The Mixed Blessing of Selling your own Artwork

I wear several hats currently. I am a Curator at Shavasana Gallery & Café                             ( ) where I curate the artwork of other artists who have chosen to exhibit here; I double as the proprietor/barista guy at the very same Café…selling a few cookies and squares, making a mean cup of daily Saltspring Dark & well-received espresso drinks; and, when time permits, I wear a three-pointed creative hat, or Tricorne, which comprises my efforts as a writer, musician and artist.

I’ve always had some trepidation giving myself any one of these three creative titles, and am not completely clear what it takes to make it so – public appreciation? having income from one’s efforts? If so, I guess I can now make a legitimate claim – I’ve made a few sales of my own artwork lately which – as I have discovered – can be a mixed blessing.


(Cernunnos  – made his way to an appreciative home this past summer)

When one writes or makes music, it is usually a product for mass consumption. You don’t write a book or create a song for one person (hopefully) and it is, therefore, not quite as personal as when you sell a piece of your own art. Art is truly unique in nature and is almost always one-of-a-kind – when it leaves your studio, home or personal collection it is truly gone. That piece of you, that thing which you have attempted to express…is gone, and it can be truly bittersweet.

This is one reason why establishing a fair price for a piece of art can be so difficult – the selling price should compensate for the loss the artist feels and should not be sold for less. fullsizeoutput_1154

(Although I have not included my line of necklaces on the Clay and Bone website, I have a series of them which I hope to make room for soon – this piece, which was made from beads used by “Bear” – a pipe-carrier following the shamanic path. It was my personal favourite and it too departed this summer)

The third piece which sold this summer – to a dear friend visiting from the Gatineau – was a departure from my usual mask & necklace making activities. The local Mayne Island Arts Council came up with a concept for a community Art Show – titled “Art in a Book” (or some such thing) which involved either making an art booklet, or, in my case, making art inside a hollowed out book which I had in my possession. Check it out:

( All Roads At Any Time, art in a book… All Roads at any Time

This particular piece has significance for me as I have an intention to work further with the message: “All Roads at Any Time” which I find -from personal experience – to be an apt metaphor for life…

All Roads at Any Time

I spend a considerable amount of time on Mayne Island where I have my Studio/Gallery. The island has a substantial indigenous deer population, and a rather large tribe of Fallow Deer which were brought here many years ago as commercial farm animals. There is some debate amongst islanders as to whether the Fallow deer escaped from their pens or were secretly released to wreak their insatiable and indiscriminate eating habits on the unsuspecting gardeners of this fair isle. Regardless…we have a surfeit of Cervidae which can leap unexpectedly from the roadsides into the path of oncoming cars, leading to unpredictable results, which range from frightening to fatal – if not for the islanders themselves then for our furry fallow friends.

Realizing the plight that we face here on our winding Bambi-infested roads, the good people at the “Ministry of All Things Perilous” got together with some lads at the “Department of Hamlets and Slippery Roads” to design the sign which you can observe in the photograph below….IMG_1368

“All Roads at Any Time” …As a ceramic mask maker and oft times artist who uses deer antlers and dried hooves in his work, I have developed a fondness and quirky reverence for these graceful and timid ruminants. As my interest also extends to depictions of deer, I was immediately drawn to the image of the leaping black deer. As someone who has also experienced his fair share of random, chaotic and quixotic events, I was struck by the universal message of the sign and now consider it to be a metaphor for life...All Roads at Any Time …it may be a truism, but I think it doesn’t hurt to be reminded – anything can happen (the Black Deer Event) at anyplace and anytime.

I have wanted to create some form of art in honour of this small synchronistic revelation  …my first effort can be seen towards the end of this short 2 minute video