State of Being In-Between


This dog and I have a lot in common on this grey, rainy day. I should be in the studio getting ready for YAD 05 but i feel like sulking and doing nothing instead. Why? I was hoping to set the date for a show at a gallery in Tokyo and then advertise that show at YAD 05. What happened to burst that bubble? More than two weeks after going to the gallery that I was interested in and more than one week after e-mailing the person in charge, I am still waiting for any form of contact. A friend gave me a direct e-mail address rather than the one for general information, so I e-mailed the gallery and the contact person again.

I wanted to have one show at a rental gallery in Tokyo and then go around with a portfolio to the commercial and private galleries. It is sad but that is the way the art world runs in Japan. The Art Byte Critique group shared a website that lists rental galleries in Tokyo. When I started looking through the list, I found a place in Ginza that looked somewhat promising since that area is known to have many small galleries near corporate offices. I went to the gallery’s website and discovered that their featured artists include two young women who tie each other up and engage in S&M acts on stage in performances. Is it still art if these two might do the same things to each other in the bedroom? The burlesque performances I watch are much more tasteful and professional. The gallery’s shop was filled with manga-like images along that same theme. This was very different from the first impression that the gallery page gives. Needless to say I do not think this gallery will be a good fit for my colourful, cheerful drawings.

I wanted to find a place that feels like an artist-run centre and a place that I feel comfortable. Artists usually have to babysit their show during the exhibition period despite the fact that you are paying the gallery. If I have to be there all day every day, I want to like the place and the people that run it. I still do not know the Tokyo art world very well so I do not know what gallery attracts what kind of artist. I do not want a place that deals primarily with hobbyists or with students who are still in school. Because I have moved around and also worked to make a living, I no longer fit into the category of “Young artist” that some places prefer. I am a re-emerging artist, not an emerging one or one that has fully emerged. When I was in my twenties, I moved to a town where there no places to show aside from the municipal art gallery when they showed the work of classes at the gallery. This was also pre-Internet and not in English, the only language I knew at that time. Now that I can show work and understand much of the local language, I am too old in many cases. My work is not deeply conceptual or brash. My pictures are…pretty. That is not necessarily a good word in some circles. These are the times I wish I could be in Canada, apply for a show, and get paid to do it. Add to that the fact that my brain wants to do some art along a different theme rather than continue doing smaller pieces that would fill some of the smaller spaces common in a Japanese gallery. I feel like I am going in circles!

I know I will get over this but for now I am feeling sorry for myself. I was moving carefully and going step by step to get things done. To do this though, I am dependent on others who may or may not move at the desired speed. RIght now I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place. Things are actually moving but ever so slowly. It probably means that I should go back, do some more work, and then give myself time in the new year to do all the administrative stuff that I strongly dislike doing such as taking good photos, printing them, and assembling actual portfolios as well as postcards to hand out. Nobody ever warns you in art school that self doubt would be a huge weight to bear. I am sure I have a hangdog expression on my face; I am that dog.


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