by Bill Carman
Above: Bill Carman’s “Shared Eyewear” an acrylic/oil painting on panel sold for $1.23 million dollars at a recent Sotheby’s auction. This is a record for something painted by a bald, white Asian looking guy with a moderate to nearly good physique.
I mean seriously, this is what we would all like to see in a caption under our work (minus the bald white etc.). Realistically if we took the million off it would fit most of our stories. Any of us whose career has taken a definite turn toward the gallery market live a lot of our lives on faith. We paint hoping they will come. As an illustrator they would come and I would paint. I know, first an illustrator has to get them to come but at least I knew that if I put time in, money would come. But the great hope of doing gallery work is that I paint what I want. Is that a lie? Maybe a discussion for another time. For now the generous Muddy Colors site has asked me to post about my upcoming feature at the AFANYC Gallery’s collector’s show in Soho. So this is essentially a self-serving post with very little wisdom. There are however a few important things that really hit me as I was preparing for this exhibition.
My work can take a long time to finish. I have moved toward a do it and it will develop into a masterpiece school rather than a plan it well in the beginning and you might save time and headache school. This means that my efficiency rating is at lower than government levels. But it also means that discovery is a huge part of every piece I create. I have no problems with motivation and inspiration (by the way I have great post for inspiration if I ever get invited back after this post). Frustration is an integral part of the process and becomes extreme motivation. Discovery is always a main goal. The issue then is; while I am struggling and reveling in the struggle how do I make money until the millions come in from the show? I don’t do a lot of illustration anymore for whatever reason (it used to be a primary part of funding while building a show).
I love illustration, but my voice seems to have taken me in a different direction and those who buy illustration can’t use narwhal or fuzzy bear things to sell anything. Imagine that.
Above: “There’s a Bird in My Hole: There’s a Hole in My Bird”
So private commissions help fill the gaps. There was a time when I disliked doing privates but I now have a system that actually makes them enjoyable. Never had an unhappy moment with a client. Not sure I have ever had a happy moment but at least no complaints. Helps to turn off email for a few weeks so even if there is complaining the client thinks you have died.
Above: Sometimes I do one or two word commissions and those might include superhero things.
Above: Sometimes private commissions take the form of inexpensive drawing/quickies as a strategy to bribe my social media friends. Seriously, they put up with me and my stuff so I like to give back a little. Altruistic or desperate?
But, of course, foremost in my mind over the 6-18 months I usually have between shows are the paintings for the exhibition. There have been shows with themes, there have been shows with threads, but mostly my shows are disparate parts orbiting the singular dull humor that won’t leave me alone. If you want to see how an exhibition should be put together see Travis Louie, Mark Ryden, or Naoto Hattori. But if you want a no guarantees adventure come see my show. Maybe I’m a trendsetter. In the future the best exhibitions won’t be beautifully organized linking pieces building to a thematically and visually thundering climax. Perhaps the show seen as genius in the future will be a ninja-ed, blended and vomited offering of pieces on different surfaces, of differing sizes bearing seemingly little in common ideas; A show that finally induces epileptic seizure. I can see it now. I am the future.
In the meantime I hope you enjoy the few things from the exhibition offered here. And if you are in NYC after December 15th come and see my featured work and the work of other artists in the AFANYC Gallery’s collector’s show. If you’d like to attend the opening December 14th and don’t have a lot of money then forget it. (Here is where I would insert some appropriate emoticon if I used emoticons.) Actually please email me.
Above: “I Chose the Horns”
Above: “Be Prepared”
Above: “Family Ties”