I was asked by the amazing curator that is Saziso Phiri from the @theantigallery to be a part of their stall at the Crafts and Culture Festival in Nottingham, 10th December 2016, held at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham. I had little time to prep for it but I chose to throw myself in the deep end. I wanted to create a collection of affordable art that centered the beauty of black women, skin tones, style, self care, truths, thoughts and mantras…. basically an excuse to big us up once again. I also wanted the work that I created to soothe us as black women, because we are often so marginalised. Black womens capacity for empathy has always been vast even in an era where anti-black misogyny is normalised, Trump happened, Brexit actually happened, innocent black lives are being brutalised, wars are raging across the globe, Prince, Muhammed Ali and Bowie and so many more are dead… 2016 has been tough for us, so I thought that this would be a great topic to create work about but I did wonder would people buy it? Here’s the advise I would give to myself with hindsight.
Give yourself ample time to create work that you’re proud of!
Sounds obvious but it gives you time to make friends with the art you create, therefore you may believe in it more, giving you more chance to know what your work is about so that you can communicate that with others. Plus rushing can lead to drawing blanks when it comes to ideas… no one wants that!
Know that you are in competition with no one
Yes there’s lots of other artists making artwork in the world. There’s always going to be someone who has better technique, materials, skills etc etc but there can never be another person quite like you. Make you’re own lane and stay in it.
Forget that you want someone to buy what you create
Now this is hard because you know girls got bills bills bills to pay and being ‘bruk pocket’ is not a good look. You cannot produce your best work if your only goal is selling it. You have to put a piece of who are into your art or whatever you are creating. Forget what you think that people will like, YOU have to like it first. It’s cliched but it’s true.
I watched a documentary the other day and a young white woman of around 26years of age worked as a graphic Designer but suddenly developed Parkinson’s disease and that really struck me. Part of the premise of the show was that they brought in top engineers to help people with debilitating physicalities. They had stopped her hands from tremoring and she could once again for the first time draw a straight line and write her name!
Needless to say #tears, and it just the smack in the face I needed to remind me to be thankful for the gifts I’ve been given and to enjoy them whilst I have them and to use what I’ve got. So put on your music, pour a glass of something delicious and let the creative juices flood the place and enjoy!
Crafts and Culture Fest 2016
Now back to the crafts and culture fest December 2016. Me and a beautiful clever woman called Nelta that I had just met were on the Anti Gallery stand, we talked and laughed all day but were also ever poised to sell mine and other works. We manned the stall all day watching people buy all manner of lovely crafts from woollen booties, paper roses, embroidered Christmas cards to chocolate fudge…. I honestly didn’t believe that my art fitted the fest, nor did I believe that my art would attract any of the clientele that the fest was attracting. I had kinda given up hope, plus I was soooooo tired from basically depriving myself of sleep, whilst creating the work.
But low and behold …Almost at the end of the day, I actually sold some work! In the end the piece that I ended up selling was titled ‘Evolving’ from the Afromantras collection. It was the biggest piece and one of the pieces I had thought about keeping for myself because I rather liked it. A cute couple bought it and they also bought a spray can lamp by @dontlookdown40.
#Funtimes, Happy days!
So the way to believe that people will buy your work is to let go of caring whether they do or not and enjoy it. Done.
[*If you are interested in any of the pieces shown here contact Honey Williams at email@example.com]