ART FAIR EMPTINESS
25 February 2014, Cervera de los Montes
Yesterday was horrible, I landed home from Arco Madrid art fair at 3am exhausted and the van's gas tank was as empty as I felt myself. All fueling stations were closed and the vehicle was reminding me constantly that the fuel level was critical.
I was disappointed because I had set my goals very high and achieved them only partially. My solo booth was the most photographed thing of the fair and the media (and social media) attention was unprecedented. Unfortunately we couldn't transform the visibility to big sales. One of the plates went to Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art and few others to private collections in Turkey, Switzerland and Finland. My works were asked for several shows from Bogotá to Barcelona and from Jakarta to Stockholm.
I'd need a good vacation but there's no time to rest. Next week I go Finland for my solo show at Korjaamo Galleria. Maybe it will be finally my commercial breakthrough. My wife had to tolerate my complaining one day but now I'm again self-confident ad believe that it's just a matter of time when I'm bigger than Picasso.
15 MINUTES IN SPAIN
20 February 2014, Madrid
Now I'm famous in Spain - at least for 15 minutes. My opportunist plan for Arco Madrid art fair has worked perfectly. There is only one performance piece with striptease dancers that can compete of visibility with my light box slogan and painted Talavera ceramic plates. Pictures of my works are appearing on TV news, newspapers, Twitter, Instagram and everywhere else. I've done my job. Now it's Korjaamo Gallery that should sell the works. Yesterday we sold one of the plates to Helsinki's Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art but I hope we can place some stuff in Spanish collections too.
SECRETS OF LOVE AND ART
14 February 2014, Cervera de los Montes
I'm not very good in keeping secrets. I've been working two years on my show at Serlachius Museum trying not to reveal it because the project already started as guerilla advertising campaign with a website, a Facebook page and magazine advertising. I talked about the exhibition - off the record - to Max when he interviewed me last fall and it appeared in an online magazine. I made them delete that part of the interview a couple of hours after the publication. Maybe nobody saw it then but now the project is mentioned in Maria's new book about Finnish art which is printed and will be launched this month.
My daughter is like me - this morning when I drove the kids to school and my wife to work,the girl asked me what kind of flowers I'll buy for Saint Valentin's Day. The romantic detail won't be now a surprise to my spouse. In fact, love is not about secret flowers or surprise pralines but everyday pursuit of happiness. Neil Hannon sings in Divine Comedy's Short Album about Love hey, don't be surprised, if millions die in plague and murder, true happiness lies beyond your fries and happy burger.
09 February 2014, Cervera de los Montes
I have a super double deadline ahead - next weekend I rent a van and drive to Madrid with both the works for Arco art fair and my solo show at Korjaamo Galleria in Helsinki in March. We use the shipping of the fair works for the paintings going to Finland too.
For Arco there are still several things to do. The light box piece was finished today but the last set of the ceramic plates must still go to the oven. I'm also choosing paintings for Helsinki and packing them. The good thing is that we'll have the Helsinki show in the van at the fair so if we really get successful in Madrid, we can sell that stuff too. Then we'd have nothing to show in Helsinki but I think that wouldn't really trouble me or the gallery.
03 February 2014, Cervera de los Montes
I spent the weekend visiting museums in Madrid and Bilbao with two Finnish museum directors. They were interviewing me for the catalog of a project we are preparing about museums. The northern foodies wanted to try the best what Spain's restaurant scene has to offer - we had dinner at the two-star Terraza de Casino in the Spanish capital city and lunch at the one-star Nerua in the Basque town.
I love fine dining but it feels strange when I'm totally broke. I've spent all my money in the ceramics I'll show at the Arco art fair soon and can't afford even a glass of beer in the bar at the corner. Mercifully, I didn't get the champagne syndrome, which I use to describe the feeling of a poor artist living art world extravaganza. Few years ago, I got a nervous breakdown in Berlin's Paris Bar holding a full bottle of Moet & Chandon handed to me by some art world celebrity friend and not having money to buy a döner kebab. Now I handled better the schizophrenic situation - maybe because I skipped the sparkling wine.