I should start with a clarification before I receive any more comments from Wall Street or the IFSC. I am not a trader in the financial markets - I work strictly in the more humble arena of the craft market at Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, County Dublin, Ireland. You could call me a stall holder, or anything else as long as it's printable, but I'm sticking to the title used in my contract with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. When the art market took a nosedive after 2008 and finally hit the wall in 2011 many artists had to find alternative ways to make a living. In my case four of the six galleries I was involved with in Dublin had closed their doors by 2012. The remaining two, to their great credit, continue to ride out the storm. At the end of 2012 I made the decision to sell prints of my work. Initially I tried selling through retail outlets which was and is very frustrating. In June 2013 I decided to take the direct route and applied to the County Council for a license to trade at the craft markets in Marlay Park on Saturdays/Sundays and at the People's Park, Dun Laoghaire, on Sundays. The People's Park didn't work out but I did get a license to trade at Marlay Park on Saturdays and Sundays. Marlay Park operates on two levels. On Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Courtyard of Marlay House is for food vendors and the route from the car park to the Courtyard is lined with craft stalls. On Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the market is confined within the walls of the Courtyard with a mix of food and craft vendors. Craft vendors generally don't do well here on Sundays as this tends to be more of a family day geared to picnics and most visitors tend to congregate here just for food. I gave up Sunday trading earlier this year and now concentrate on Saturdays only selling original and prints. As an open air market It's a tough way to make a living particularly with the weather variations we get in Ireland.
Reasons for this Blog:
I began this blog with the intention of sharing my experiences as a professional artist over the past fifteen years and as a market trader for twelve months. I am also happy to offer advice to anyone wishing to embark on either course. My journey as a self thought artist has been a very steep learning curve which never ends. For every artist there is a unique journey. No two artists will ever use the same roadmap but it is possible to learn from other artists. The visual arts nowadays are hard to define and can range from painting to installation to video/film to performance to audio installations and beyond. Besides painting I do have a lot of opinions but have little advice to give. Many people have asked me why I don't teach. The answer is that I can't. Not because I have no formal training but because I cannot teach someone the techniques of painting when I work only on instinct. My painting style is very unconventional. My preference is for acrylic but I will use water based emulsions and cellulose based household paints occasionally. I mainly use flat brushes but will use any weapon that achieves the effect I'm looking for - I use damaged and worn brushes a lot for specific effects. What I can offer are insights into the art world with particular reference to Ireland. Over the coming weeks I will recount some of my experiences and offer invaluable tips. The things they don't tell you in Art College. In the meantime I'm sharing this image. It's a painting of the Saturday market at Marlay Park. The stall to the left is Life Moments owned by Una. Una came up with the clever idea of taking thirty or forty words which have special meaning in a persons life, arranging them in an artistic way, then printing and framing the finished work in a choice of sizes and framing styles. The next stall is Blue Sky Art run by yours truly. To my right is a toy stall run by my good friends Shane and Colette who are in the process of tying the knot this very day. Congrats to a very special couple - the salt of the earth. On the extreme right is Eco Services. This is owned by Pat and Damien (that's Damien with the cap). Damien makes bespoke wooden furniture - truly wonderful work. The stand is mainly for display purposes - the furniture is generally made to measure - although he does have some some small pieces like coat racks and wine stands for sale. Don't know where they came up with the name. In the background are numerous stall selling everything from Lazlo's strawberries, jams and fruit juices to Jetta's dog treats to hand- made jewellery to wooden toys etc. etc. The house in the distance is Marlay House.