I lived between a Cop and a Social Worker for 5 years. I had no political opinion that whole time. It wasn’t that they argued, they were capable of having intelligent discussions, but I felt that the détente was fragile and me picking a side might upset the apple cart. They understood my concerns and until the social worker started running for office, my political stance was never brought up. There is one other place that politics should never come up, the sales floor. I firmly believe that religion is unwelcome there as well.
I have good reason for keeping my political and religious affiliations quiet. Too many times I have seen a good sale go bad or a great business relationship go south because buyers and artists don’t agree. Buyers tend to complain loudly at events when their ideals have been stepped on and other artists will miss you but they will miss the buyers more. The reality of sales is this, people buy from people they are comfortable with. There is no place for political opinion or religious stance when you are building an art career. When you are a huge success, you can be considered eccentric. Eccentric is charming when people are fighting over the 2 paintings you brought to an auction instead of sending to galleries that are demanding your work. While you are scrabbling to get work into auctions and galleries, not so much.
Have scruples when you can afford them. I can barely afford to get an oil change in my car, let alone donate to a political party. You will never know what may or may not offend a prospective collector or even a patron. Many opportunities have slipped on by artists without them realizing they opened their mouths and the sale slipped out the door. I have had conversations with collectors about it. I wasn’t an artist at the time, so they would talk to me about things they might not have shared with others. I was just another person at a show, and they were unhappy. I’m not saying you don’t have a right to an opinion, intelligent people have a mind of their own. Most artists I have known are self-educated in places you would never expect. Just,…. Keep it under wraps until you get home. Or in my case, until I was in my car; alone.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the Spokane Art School Artist-in-Residence, and not necessarily to the Spokane Art School.