The Fifth Newfoundlander
The Fifth Newfoundlander
oil on canvas
24x30"
2015
By Graham Matthews

Artists living in cities and larger centres have many advantages over artists abiding in small towns and isolated villages. Art galleries often are commonplace in urban areas. There are also more opportunities for artists, such as residencies, art grants, art associations, art clubs, studio space and artist events. More artists in these locations means a better chance of of meeting other artists, gallery owners and curators. Of course, the biggest benefit of living in a city is access to a larger group of regular art buyers and patrons.


Possibilities Graham Matthews
Possibilities
oil on canvas
24x30"
2015
By Graham Matthews


But, what if you're an artist living in a small town and the nearest art gallery is hundreds of miles away - and lack of money is the issue which prevents you from accessing these locations? What do you do?

I am in exactly that situation. I live in a small town in western Newfoundland. There are no art galleries for hundreds of miles. The art community here is virtually nonexistent. Even though many around here love seeing my art, they generally do not want to buy it. When I have tried lowering my prices far below what I am comfortable with, they still usually do not sell (I'm not doing that anymore, by the way). Occasionally, I do receive art commissions and sell originals, though not a lot.

Little Horse Whisperer
Little Horse Whisperer
oil on canvas
16x20
2015
By Graham Matthews


I know this sounds depressing, but I continue painting despite all this. I continue creating art because I feel I have to. It's one of the only times I feel complete. It makes me feel powerful (at the time) and gives me confidence. I love to paint, and am not willing to ever give it up. Painting is like an addiction for me - but a good one.

I have posted many of my artworks online - on my Facebook page and at my website, Graham Matthews Art. I love all the feedback and encouragement I receive. It does help me to keep going.

Storm Approaching LaScie
Storm Approaching La Scie
oil on canvas
24x30
2016
By Graham Matthews


But, I still want something more. I desire more people enjoying my art, whether they want to buy it or just view it. For this reason, I am now looking into opening my own art gallery and studio close to where I live. Of course this will depend on whether I get the funding.

Twilight Graham Matthews
Twilight
16x20
oil on canvas
2016
By Graham Matthews


If you have experience in this area, or just some encouragement you would like to share, please comment below or contact me by email at gmatthews9 @ gmail dot com (without the spaces). If all goes well, I am hoping to share some good news on this in a future post.








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  1. I live in a small village in the Norwegian mountains, so I definitely know what you're talking about :) I sell about 3-4 pieces a year.

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  2. Best of luck to you and do keep on creating your art. Am sure having one's own gallery will mean more people find you and see your art close up. Whether they buy or not is always a question. Owning/running your own gallery will also take time away from your time to paint, unless you have a volunteer to be at your gallery some of the hours or limit your hours there.
    I also grew up in a small town (on a farm actually) however in time moved closer to a larger city. Does provide more in many ways.
    With the computer/internet and web sites, blogs and more today you do already reach a larger audience. It is rewarding however to see/meet people directly who can see your art and often express their opinions. So the best of good wishes with the gallery idea. MJOA

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  3. My husband is an artist also, we are from the southwest suburbs of Chicago and I can tell you this,,when we did have our studio in the city, it was not only amazing, but as you said we had SO many more resources! Many more events and more opportunity to network with people! Our studio was in the Arts district of Chicago at Cermak and Canalport. Coming from the much smaller town of Romeoville,Il this seemed to good to be true to get to show his art to such large audiences. But we couldnt afford it anymore with a family and bills to prioritize, so we closed the studio and he got into the roofers union. In many ways it felt like a "failure", like we didnt "make it" in the big city. But that couldnt be farther from the truth. We will take what we learned and use it with our future projects and ideas! Him getting into the union also gives us a steady income for bills and to fund his art! Just because were not in the big city anymore, or seemingly under so many more peoples radar, doesnt mean we will ever stop the dream! He wants to start a clothing line with his designs on them and so much more! Once we can afford the website and get our business going, being from a small town , as long as you have BIG ideas, doesnt seem so bad! It makes YOU, YOU! So we def understand this but in todays world of social networking its nice you can be part of something big!

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  4. Your paintings seem well suited for illustrating books. You might try to find out about resources in that field. Also if you can enter any arts and crafts shows, as I do.

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  5. yes Graham, you are absolutely right. I am living in a countryside area of West Bengal where people's have no idea what is painting and what to do with it. I am regretted to say that few of local artists who have no idea about the teaching process and they massed the career of few rising artists in my locality. I know a lot of young student artists who just stop their work and involved elsewhere in another jobs.Few of them came to me to learn more about painting and when I started to teach them in the right way as I learnt from my art college, other local artists prevented those students and pressurized them to stop learning from me! Only one student still learning from me. It is the local culture of our area. From 2013, I have been struggling to overcome my financial situation and now I just bounded to stop painting and have started digital painting, and photography. From last four years, I sold only two paintings, one purchased an art collector of India, and another in USA. Here is nothing any art gallery within 300 Km. just because it would be a loss investment. No one would like to purchase painting since they have no idea what to do in next. Someone asked me this way, - We purchase car because it helps me to reach faster to a place, we love to purchase varieties dress because it helps me to look better, we love to purchase gold, because it helps me to return more money. If all are yes, then let me know why we should purchase a painting? What it will gives us in return? I answered, It will gives you more in several ways. First of all, it will shows your passion and test to your friends, it will increase your social status, it will increase the beauty of your room that grab the attention of your visitors quickly, it will helps you to tell more about you without wasting words, and finally, yes, it will gives more money than you spent for that painting in return. I realized that he did not understand what I said.
    Fortunately, I got a chance to show my all paintings on a art gallery of Manhattan in next year without any cost except shipping charge and a art book publisher of Germany offered me to place my painting in their art catalog for free. From the bottom of my heart, I am thankful to those who understood my situation and want to help me to give a break.

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  6. I completely understand the need to paint and create. While the exposure from owning your own gallery is certainly one way to get out there. As Danielle S noted, it is an expensive way to go. BTW, absolutely NOT a failure to move out of a costly situation so that his art can thrive without stressing the bills. Kudos to you and hubs Danielle S. Also as maryOAart mentioned - time is usurped while running a gallery business. I personally have to sell A LOT of work to subsidize costs of art fairs and shows. To do this, I taught myself Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop so I could use my creativity to pick up gigs designing branding pieces. I draw house portraits for local real estate professionals, write articles and marketing content, went back to school for my MBA - truly, it is a 'scrappers' world. Many great articles out there on local US galleries closing quickly as opportunities grow exponentially globally. It really comes down to economics and tenacity - a willingness to create and dream while doing service drawing houses, scrubbing bar glasses, walking dogs, writing content, volunteering to an arts group, etc. Every small town offers enviable clarity and opportunity of a less obvious nature. It is up to each of us to seize it! Newfoundland is exquisite in its own right. I don't know if you are in/near St. John's but it has a fair amount of tourist trade. Tourism is a terrific place to focus. Get your art in tourist shops/restaurants/etc for the season if you aren't already there. Ask locals to hang your work in banks and businesses. If there is a free wall, do them a favor and hang your work!(be sure to have sale price and contact info) It takes bravery - but you are your brand. AND THAT is SPECIAL. Your brand is your business. Being an artist that feeds themselves part of the year, requires a business strategy for the whole year. Be your art business NOW! Grab attention in New Foundland! See if you can partner up with a pro photographer and put on a show at local brewery? Your gorgeous painting of La Scie matched with their photo. Just a few things that have worked for me here in the US and in a small town in Ireland. Hope this inspires you! I BELIEVE IN YOU Graham Matthews!

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