Mar 30 2014
My blog was completely deserted after moving from Portland to Oakland two years ago. I guess it stands to reason that I was preoccupied with resettling into a new environment, then with running my business in the high-rent district that is the Bay area. Most of my time was consumed with creating my line of art-jewelry and prints, making connections with stores, filling orders, and staying on top of business concerns. I realized soon after landing in the bay that stores were less receptive to being directly approached than they were to finding me at a wholesale show, so I put a lot of energy into learning the ins-and-outs of that market while I continued to do juried street shows as well as “guerilla vending”. It’s been a good experience, and I’ve learned a great deal about retail and wholesale marketing, and what it takes to maintain a profitable art business.
After pushing pretty hard at getting established in the market, and gaining a lot of new accounts, I started to feel a bit dissatisfied at the fact that my personal artwork had taken a backseat to the commercial end of my art. I craved having more time for painting, but the demands of making a living made it difficult for me to refocus my priorities. My personal situation also changed, in that a 10-year relationship collapsed in Oakland. I have no regrets regarding the energy put into either the relationship or the business. Life lessons can be difficult to go through at times, but once you’ve completely stepped through the door of big changes, the energy needed to refocus and move into your new life is realized.
I decided that during this time of big personal changes it would be a good idea to regroup emotionally by moving to Ukiah, California… to be close to my sister who lives here. I’ve spent a little over a month so far getting my new living situation and studio set up, exploring the natural environs, and applying for college-teaching jobs in the area. I miss teaching and being in an educational environment where I can mentor younger artists while staying focused on my own inspiration as well. We’ll see how the applications pan out before I decide if I’m going to hang up the business or not. So far, I’m still getting enough wholesale orders to keep me fairly busy (without advertising or contacting my stores). Not having to do both the wholesale and retail shows gives me a little more time to catch up with my own priorities. I admit I do miss walking around Lake Merritt just a bit, but I’m liking the more naturous environment and the slower pace of life here. I’ve started some collages and have lots of painting ideas in my head that are ready to pour out (after doing my taxes).