Jeffrey Gitomer. Ever heard of him? Him of the “little books.” (Jeffrey, if you stumble upon this: Thank you.) I’ve been reading the green and black books. (His aficionados know what I mean. Others click here.)
Anyway. He says on page 47 of the Green book, “When a customer says, I’m not interested, what he really means is You are not interesting. He … is never going to say You are not interesting. He … will take the blame himself, and say, I am not interested.” I had a dealer say recently that he liked “the direction my work was taking.” I now realize what he was really saying has very little to do with “my work,” and was more along the lines of Jeffrey’s “You are not interesting.” Translation: We don’t know you ourselves. We’ve never heard of you. No one we know is talking about you. And we are not in the mood to take a risk on someone unknown. But the paintings are nice.
These objections (that’s a technical term) do not please me! First off: my “work.” A hem. I paint. Painting is a traditional discipline (distinquishable from sculpture, drawing, violin playing, carpet weaving, etc.) Work is not a discipline. Work is a little too artsy and vague. The old masters did not make “works.” They painted pictures. They made pictures of mythological scenes, landscapes, crucifixions, women in pretty dresses, insects crawling around in bouquets, horses and ballet dancers, skies and treasured objects and symbolic things. Goodness, even Richard Diebenkorn was a painter.
I think the dealer was keeping the door open a little crack, just in case my name comes up (and it will). I am also keeping the door open a little crack, too. For now, though, I am a better representative of what I do because of my rather intense awareness of and contact with the past. Until the art world begins to participate once again in the larger, older, richer, more daring and vibrant traditions of painting, I think I need to represent myself. Some. Until I’m a “name.” Then he’ll call me. And I’ll like the direction his work is taking. Perhaps.
[A note to the painters: we must not be sheep.]