Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The story of "Two Birds…"

The artists' reception for the "Small Works 5" exhibition at Kirkland Art Center in Clinton was really nice. It was nice to meet the other artists and the event was well-attended. Someone bought my piece entitled "Two Birds, with One Stoned". For those of you who follow this blog periodically, you might remember this piece. There are SO many little stories that this piece "tells", it was bittersweet for me to let this one go. It has had an interesting history.
I did this piece on April 20, 2013. The numbers "4-20" have some pot reference for some of the "hippie types" out there (and thus the allusion in the title). I had been experiencing a "dry spell" with my work and thought that perhaps I had done all that I had to offer in terms of "good" collages. I had had the guy's head as an element for weeks (months?) and had experimented placing it in various compositions (see below, for example). I really liked the gray value and I really appreciated the facial expression and head turn. I was afraid that he was a "famous star" though. I really try to avoid famous faces in my work. I sent off an image to my cousin Dan Sanders, who is a vintage movie expert. He assured me that he didn't know. I felt "safe" using the image.
This past summer, I submitted this piece to the annual regional show at "View" in Old Forge. I was reminded sternly when I wrote out the check that it is "View", NOT "The View". It's ironic, for folks who need to be so precise with the check, that they mis-labelled my piece as "Two Birds with One Stone". I printed the title carefully THREE times on the submission forms for the show. I mentioned this to a friend who is somewhat "in the know" about the organization. She seems to think that it was an intentional change to avoid the mildly "provocative" title. My friend Dan Buckingham was a juror at the show and I thought he would like the piece. As it turns out, it won "First Place - Mixed Media" in the exhibit. Of course, I was hoping that Dan didn't "bestow" this award on me because of our friendship (I really didn't think that he would do that, but…). I was able to ask him directly a month or so ago and he assured me that he didn't even know it was mine. That's cool. I had to have my brother Bill pick-up the piece when the show was over (I was out of town). He was tickled when people reacted so positively about his brother's work when the retrieved it.
This piece was also part of my show in September at The Dev in Utica, NY. It was placed well in the exhibit and folks really seemed to like it. It's interesting to me (and I feel very lucky as well) that when I do a piece that I think is going to be a "hit", it is generally well-received by "the public". I remember vividly the night of April 20th when I completed the piece. I was SO happy about it! I felt that I finally was out of my collage "dry spell", and I just knew this was going to be a well-liked work. I actually spent more money than I usually do to mat and frame the work, because I wanted to "treat it well". I had overpriced the piece a bit at The Dev, because I was "saving it" for the Kirkland Arts Center exhibit. Even with the price up, it almost sold.
When I received the postcard announcing the KAC exhibit, I noticed that the title of the piece had been changed (again) to "Two Birds with One Stone". Argh… I don't do cliche! I consider my titles (at least for most of my works) to be integral to the artwork itself. Fortunately, I was able to notify the folks at KAC and they did change title card for the piece in the exhibit. Several people expressed their interest in buying the piece… and then the "dot" went up. It had sold.
Such stories for such a modest piece! I love it. And now it's sold. I still feel bittersweet about it. But once again, my journey in the world of art has provided me with an enriched life.

1 comment:

  1. It's so irritating when art show organisers get your title wrong! So pleased that you've now sold the piece...I loved it. (and the title). I agree that titles are very important...and I try to choose them very carefully.