This year, I’m entering two paintings in the Linden Gallery’s postcard exhibition. I entered last year, and was blown away when someone actually bought one of my paintings! Astonished that someone would hand over their hard-earned for my daubs.
The exhibition is open to everyone, the only restriction being that the pieces have to be 30 x 30cm or less. I did wonder what the quality of work would be like, but in fact it was very high. The variety of pieces was fascinating, and the different ways that people had embraced the small format.
Here are my entries for this year. Please don’t laugh too hard.
The abstract is a representation of different colours I’ve seen in particular landscapes, and overlaid with interventions – they might be people passing through, fire events or even fenceposts.
The other is a portrait of the tattoo artist Lyle Tuttle. It’s done all in colour (no black within his face), and in pointillist style to reflect the movement of a tattoo needle. The borders show flash on skin.
I suppose it would be quite appropriate to draw a parallel between this exhibition and Indie publishing. In both cases, the artists and writers do it for the love, rather than the money (usually!), and yet we choose to bare our souls and share that work with a wider audience. Does that make us overly self important exhibitionists? The old phrase “vanity publishing” would suggest so.
However, I would suggest that perhaps there is something more democratic at work. The Linden exhibition allows people who are not full time artists to show their works, in the same way that indie publishing allows people who are not full time authors to share their writing with the world. The good stuff will hopefully be well received. Either way, the public are allowed to choose which work they like, free of the conventions and prejudices of professional critics and publishing houses.
For me, I think it is also perhaps something of an act of bravado – a challenge to somewhat introverted self to lay myself open to a wider audience. It’s not an easy thing to do, unless you have a thick skin. I recall strongly the first time I did a dance solo, in front of about 350 people. I was absolutely terrified beforehand, but regardless of how it was received, afterwards I was proud that I had been able to do it. It’s a great feeling to challenge yourself and rise to that challenge.
How about you? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts about these subjects. Are Indie authors and artists just blowing their own trumpet?