Almond Tree, Biot, 60 inches x 70 inches, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection, © Leslie Parke 2008

Almond Tree, Biot,
60 inches x 70 inches, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection, © Leslie Parke 2008

It is no secret that the years following the Crash of “08 were a blood bath for many artists, but hey, it was a blood bath for most people. I’ve been around long enough to know that every time the market drops 2000 points I’m in for about two years of no sales. I know this because I went to SCORE, which despite its name is not a stripper bar, but an organization of retired businessmen who advise you on how to get your business back on track. Well, they made me track my sales against the stock market, and shockingly, at least shockingly to me, it tracked almost exactly with these exceptions: When the market crashes, it takes about six months for my market to crash; and when the market comes back there is also about a six months lag before my market comes back.  So, when the world almost ended, I knew I was about to enter a market induced coma.

What to do? Having been through at least one other serious crash, I knew that it was important to keep working. Eventually the crash would end and that is the moment you want to leap into the market with a big body of work. To do that is completely counter intuitive, of course. You feel like the Captain of the Titanic waiting for the iceberg to melt. Fear overwhelms you, self-doubt consumes you, and diminishing funds scares the crap out of you. BUT, and there is a BUT, artists will often take moments when their back is against the wall and use that as a spark to their creativity. I don’t want to get romantic about this. Plenty of artists face real hardships due to the sacrifices they make to do their work. But they can also take those challenges and spin, if not gold, at least some remarkable experience out of them. I believe that this happens often enough, there even can be a little fear that without that edge, the artist won’t be able to produce. Happily, these days, we have plenty of extremely productive wealthy artists, who we can model ourselves after, rather than thinking that only great art comes from poverty.

When the wrecking ball hits, and no amount of effort, marketing, or connecting, will move your art work out the door, the trick is not to get extremely depressed, detach from the situation, and take it as yet another creative challenge.