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170. The ART MARKET and the GFC


A sad story again this week in Adelaide with one of our most beloved art galleries shutting their doors after some 40 years in the art business.  This is the gallery I belonged to Greenhill Gallery and it has long been recognized as one of the most important exhibition spaces in South Australia and was established in 1972 by Veda Swain.  Russell Starke became the Director in 1988 and continued the tradition of showing great artists as well as giving promising new emerging artists a go.  The Global Financial Crisis has a lot to answer for as such a lot of different businesses  have gone bust not just art galleries.  Russell will be sorely missed by his artists and clients alike and we do certainly hope some sort of a deal can be worked out or that Russell has a second reincarnation and opens up another gallery when the market improves.

wall based sculpture-by-artist-marie-jonsson-harrison-called-Carrots-and-peas-if-you-please of people outside a pub drinking and smoking cigarettes and having fun

Artwork called Carrots and Peas if you please in ceramic and mosaic

The timing seems to be a little off however, as we are starting to come out of the downturn and sales are definitely picking up right across the board.  It makes me think if people can just hang on a little while longer they would reap the rewards.  Although in many cases that is just not possible I realize.


Take for instance the local Rotary of Victor Harbor Art Show which was recently on here in South Australia which this year sold an outstanding AUS $263,485 worth of art in just a few days.  It makes me think that there certainly is a lot more money about the place.  Although the patrons of such events are in general a little more conservative in the art they buy and stick to more traditional art of gum trees and beach scenes.


This wall-based sculpture is called “Carrot and Peas if you please” and made from handmade ceramic and mosaic.  It sold at one of the Greenhill exhibitions and was such a pleasure to make.  Of course I had to research the subject matter thoroughly, lol this goes without saying!  Although the smoking part was just by memory as I gave up cigarettes 20 years ago, and the Carrot and Peas part thankfully too (some things you learn with time, like whats your limit!) LOL


I wonder perhaps if people are a bit reluctant to buy from art galleries these days.  I know quite a few clients and just people in general have complained to me that art galleries often do not treat the average “just browsing” person with the respect and courtesy they should.  Many a time, I have been told how they felt belittled going into a fancy gallery and get the feeling they were looked down upon.  Perhaps it is a little like the scruffy, “down and out” looking millionaire who gets snubbed whilst looking at luxury cars.  Just another example of “Never judge the book by its cover “I think.


I wonder too if the galleries are doing less well now because so many artists have their own gallery so to speak by having a artists website?  I do know some people are reluctant still to buy art online but it seems to be moving forward even there.  People like to have a relationship with an artist or gallery, they want to feel that they matter and also that they are not being taken for a ride.  I have found that it takes a while to establish this trust and mutual respect.  It is also so very rewarding for an artist to be in contact with the clients themselves to get the feedback and the encouragement straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak.


Thanks to social networking this has now added an extra element whereby some of the people who comment regularly on my art have moved into a different category altogether and we have become friends.  In some cases I really hope we meet up in real life one of these days and as a matter of fact whilst I was in Europe last year I already did so in a few instances, which have been wonderful both on a business level and also in a personal rewarding way.


One aspect of viewing art online however is that most of the time the art looks so much better in real life.  So to have art galleries where you can view the art properly is so very important too.  People are often so surprised with my paintings for instance that the paint is really thick and the breast and bottoms on all my people actually stick out from the canvas and become quite tactile.  So that thankfully, has become a happy surprise when they buy my art online!


To me however to have art, artists, art galleries, artists friends and friends who like art is all very important.  We should all embrace and encourage each other to flourish and grow and let’s hope we have now come to the end of art galleries closing and are looking forward to a bright future together.

Here is a quote I think fits well here by Paul Strand;

“The artist’s world is limitless.  It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away.  It is always on his doorstep.”

Till next time, happy painting and sculpting to you all.

Love Marie xxx

Why not come and have a look at Marie Jonsson-Harrison’s PAINTINGS FOR SALEGICLEE PRINTS FOR SALE and SCULPTURES for sale or WALLBASED SCULPTURES.  Enjoy an original artwork on your walls or perhaps one on your bed ARTnBED.

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