I had a phone call today from a Japanese antiques dealer asking if I could meet one of his clients who is interested in my bowls. Unfortunately I missed the phone call and only found out because he called my cellular phone and I called him back.
When I started out selling work I make I focused exclusively on selling to galleries. I did that for a number of years and found out I don’t have the right attitude for that type of selling. It was a very difficult and trying process to fully understand that what most people selling any kind of art strive for was neither interesting nor rewarding to me. The experience led down many paths and many revelations. One is the theory I have of people whose physical image and presentation of themselves doesn’t match the line of work they are in. I sometimes see or meet someone in daily life doing some job and there is a tremendous mismatch between the job they are doing and both the way they present themselves and their physical appearance. An example I saw today is of Aaron Neville singing ‘Step Right Up’,
I like both him and the song but there seems to be a basic mismatch between what I expect the voice, content of the song, and his appearance to be. I don’t know which part of the equation is the mismatch for me but I have had more experiences than I care to remember of Japanese gallery owners either asking me to come to their gallery or they coming to my house to talk about them carrying my work which in most cases they were already familiar with. My ‘image’ and my work has been cited more times than I can remember as to why the relationship wouldn’t go anywhere. Basic mismatch.
I decided some years ago to sell my work through venues other than galleries and have turned down all gallery show offers for the past several years and also a couple of newspaper or magazine interviews. Only because they, the interviews, were in Japan/Japanese and I no longer, for the most part, hawk my wares in Japan. The learning process of how to sell the work I make (I have never stopped making and firing work even though I now only spend 2 and 1/2 hours a day in my studio) has been long and I still have a long way to go. These small successes are very sweet to me. Much more than I can really relay.
Here are the bowls from my last firing that have been bought by Japanese antiques dealers.