Conversation with Renown Artist Alvin Richard - Hyper Realistic Acrylic Painter
On October 5th, 2017 I reached out an artist that I admire by the name of Alvin Richard. He is a Canadian Artist who is proficient in photo realistic acrylic paintings.
I approached him because I had been stuck and had questions piling up about how to market my artwork. I am new to the art world, and what I'm strive to become a career. but just as any developing artist, the question always arises; How do I get myself out there? Well, this is precisely what I asked Alvin.
Now lets get something clear before we delve too far into this. Alvin is not the first artist I have approached with questions. He is however, the only one that responded.
After a few days of back and forth correspondence he sent me a link to an interview he had which answered a great number of things that were noodling around in my head.
It turned out him and I had a lot of parallels in our back stories. Even with that interview being a great response with a wealth of information, our encounter didn't end there. Just today (10/11/17) he sent me a five page letter that, in depth, explaining everything I had questions about. This included his history and thoughts on how self representation played a roll in his personal success; provided helpful tips as a outside view looking into my life and the start of a career, specifically regarding social media.
In his letter a few points that stood out that are great advice for anyone, are a couple of quotes but his former, yet temporary, instructor, Sylvain Arsenault.
He started, while grading student work, that "if original -GREAT, if not - not interesting" This is a great piece of advice.
Alvin took it personally, "In order to really become an artist," he said,
"you have to draw from your own imagination, to produce your own concepts"
That notion hits a nerve for me because much of my early work was derived from photographs fetched from the interwebs. I know longer want to paint this way because I can't find a voice and what I truly want to say through my art by painting something that somebody has already said through there photography. Ive believed this for quite some time, which has brought me to a more experimental phase in my artwork.
The other quote said by Sylvain, was "You are only as good as your last painting" This is an excellent statement and has become Avlin's Mantra, and tries to outdo himself with each painting he produces. I subconsciously do the same thing, my changes is less obvious, its more academic rather than fine toning skills. With this experimenting I have been exploring my progression is trial and error. What do I want to paint? What speaks to me? What can I say through my artwork?
Back to the core question that was asked, and that was marketing and getting yourself known. Alvin mentioned that getting shows and exhibitions under your belt will add wight to your resume making it much easier to get except into galleries and certain juried shows. Galleries are a much easier way to sell art, at least it used to be prior to the 2008 crash. Its still easier than self promotion.
Once your work is in a gallery, the status of the gallery will reflect you as an artist. The better the gallery, the better it will make you look. but alway keep in the back of your head that most galleries will take 35-50% in commission. This is pretty steep but over self promotion this might be wroth it.
When selling online, self promotion is in order. Most galleries wont represent you if you are also selling your work on your own. As Alvin said in his letter, "...to sell on your own will depend on your reputation, your ability to attract a following, your own level of proficiency , and your status as an artist."
Visiting art galleries and museums often, as well as learning more about art history will help in finding your direction as an artist. This is another topic that I felt was important. I've alway felt I've had a good grasp on art history but after speaking to artist, locally and internationally, and Listening to art podcast (Savvy Painter Podcasat), I know less than I thought I did.
I couldn't be more pleased with the feed back that I was given by my amazing conversation with Alvin Richard. He is a very understanding individual and gives back to his fellow artist. He was in the same boat in his younger years, being mentored by Lloyd Fitzgerald.
I think everyone for the love and support of my artwork and my journey to find my place in the art world as a career and vocation.
Reference material: Alvin Richard recommended a book that cleared up a lot of questions when he was doubting himself.
Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton