When The Artist Becomes The Gallery
June 27, 2017
"Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."
When I say I've been an artist all my life, I mean since I was four years old it's all I ever talked about, wanted, did or envisioned for my life: writer, weaver, collage artist, painter, teacher, ceramicist.....I dove in and claimed it. And so it is with great surprise that I find myself at this late age engaged in a passion that is a new translation to my old story: artist to gallerist.
Sometimes I feel that the ease with
which I became Paula Estey Gallery
must mean that I never made full-fledged Artist, but I always thought of myself as one and was truly dedicated to honing my craft.
We all know some generalizations about artists: from our insecurities to challenges selling our own work. It is a potentially tiresome fact for many of us. But think about it--you go to a room to make things. You twist and untwist yourself as often as it takes to create something you can call done or beautiful or accurate or close to what you had hoped for, intended or dreamed about.
This is not a profession for the ambivalent.
Being an artist who shows their work publicly takes a lot of courage. Most of us cannot grasp the vulnerability it requires to expose a piece of art we've made to anyone.
To FIND the artistic expression within is a journey in itself. To coax it forward into expression is the beginning of a long and potentially arduous journey toward emotional and conceptual truth-telling.
Each of us has an inner dream that we can unfold if we will just have the courage to admit what it is. And the faith to trust our own admission. The admitting is often very difficult.
As Julia Cameron wrote in her breakthrough work on creativity "The Artist's Way", "
I can say without a waver of doubt, selling my own work was the most challenging part of being an artist.
"People see owning a gallery as a way to get rich. I never thought that I could get rich in the art world. I wanted a life in art. I wanted to live with artists. I wanted to make beautiful shows." Film Director Arne Glimcher
PEG opened her door on April 12, 2014. I plotted and planned for the Opening-- the excitement and anticipation growing every day. Setting up the gallery, choosing the artists, creating the exhibitions, curating, hanging, publicizing, parties-- I was well-schooled from doing it on my own for so many years.
There were two only role models I had for PEG. One was Meg Ryan's Corner Bookstore character in the film "You've Got Mail". The other was a woman I had met only briefly, years before, at a panel at Mass College of Art in Boston entitled "What Do Galleries Want?" It was geared toward artists and the rooms were packed to overflowing. Nina Nielsen, owner and curator of the famous and now retired Nielsen Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston, was the star of that day for me.
As she told the packed audience of artists that day, "I have long and deep relationships with my artists. Many I have worked with through the entire trajectory of their careers. I have seen them thrive and struggle. Together, we are family." At the time PEG was not even a whisper of a thought, but as a struggling artist, her words were both a prayer and a fall from grace simultaneously: this is what I lived for as an artist and this was exactly what was out of reach for me because there were so few galleries and so few slots available and I knew I would not have one of them.
All those years ago became a defining moment for me as an artist and today as a gallery owner and art dealer. All those years ago, a seed was planted in my mind that if I could not be a member of her family, than perhaps I would create one of my own.
I bring my artist's soul to Paula Estey Gallery; to her artists and patrons and visitors. I know what my artists go through to create. I know what they hope for, dream about and desire. And I know now from experience that there are many people who collect art!
I have absolutely no qualms about selling art now and no real idea if I will return to creating full time. I seek only to spread art's beauty on the walls of your homes. I understand both sides now, and there's nothing that brings me more pleasure than to complete this circle of creativity in my own life.
Art changes everything. Art is a prayer for beauty and a beautiful life. Art matters in our everyday lives, in every way. Everyone is a collector of beauty. Everyone can enjoy the fruits of the artist's heart.
To PEG's artists, I say thank you. Thank you for allowing me to represent your expression, your lives, your hearts. Thank you for being part of the family I call PEG. May we journey long and successfully together.
Love to us all,