You see that’s the frustrating thing about closing the space is that Cultivate, on the whole, is not malfunctioning, it does work – as a creative, evolving artist-run space it works, it isn’t perfect by any means, but it does work and it is a wrench to have to stop. Thing is though, it would work a hell of a lot better if you artists really (really) wanted it to.
Cultivate works, I was going to blog about an artist waking me up on Sunday morning just before 9am, Sunday morning! Who, besides god-bothers, fox-hunters and those with an away match to get to, gets up before 9am on a Sunday morning? please do not call me before 10am on a Sunday, we don’t open until 11am and I’m more in need of my beauty sleep than most! Who gets up before 9am on a Sunday morning!? And I’d been up until 3am the night before (as I almost always am) catching up with Cultivate e.mails and (the lack of) finance. Said early morning artist was calling to say he was too busy to pick his art up that day, another artist called later on in the day to say she couldn’t pick her art up because her Sunday dinner was late and she hadn’t eaten yet! What would Peter Prendergast have said? “Art is about commitment! There’s no time for the trivia of food or sleep!” – look him up, the man was a god in terms of artistic ethos, he was and is my fuel. At least those two bothered calling and telling us that couldn’t pick up their art on the last day of the show, others just didn’t bother picking up or communicating the fact that they couldn’t (be bothered?). I won’t blog about the frustrations of uncommitted artists though, I’ve said so many times in the last few months, that artist apathy is the thing that is really killing Cultivate in terms of our beautiful corner space is Vyner Street. We are being strangled by the lack of artist commitment, by artist apathy and their lazy willingness to accept the status quo and let themselves be exploited.
You see, the frustrating thing is that the running of this space should not have been down to just myself and Emma, I should not be in the cold eating peanut butter and marmalade sandwiches and looking after your art while you complain your Sunday dinner is late. It should have been a shared commitment
Really you artists should be able to see what an artist-positive outlet for your work Cultivate has been got the last twenty-six or so months. surely you can see it?
Last Thursday one of the artists who currently has work on the gallery walls, came in, early in the evening, said something about being too skint to buy me a pint – I didn’t really want a pint but I have a point to illustrate here. I did wonder if it was the right time to be handing an artist some money, I mean, artist with money in a pub is not good is it? I did hand her money though, for the artist in question had, just an hour before she turned up skint, sold a painting to a collector who had made a point of coming early to see her work in particular after seeing her posted photos of her new work on line alongside her mention that it was on show at Cultivate this week (you need to tell people, that’s what I mean about getting involved, a little more than just handing over the work then turning up at the end to see if it has sold or not, you need to put the effort in). We sold three of her paintings over the last four days, and seven of her prints, and this is the frustration, Cultivate works for you artists! If only more of you would put in just a little effort and commitment! Share the workload just a little.
This year, via Cultivate, I have sold 404 pieces of my own art, the painted taxi seat currently being auctioned as a gallery fundraiser – see the way I got another plug in for it there – will hopefully be the 405th when the auction triumphantly ends on Tuesday evening. Now I know I make my own personal artistic statements and I choose to sell my art at very affordable prices, but hey, over four hundred pieces sold via Cultivate so far this year isn’t bad is it? Cultivate works! I like selling my art, once I’ve made it, I want someone else to have it. The point I’m making here is that Cultivate (almost?) works – over the past two years, it has worked rather well for artists like MyDogSighs, SixOneSix, Zoe Crosse, Julia Maddison, Alo, Emma Harvey, it has worked brilliantly for Gareth Morgan in recent weeks, it works for me as an artist in terms of a healthy outlet for the art I make… It works for the artists who have got involved a little, it probably would have worked for those I just name-dropped even more if they’d really got involved. But Cultivate can’t function as an artist-run space is all you do is bring your work in, and then turn up at the end to see if we’ve sold any of it, it was supposed to be a collective effort, a real functioning alternative to exploiting London gallery spaces and art fairs you see far too happy to hand money over to without question.
And so, much to our frustration, Cultivate will close in terms of an artist-run space to exhibit (and sell) work in Vyner Street on December 8th. At the moment we are busy fund-raising to pay off the debts (would be nice is some of you artists who have benefited would help with that). Cultivate will close on December 8th, we don’t know what will happen to the space yet. It might become a shared working studio, I was approached about that possibility at the weekend, it might get taken over by the electrician who’s wanted it for a workshop for ages, one thing is for certain, we are not going to run it by ourselves anymore, that is just not an option. If you artists want this space to stay as some kind of creative artistic outlet then talk to us – as a gallery space run full time by two overworked overstretched artists it is over on December 8th . I’m burnt out, I need a lie-in and some Sunday dinner now and again.
Our last event will be another ART IS FOR LIFE thing, a pre-Christmas retail opportunity because buying things lovingly created by artists is far better for your soul than thoughtlessly buying mass-manufactured mass-marketing tat, it is after all the way Jesus would want it. Nothing wrong with buying you frames from Ikea, but your art? What are you really saying to your loved ones when you buy then a piece of mass produced art-tat from Ikea for Christmas?
Artists who wish to get their art on show and on sale in this final event, need to get in touch for more details.
Artists who want to the space to evolve and still be there in some kind of revitalised form, need to get in touch, Cultivate works, well it would if you really wanted it to.