Art exhibitions and art markets

Art exhibitions and art markets

I live in southern Spain in the province of Andalusia where you are never far away from art exhibitions or art markets. As an artist I consider myself very lucky to have found the tranquillity of a typical Spanish seaside village, close to the mountains. The natural surroundings and that special Spanish light certainly have an impact on my art work and specifically on my use of colours.

Reflections from La Herradura, a book about artists in a Spanish seaside village

I’m not the only one who has decided to leave my country of origin behind and settle in the Spanish sunshine. There are quite a few artists who have flocked to this region because of the beautiful light and scenery. I even wrote a book, – Reflections from La Herradura – about artists and what attracted them to the village of La Herradura where I live. Because of the many artists here there is a rather active art scene and most Civic Centres or so-called Casa de la Cultura (house of culture) buildings offer an exhibition space for artists to exhibit their work.

Due to the financial crisis many galleries have disappeared, so artists have to find other ways to show their work to the public. These exhibition spaces run by the town hall are a great opportunity for the artists to show their work. There are many group exhibitions but also solo exhibitions by a large variety of both national and international artists. In the Netherlands I have held many exhibitions of my artwork in renowned galleries, large businesses and other exhibition premises. I arrived in southern Spain in 2004 and apart from having my work shown in some small galleries I’ve participated in a number of group exhibitions and also had quite a few solo exhibitions

Solo exhibition Renate van Nijen

in Alfaz del Pi in Alicante, in Frigiliana, Torrox, Nerja, La Herradura and Almu├▒├ęcar in the provinces of Malaga and Granada. Some more successful than others but usually with positive reactions and great feedback.

Can there be too much art on offer?

The sad fact is that most local art exhibitions get very few visitors. The opening day of the exhibition is usually well visited by friends and family of the artists and some art lovers, but the following weeks most exhibitions attract very few visitors. Perhaps this is because there are so many exhibitions. As if the market is saturated.There are also many hobbyist artists in the region, often pensioners who have taken up painting as a hobby. Some more talented than others but all with a keen wish to exhibit their work. Especially group exhibitions and art markets can have a mixture in quality of the artwork. Something that, in my opinion, is not necessarily good for the more established artists. I get the impression that ‘serious art collectors’ don’t tend to be interested in these types of art events and will look for art online or in important galleries.

However, artists are looking for opportunities to showcase their work and participating in group exhibitions and art markets is a way to be seen and get some publicity. For many of the local artists this has become an important part of their artistic lives. Some have formed groups or associations and hold many exhibitions with that same group of artists throughout the year.

Exhibitions in public buildings

Solo exhibition Renate van Nijen Nerja

Exhibitions in public buildings in Spain are in itself very well organised. The exhibition halls are usually well kept with great lighting and good hanging material provided to the exhibiting artist(s). The town hall makes sure that information about the exhibition is send out to the local press and some even pay for posters that are distributed to various sites in the town or village. Most exhibitions last two weeks and the artists pays the town hall with an artwork of their choice which is then displayed in public buildings. Not a bad deal. The artist can keep all revenues from sales, so they don’t have to pay a percentage to the town hall.

Art events and arts & crafts markets

Arts & Crafts market

Throughout my exhibiting years in Spain I noticed that I usually did sell some of my art work at my solo-exhibitions but not during group exhibitions. I did continue to participate in some art events and art & artisan markets in the village where I live, mostly selling some books and prints of my art work, but never selling a painting or a sculpture. Another problem for me is that I don’t really like participating in these types of markets. I don’t mind talking about my books and art in general at an exhibition or a book presentation, but trying to sell my art prints displayed on a table at a market is not something that suits me. So I have decided to not do this anymore and only have solo-exhibitions and focus on promoting my work online.

If you cannot afford original art but would like an art print of my work you can, however, purchase art prints from the Saatchi online gallery (I’m in the process of adding more work). I also have created a series of very colourful and happy Flamenco art prints and Mandalas prints or on products from my RedBubble Mandala page. If you like some information about Reflections from La Herradura you can click on the link. The covers of all my books have images of paintings made by me.

I have to come to the conclusion that a group art exhibition or art market is just not the right place for me to showcase my art work, but if you are interested in finding out what I do, please feel free to check out my art on this website.

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