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Why I am an Independent Artist

Being an independent artist means I’m a lesser known Artist in our region that is well known in Ontario for its very active Art Community.

I don’t have a home gallery available to the public (yet) to be able to be part of the well known annual Studio Tour. I’m not hanging in any local multi artist galleries that are scattered about The County between the well know and highly toured wineries this area is so popular for.

Why, you ask?

Because I can’t afford to participate. Plain and simple.

The Studio Tour requires your own home gallery, or to be a guest artist at another artist’s home gallery to be a part of it, and then a large fee is required to be a participant.

Currently we are repairing our 180 year old home to keep it livable, so there are no funds for me to renovate our workshop and have a Home Gallery space open to the public.

Multi artist/artist run galleries also require a membership fee as high as $700 a year locally-for the privileged of being accepted and hung there, and being widely seen.

I am a stay at home caregiver/wife to my husband of 17 years who has a chronic pain and severe fatigue illness- and I am mother to our two kids, who are home schooled due to having special needs with SPD and ASD.

Our life circumstances see us living very frugally and scraping to get by on my husband’s small work disability pension. We are creative and resourceful, so we are ok, though we are living well below the poverty level cut off for Canada. But we are blessed with a roof and four walls, albeit drafty ones, that house us and we have food in our fridge and a place we own, and call home.

We grow a large garden and can vegetables for the winter, and keep backyard chickens for eggs. We enjoy the free rural life of walks, bike rides and beach combing, swimming & canoeing in the millpond, and fun family picnics at the lake, and we utilize our amazing free and resourceful library, as entertainment.

I collect, cut and chop our own firewood to heat the house through our long winters because we have to to stay warm with soaring hydro costs.

We do things like make our own wild apple cider to enjoy at home. We rarely go out to eat, attend events or festivals our region is well known for because of our finances. Our internet connection, taking the kids to a few movies a year on Tuesdays while we are in the city for shopping anyway and attending our annual local fall fairs is our sole entertainment budget.

We live in one of the most sought out destinations in Ontario for extravagant food and wine and lavish summer vacationing, yet we cannot afford to partake in much of what our adopted home has to offer in culture ourselves.

So, as an artist, affording to be in a local gallery or in the Studio Tour is out of my reach, and most likely always will be. For a long time I stopped creating anything due to the defeated feelings I had over it all.

I don’t tell you this as a sob story, or as a “hey, buy my art, I’m literally a starving artist.” And, goodness knows I’ve made people feel awkward with my openness in the past about being financially poor by society measures. But I am who I am, and I’m neither embarrassed by it, nor willing to hide it to make others comfortable, and I won’t pretend to be someone I’m not.

I tell you all this- for one, so that you appreciate that much of the art you see available to purchase in our region is priced as it is due to the need for the artist to afford the promotion of their art in those galleries/events. Marketing is half the cost of a canvas when you purchase art. And, also, I tell you this so you understand why I decided to not charge as much for mine and why I remain an independent artist.

My fellow County artists are wonderful artists with amazing works to offer, and they are worth the price they charge. But I have a hard time charging similar for my art.

as such, in the world of art, mine is not as valued as much simply because it is not hanging in a public gallery, and therefore you don’t know my name, and my Artist CV is short. All things considered the clout of an artist that establishes the prices their art can demand in our society. It’s just how the game is played.

I tell you this to remind you that the price tag does not make the art valuable.

That you enjoy looking at it and want it hanging in your home is what makes it valuable.

I don’t create art because I just want to, I create art because I have to.
If I go too long without creating art and getting absorbed in the process, I feel unsatisfied and melancholy about life. I have always had a need to release the energy within me onto a canvas of some kind, in order to feel at peace. My canvases are rocks and old barn boards and cheap dollar store canvases. My brushes are not the best of the trade, and my acrylic paints are cheap dollar store paints, because it is what I can afford. Even my digital artwork starts on computer paper with crayola markers and pencil crayons.

But when I am working on my art, none of that matters, and the energy and joy I get from it is priceless.

I am at home with my family almost 24/7. Art is my escape.

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Twyla Tharp said- Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.In my case, that is true.

My love of colour and the act of creating art, is a zen like working meditation for me. I create because it calms me, and makes me happy, and I enjoy making others happy with my art as well when I share it.

Being independent allows me to work how I want and when I can. Not out of membership obligation to get out a minimum number of canvases per year to remain a member, whether they sell or not. As is the case with most all galleries and artist run spaces available to artists to display their work to the world.

There are times I literally cannot afford the canvas and more paints, never mind membership fees. That is one of the things that influenced my turning to digital art.

I already had the camera, scanner and computer programs due to my husband’s former career he had to be force retired from due to his illness.

Digital art allows me to still be creative and make art that begs to be born from within me, and I can offer it online for sale through my StoreEnvy site, should someone love it enough to want to purchase it.

I only need to print a limited edition when one is purchased, rather than spending the very limited funds we have, ahead of a sale, creating that art and chancing canvases and frames sitting in the workshop getting dusty, because I cannot afford to show them anywhere.

So, please remember- when you support an independent artist who’s work you like, you are truly supporting that artist, and showing them that what you hang on your wall is there because you love it, not because of it’s price tag or well known name behind it.

Buy art you LOVE, no matter where it came from. You may be helping create a well known name down the road, and if not… at the very least, you are showing that artist appreciation for the actual art you buy, not buying prestige from who you purchase to hang on your wall.

Did you know that In 1893 Edward Munch created  his world famous painting The Scream with tempera paint on cardboard!

 

 

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