Vancouver is a tough place for art. I know, I used to run a small gallery with my wife Jodi. Most of our interest and sales were from European and American tourists. What does that say about this place? I always thought that maybe it was the skyrocketing rental and condo prices that were draining people's bank accounts. Or maybe it was that we just didn't buy enough ads in the local newspapers. No, I think it's deeper than that. I think that Vancouver is cultivating a culture of apathetic oblivions. We are importing millionaires by the bucketload but they are not bringing art and culture with them, they are forcing it out and driving it away. I thought I was crazy until I found this piece in the Vancouver Revue by Paul Delaney. Or have a look at this piece from the Only Magazine by Amil Niazi. Here's another story from a few years ago in Vancouver Magazine that initually shook me out of the money tree.
I know there are many creative people here who have decided to stick it out. There are even a few who have managed to make a successful living with their work... by showing elsewhere. Including myself. I'm a brain drainer. Not because I choose to be, but because it's become necessary for survival. Which brings me to the point of this rant. I get tons of email from people asking me why I don't show in Vancouver. My answer is always the same, local galleries aren't interested and most of my sales are in the US. I spent ten years pounding my head against gallery doors with no progress. It wasn't until we opened our own gallery that I started to see results and sales. In the end we decided the out-of-control retail rent was outweighing the benefits of having a public place for art. Which is why I now only exhibit from the website.
Hey, I really love Vancouver, it's a beautiful place with beautiful people but we need to start thinking about what is really happening to this great city. Yes, I'm still here and I'm not planning on leaving just yet. There will always be a small place for art here. Even if it's in this tiny walk-in closet I call my studio.