time which gave better access to the gallery space in evenings and Saturday mornings (but not over Bank Holiday). The opening times and the location are still the main weakness of the event though - the space itself works very well (though the hanging system is fiddly and the lighting is a bit sparse).

3. Who visited and who bought
While most of my colleagues didn't make the opening, the people who came actually bought art. We sold 6 or 7 pieces on the first night. And Tom and I sold pieces after that. All the later sales actually happened when I took people I knew (colleagues or friends) along. - I am only realising this now. Interesting. So, I sold around 10 pieces - all of them prints, mixed media or pastel drawings. And the people who bought all knew me personally, some of them had in fact bought some of my stuff beforehand. They knew me either through work or the art classes. Our visitor's book did get a much wider number of comments from people either working in the building or also coming to see the show. In fact, every time I was there during the first two weeks, there were other people there too. - Which I found rather encouraging for the location it's in.

4. And what do I think other than all of the above?
Well - despite the prep and logistic going well, it still took up an enormous amount of time - probably 50hrs or so in the weeks leading up to it. So my evenings and weekends were fully devoted to the preps. It's quite enjoyable but rather overwhelming when doing in addition to other things. That also meant that I wasn't able to make much use of the two-week extension: at that point work was so busy that I didn't even manage a group email to announce it, let alone follow up some earlier expressions of interest or distribute another round of flyers. We had discussed asking some of the galleries nearby to come along also, but again that didn't happen due to lack of time. I only had three paintings framed professionally, which proved the right decision. I framed prints in clip frames, which I like esthetically BUT: that was one of the most time-consuming jobs, they look easy but clearly AREN'T!). Everything I sold was sitting in the portfolios on tables rather than hanging on the wall. I do really want to 'lose' some of the framed paintings though - no space for them. But other than that, I'm very pleased with having sold several pieces, and my right decision to include many of the lower priced pieces - in particular the linocuts were popular.

5. And next?
Two proposals to be done: one for in three years, one for in two years. And next year the St Andrews Gallery again. I'm surprised what 'continuity' emerged with a second time round - people kept referring to last year's show. The Eldon Group does have a nice wee space of existence and that spaces feels rather comfortable and friendly. That's one of the best outcomes from this year's show. It's also nice that my friends and colleagues are rather taken with Tom's paintings - as am I.

Like with the one above. - It also acquired a new title (but don't tell Tom): Pandora's Box. Just like this one of Tom's is now The One who Got Away.

Tom Bush, Untitled, Acrylics on Canvas, 20x20cm

PS: the blog is having its own mind at the moment
(as it in fact had most of the week so far;
i.e. I'm generally neither here nor there
and now on way to Bristol and Bath for the weekend)
... not that you think I am ignoring your many comments :)
Have a very good weekend.

1 comment:

cathsheard said...

Isn't it interesting that people refer back to the previous exhibition. Makes me wonder what happens if you do the same things for a few years in a row? I guess you start to establish a brand, like Twinnings or Cadbury - but in a smaller way of course ;-)