Little Birds Will Have To Do -- For Now

Here is the reason why you have not heard from us for a while and why BUCHANART has been dark. 

There are an infinite number of creative, talented artists who are creating masterpieces today. They will be the Picasso's or Van Gough's of tomorrow -- that is, if they market their works, and enhance public awareness about their artistry. If they don’t actively market their work, it will continue to gather dust in their studios. 

In other words, the adage "if you build it they will come," is nothing but an empty platitude. It’s based on the silly principle that if you just hope hard enough, the world will discover your talent.  

Phooey! Hope is not a strategy for success.

How many groundbreaking novels, paintings, dance performances, or poetry works have never been discovered because the creative author just did not have the skill, energy or resources to get their work out in the universe. (We will never know the answer because the works were born and died in the studio). 

According to Scoopwhoop, there are plenty of  artists who died before their works gained popular recognition, like “Vincent Van Gogh who only sold one painting during his lifetime. It sold for the equivalent of approximately $109. After his demise, around 2000 pieces of his art were discovered which are valued in millions today. The works of Emily Dickinson that described her personal thoughts on death, mortality and nature only came to light after her death in 1886. Franz Kafka, the German language writer never lived to enjoy fame, as publishers wouldn’t accept his work and no one took him seriously during his lifetime. Now considered as the most influential existentialist writer of the 20th century, Franz Kafka never received fame when he was alive.”

Thus I argue that it takes just as much skill to get art promoted and into the public domain, as the skill it takes to create masterful art work. My adage is, “If you promote it, they will come!” Creating art is simply just not enough these days. 

Given that BUCHANART is a one-man, one woman operation (he’s the artist, I am the businessperson) I am grateful for the limited success we have had (like getting media coverage, surpassing the 4k mark for one painting, being in several galleries, selling art to Anne Hathaway and other celebs — like the owners of Philippe's Sandwiches in Los Angeles who bought one of Pete’s waves. We, quite frankly, were more starstruck by the Sandwich Gods than any Hollywood personality who purchased his paintings. I even fantasized about the notion of a future trade. Can you imagine a lifetime supply of unlimited Philippe’s Famous French Dip Sandwiches for a Chopstick Drip Painting? Hold up, get the hot mustard!

Our work together as copreneurs has been fun as it has been exciting. Yet, I would be lying to you if I told that it was all good. Our marketing has hit a speed bump. Without getting into the ugly details, I can tell you that it is difficult work to help manage and sustain an artist’s career. And right now, I am kind of spent, hence the infrequent promotions.  

Pete and I come from different orbits — no more like galaxies. I am left-brain dominant, he is right-brain free. I thrive on envisioning the path, he lives in the moment, for the moment. I observe what paintings people are buying and encourage him to paint “top sellers,” and he longingly looks forward to the day he can paint with freedom, more from his heart, and less from the necessities of life. I show up to our board meetings in the living room with a calendar, lists of art shows, and notes on possible opportunities, and he lets out a long sigh, and groggily asks what I want to talk about. Here is the G-rated version of what often happens at a BUCHANART marketing meeting. 

“Hey, the art winery in Paso Robles wants us for two shows,” I explain after just getting off the phone and negotiating a deal with them. “Will you have some more big pieces completed by then?”  

“Sure, whatever,” he replies. “Did you feed Roxy?” (our dog.)

“Yes, I did.”

“Okay, got to go,” he says as he gets up. 

“Hey wait,” I say, asking him to spare a few seconds for our marketing meeting.  

“About the paintings for Paso Robles. I am thinking you can paint some big gnarly trees with neck-choking tendrils. The little colorful birds are cute and all — but they got no edge. What happened to your edge?” I ask. 

He furrows his brow, and purses his lips. “This is all I got now in me with everything going on. You don’t understand me. I am surprised I can even paint this.”

He leaves. Meeting over. 

Was it the comment I made about losing his edge? Was it my insistence to initiate a marketing meeting when he is only on his first cup of coffee? Yet, our home is the office. This is what a work-life studio encompasses — there is no separation between business and home. Perhaps that is part of the problem. Sometimes I seem to forget that the energy surrounding an artist can have profound implications on the creative process, hence the proliferation of little bird paintings in the studio. (They seem to bring tranquility amid life stressors). I guess these little bird paintings will have to do for now. 

In the meantime, I will try to figure out what we can do to keep Pete’s work in the public’s eye in a way that is healthy for the business and ourselves. I can’t fathom the thought that his work (which is essentially a new genre that pushes drip art beyond its confines of abstract expressionism) will only gain popularity after he is long gone. I am exploring the idea of having a third party professional join us who can help promote the art, given the fact that this duo’s galaxies are colliding. 

And such is the fabric of our life. Highs, lows and art in between. Our lack of art promotion does not mean that Pete is not fervently producing new pieces, it's more of a function that his co-pilot is low on gas. 

Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment on this article, or give us input on how we could better share the Chopstick Drip Painting story. Of course, we appreciate you sharing Pete’s work with others -- as it takes a village. We hope to see you in Truckee on June 1st at Riverside Studios for our first show of the season.