The streets of metropols mean people there and coming over. If the weather is good, a day with no especial plan in hectic Manhattan or sunny Malaga is full of walkers to see.
In 2013, I stopped having traditional gallery exhibitions. The only one I have now in 2017 said ´yes´to, is a group art show in New York in 2018. It is for cancer treatment preventions cause. If I present my works these days at galleries, the owner has a some good cause involved.
My debute was in 1998. I was practically (as then yet self-taught) found from the street as I went into the gallery by pure luck. It was the right door. The place is even these days my adviser and a trusted arts expert, which are in the few. It was the only exhibition which I got a grant to as well. After, things were not so easy.
Publicity begun and my past as a radio broadcaster helped as I could as a painter answer the journalist. I knew how to get near people I needed to find and soon had exposure in my home country. This time lasted until around 2006 as I then run out of steam and funds.
A one exhibition costs about 2000-3000 euros in Finland. At the same time as I finally refused to keep another costly show in around 2013, ended also my membership in the Arts Union.
1998-2006 was a time of hard work. As an artist, I payed to galleries for exhibitions and promotion twice a year, but ended up standing alone on the street with my non sold art works. Debt came and in between art shows, I self sold my art to pay the costs of gallery bills. Even cautious, the clever talk of a new gallerist convinced me that this time we will sell and it will cover the costs. A one artist as drunk muttered a sarcastic joke of his gallerist charging for guarding the space walls.
In the last 4 years, I have made agreements for totally new art cooperations. Street art ideas, travels and no gallery shows. I choose cafe´s, firm spaces, speeches and the internet.
The people are on the streets, at firms, in audience listening to shows and TED talks and most use the internet. The galleries in my home city are more quiet.
In New York in 2015, my arts idea was to make a street art project, where an art poster would be set on the pavement. This caused interesting reactions, as the huge metropol had emotionally to some point cleaned up after the horrid impact of the attack years back. The streets of Manhattan were tidy and safe. But the emotions still had fear of the unknown. This was the root of the reactions as all I did was set a one poster in front.
My arts idea was to spontaneously put the one and the same poster on the ground in front of who happened to appear. I said not a word and looked at the person in the eye – and just set the poster at their feet. Some stepped over it. Some giggled. Others walked away with arrogance and some avoided me.
A one lady grabbed the poster furiously on Park Avenue from a doorway pavement and went into the office building to yell at the guards for not doing their job. I quickly run into the building to ease the poor men from their fright of possibly being in trouble at work. “It is a street art project! It is just an art poster.” They laughed with release. And I was stunned of how easy it could be to cause a commotion at an environment where fear of an intrusion to the secure was still present.
I gave free posters to locals on buses, restaurants and hotels.
Free feel from the passive attitude of a Finnish gallery made me happy. I had posters in my back pack and rode the buses, as I could see the view more than down the underground. Local bus was handy as its route went from my hotel near Broadway all the way up to North Manhattan.
A week in New York was a happy artists time. I felt no sadness nor loneliness of a gallery disappointing me after 6 months of hard work. Usually after a crowded arts opening, came such silence that only the roses kept my fatigue company. A night of trying to answer all visitors at the same time ended usually up into some drunken Finn insulting my persona for no apparent reason but for just being there in front. In the late hours I arrived home through cold snow and the next day woke up with a feeling of being robbed again along around 15 peaces of my souls deepest expression on the gallery walls.
The arts clients are beginning to be aware of the imbalance of the cost flow between the artists and a gallery- cooperation. Many often ask where is your studio, I will rather visit to see the paintings there. They know that the tax man is the only one taking a cut there.
A commission from sales is a good plan. But to pay 3000 euros to a cooperator who insults you, makes you feel lonely and gets no sales is merely masocism. My wisdom to say the final no came quite late, but happiness has been huge for the last years as new cooperators and travels make my artists life feel the joyous colours again.
In photos here, a little tourist wanted to save a one poster from the wind on Brooklyn Bridge in Spring 2015 and kind latin street cleaners felt respect after finding something else than trash. The girl was amazed to get an arts poster as a free gift and the men were happy someone saw them as people as I stopped to chat for a moment. I got a great photo of both moments in return as these sweet people connected to my art idea and then made it deep.
These shots were the main art of this art project for a week. It was sort of an artsy social situations study as the reactions varied from contempt and rejection to delight and fun.
I felt alive in daily strolls. With just posters in my bag.
#newyorkart #streetart #artposters #Manhattanart