Besides being the name of a decent bottle of cheap wine it is how I describe working with artists. For the past two weeks I have been working on two projects that involve twenty-four artists, myself included. The first brainstorm I had was to create a show of enormous proportions. Artists would be able to trade and sell work; the artists would be in every gallery in town. Gallery owners would be selling loads of work; collectors would be snatching up great pieces at below market value in the name of charity. It’s a win-win for everyone around, but I need twenty artists well nineteen because I convinced myself early on that I would do it. I now have to coddle, schmooze, appease and ask kindly for them to participate.
Artists are a weary brew of people. I say this with the utmost respect and compassion, because I am one. We march to a different beat. I don’t think any artist I know owns a watch. The world goes by as one ponders how daylight reflects the colors we try so hard to match on our palette. There are a multitude of personalities; some artists even have multiple personalities. There are egos that need stroking, doors that need widening so their heads can fit, pedestals brought in so they can stand. Then there are the artists that need coaxing, and a little encouragement because they have never been recognized for their talent and passion. These are the most easy to work with. But it is this mix of alley cats, tomcats and kittens that are really going to make this show a success.
My second project involves four artists myself included. The dynamic of cats in this group are a bit different. We are more like alley cats that are coming from different boroughs in search of a bigger bowl of milk. Working with a smaller herd, personalities are easily relinquished to give favor to each others strengths. The screeching and clawing catfights don’t happen when there is a prize insight. Getting these four cats to play in the dog eat dog world of business has been a challenge. All the dogs seem to have watches and schedules. They eat regularly unlike cats, which saunter around taking time out to roll in catnip and will eat when they want.
One thing I have learned about herding cats is if you give them a bottle of Herding Cats they don’t leave. Don’t stray, if you join the cats you will be delighted with the conversation and see the world from a different vantage point.