I have woken up to the realities of the dilemma that I, together with many other artists, are facing– indeed, living – right now.
I share ownership and the responsibilities of running a gallery, Tides Fine Art Gallery, with fellow artist, Colin Davies. The gallery has, in accordance with government guidelines, now been closed for some time. Like everyone, I want this nightmare to end: for the deaths to stop, for the suffering to stop, and for life to begin again. I say “begin again” because I hope, so much, that lessons have been learnt. I hope that, in lock down, we have learned to appreciate the sounds of the birds in the morning – as well as to temper our greed for financial success – and that our individualistic pursuits have given way to prioritising other forms of success: those of humanity, compassion and care, among other things. I could list many idealistic aspirations, here – but that is not the reason for this post. Please read on...
Like other artists, I have tried to be imaginative in terms of finding new ways in which I may reach audiences who would like to buy art – and are in a position to do so. I have, for example, joined in with the @artsupportpledge campaign on Instagram. I have sold a few pieces as a result of participating in the campaign but, sadly, not enough to sustain me in these difficult times. I have, nonetheless, seen artists enjoying great success on the platform. Some artists have found a style that sells and sells; the more that they sell, the greater the demand – their sales fly out. One such artist is @lucykentart. I love her paintings, and I would love to own one of her works myself. Her style, though, is not one in which I can work, frustrating though this is for me. There are other artists on the platform whose work I also love, but the frustration is all too apparent in the work that they are churning out. Their desperation to sell their work – to sustain themselves – is, to me, very apparent. They know who they are. I confess that, for a short while, I have grappled with such feelings, too.
Today, though, I have climbed out of bed (later than is acceptable, to be honest) and have taken a hard, long look at what I am doing. I feel calmer, more accepting of the current predicament, rather than trying to fight it.
I have an interview tomorrow – for a care role: a role with which I am familiar. I need to secure the job – a job – for two main reasons (note that, if I’m not successful in my application for this role, then I will apply for others):
1. To sustain myself financially;
2. For the sake of my self-esteem and self-worth. I have a need to be useful and to give where I can.
Below, I outline two other modes of help: ways in which I can help you as well as ways in which you can help me. My hope is that I can help you to gain a piece of artwork that you personally like:
· I have several pieces of artwork that I have produced over these turbulent weeks of lockdown. These pieces are, for the most part, priced at £200 or less; they are sketches, experiments, and small, unframed pieces. They are in a variety of media and reflect a wide range of themes. I have really enjoyed the process of working on these pieces – but have only been able to do so when I’ve managed to keep my own sense of panic under control, resisting the pressure to produce work solely because one thinks that people will buy it.
· I also have many paintings that adorn the walls in Tides Fine Art Gallery – as well as other galleries and the wall space in Pippins of Mumbles. I don’t want to hold a sale – the paintings still retain their intrinsic value – but I must accept that times have changed, for now, at least. With regard to my works that are currently being displayed in other galleries: I shall leave those pieces in their hosts’ very capable hands. In terms of those that I have in my possession at present, though: I would like to invite you to make me an offer on any of these pieces if you’d like to own one of them, however daft the notion might seem. I won’t be offended; we are all in the same boat. I make artwork because I love it; it’s what I do. If you look on http://www.tidesfineartgallery.co.uk, on Jo Frost gallery page you will find images of many of my paintings (though not all!). Offer whatever you feel that you can afford at this current time. Please give details of your reasons, and leave it with me. I can either accept the offer or not; I promise not to offend you in my response, and please be assured that I do understand. If I sell some of my pieces, you are doing me a great service in terms of helping me to sustain myself financially, thereby ensuring that I am able to continue painting. The current crisis and my proposal are only temporary states; I do not want to undervalue the previous works that I have sold or to lower the value of my work – it has taken me years to get to where I am.
· Lastly, if you would like to commission me to paint a particular bay, seascape or theme that is in some way related to these concepts, please send me details of your request as well as providing me with an idea of your budget, and I will see what I can do. I want to be busy; I want to adorn your walls with artworks if I can do so – if you would like me to do so. Don’t be shy: this offer will not last forever, but it seems to me to be a good one to propose for today’s world!
Thank you very much for reading this far.
Over the next few days, I will be compiling an index of works that I have produced over the past month. Details of the images, the medium in which they have been produced, and guidance regarding their pricing will be included. In the meantime, you can also get a taste for my artwork on Instagram; @jofrost5 is my personal page and that on which I tend to post solely my own work.
Stay in touch. I’m truly grateful for your support – as always.
Please keep safe, stay at home, if you can – help those in need, if you can – and stay positive.
With my very best wishes,