Visiting the Artist's Studio

"The culmination of the creative process is sharing."
Bill Warder, Artist

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New Mexico is home to thousands of artists and craftsmen at all levels of accomplishment and notoriety . . . from nationally- and internationally-known artists, to those who have just begun to present their work to the public, to those who haven't yet had the will or opportunity to bring their work out of the studio. For many artists, meeting the public and talking about their work is akin to an acrophobe being invited to walk the high wire. For those artists and the collectors who seek their artwork, professional art galleries are the answer.

There are times however, when a close encounter with the creative person is exactly right . . . for artist and collector; and there are many ways to connect with individual artists. If the artist isn't currently represented by a gallery who could make the introduction, a direct call to the studio may be appropriate. In this section of The Collector’s Guide, as well as on other pages throughout the Guide, phone numbers for many individual artists are listed. Those "Studio" and "By Appointment" numbers are indeed an invitation to call and possibly arrange a meeting at the artist's workplace.

Great rewards can accrue from such an encounter. The sense of discovery, meeting the artist, learning more about the creative process and seeing the atmosphere in which the artist works can add immeasurably to the enjoyment of artwork you take home. And, there are the intangible but very real rewards stemming from the bond between artist and collector. For some artists, the release of one piece makes the next possible; and through that exchange, the collector becomes instrumental in the creative process.

On the other side of that coin: direct contact with the artist may not be for everyone. Before visiting an artist, you may want to ask if the artist's work is being shown elsewhere. The artist may refer you to a gallery or other exhibition space where a larger body of his or her work is showing. Also, the work may be exhibited elsewhere in the country—perhaps in the city where you live or one you're planning to visit.

Some Do's and Don'ts once you're there

Do. . .

. . . be interested in the artwork you came to see, the studio and the artist's process—not the house, the pets, the kids.
. . . ask for a biography or list of previous public and private collectors.
. . . ask about shipping and the artist's policy about letting work out "on approval."
. . . take a camera along. (If the artist is willing, you may want a photo of him or her at work).

Don't . . .

. . . expect to "wheel and deal." Both artist and collector are demeaned by unprofessional haggling.
. . . say "we'll get back to you" if you don't really mean it. It's OK if you don't like the work! If the art doesn't appeal to you or meet your needs, keep your exit simple and honest. ("I'm sorry, but it isn't right for me at this time.") Don't make the artist wait/hope for a call—and sale—that isn't going to come.

Commissioning something special

One of the best reasons for meeting with an artist is to have a work of art created especially for you. Many artists are happy to consider commissions: the commemoration of a birthday, anniversary, a new building . . . or, just because. For such custom work, a down payment will be expected. Commissions also can be arranged through an artist's gallery.

Finally, gallery openings, fairs and festivals offer additional opportunities for direct contact with artists.

By Pamela Michaelis, founder of The Collector's Guide.
Pamela also writes and hosts “Gallery News” a 6-times weekly radio show on KHFM 95.5 remote, classical radio in Albuquerque.

Originally appeared in
The Collector’s Guide to Albuquerque and Central & Southern New Mexico Volume 12

Related Pages

Guide to Artist Studio Tours article

Diary of a Painter -- David Schwindt article

Collector’s Resources

Santa Fe

Bette Ridgeway Contemporary Art | 983-4301
Castillo Gallery | 505-351-4067
Linda Evans 2960 Plaza Azul | 505-474-7223
Mell Feltman pic 1838 Sun Mountain Drive | 505-988-9127
Jamie Gagan | 505-984-1172
Heidi Loewen Porcelain Studio & School | 505-988-2225
Aleta Pippin Studio visits by appointment | 505.795.7476
Roger Wilbur | 505.983.7885


Inger Jirby Gallery & Sculpture Garden | 575-758-7333


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