What? No beef?

From next Saturday through November 22nd.  I have a show at a small gallery in Naramachi.
Lets be clear.
This is what I am supposed to be working for, shows in galleries. I have been slaving away for about 13 years, in my studio everyday of the week for the first 9 of those years. The unstated goal being shows in galleries.
I intensely dislike gallery shows. Hate is too strong of a word but they  irritate me intensely. I don’t like talking about my work. I feel like the work has to speak for itself. When someone walks into a show and feels something about the work, good or bad, something important has taken place. A transfer of energy. I started out with a hard lump of clay, a pile of ash. After a series of movements those have been changed into something that made someone feel something. A transferring of energy from something I did to them. If an emotional response isn’t a sparking of energy then I am wrong. It would be too simple to say that is why I make things. Too simple and basically wrong. I make things because that is the only time I feel like I am doing what I am here for. Strange, no? I do a number of things everyday. I am a father, husband, am responsible for the financial well-being of my family. The only time I really feel like I am doing what I am here for is when I am in the studio. That feeling runs through to the firing of the work. After I am done firing and open the kiln that feeling evaporates and I am left with  things I have to sell. Completely different feeling from the state I am in when I am making things. I would like to say I find purpose in selling, in promoting my work but it simply isn’t true.
My ceramics teacher has a house full of works by Picasso, very nice furniture, etc. I asked him why he spent his money on those things. Cheeky of me to ask I suppose but I like finding contradictions and questioning them. He was after all a student cell leader in the Japanese communist movement in the early 1970s. He said that after a show, when the work has all disappeared and it is time to go home all he has to show is a pile of cash. He would rather take home a work of art instead. I should put here that his wife disagreed with him on this point, intensely.
I understood what he was saying then to a degree but it is something I have digested. After the digestion my take is I of course like that people like what I make enough to buy my work but I am in it only for the process of making things. I am not some starry-eyed hippie boy by any stretch of the imagination. Just ask my closest friends. They will confirm that. But in this regard I have utter disregard for the selling of my work.
I don’t need to be told this won’t work, this way of thinking. I am trying to find a way to sell that will match my personality. Selling on the Internet, strangely enough, has given me a lot of satisfaction. Maybe it is because the work speaks most forcefully through that medium. I am not opposed to selling either. It isn’t that aspect. I haven’t eaten meat since 1987. I only starting eating fish the day I came to Japan in 1994. It is always anticlimactic when asked why. I just  don’t like meat, that is all. Nothing political. I always think it would be nicer for those that ask me if I had a grand, possibly political reason for not eating meat but I just don’t like it. Same with selling. No grand reason, I just don’t like it.
So, I will start getting ready for the show from tomorrow.


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