Ken Harrison 6:41 p.m., Dec. 12
Being an artist in 2011 is really difficult. A few years ago quite a few great galleries on Grand avenue closed up shop. Robert Wright, Lillian Berkley Collection, Shiva, and artist co-op gallery building to name a few. When the economy dries up, the first things to get funding cuts are the arts. Just this past week I read in the paper that the city is no longer funding the Escondido Municipal Gallery on Grand, which happens to be the only place still open that is showing my work right now. I was in three other galleries, (Shiva in Escondido) from Encinitas to Coronado and they all went out of business.
Over the years in an effort at self promotion, I have held open studio tours in the spring and fall, the last week of April and the first week of December. Some of my artist friends also do this and we sometimes band together to make a studio tour event in the hopes of generating a bigger buzz. We used to get newspaper features, photos, magazine articles, at least community news listings, but the sour economy has taken a toll on newspapers and that is happening less and less. Paying for advertising is more costly than our shows are able to produce back, so we are left to be creative about how to get the word out about our unique community free events. I think there needs to be one place where the community can place free listings about events, of all kinds, so people would know one place to look. The internet is fantastic for this, but there are so many places that post events, you would have to know what you want to do or see and google it, just finding it by accident is still pretty hard. There have been so many times people ask me about the studio show only to learn it was last week or just never hear about it and really want to know about things like that happening.
A big part of doing art, is to get it out there and be able to dialogue about it. I appreciate it when people are interested enough to come over and take a look. The feedback is important to me in my process of creation. I think it's also interesting for buyers and browsers to see where an artist creates. One of the things I look for when traveling is art shows at an artists home or studio, it makes understanding their art more complex to see their environment. When people come to my studio they can see the hills all around which are in most of my paintings. Even though I am painting scenes of Spain or Tuscany even Maui, a lot of the imagery is right from my backyard.