Saturday, August 6, 2011


I read somewhere that someone asked Salvatore Dali what he liked most about painting. He said…”the anticipation.” To him the mental process of creating was more satisfying than the actuality of doing it.


This is a lot like Christmas. If you are like me and haven’t really grown up yet, the anticipation of Christmas is far more engaging than the actuality of the day. What’s the relevance of all of this, you say? If you look at the log of my posts to the right you will see that it has been almost a year since my last post. No, I haven’t been reveling in the joy of anticipating my next blog post. I have been busy with my latest adventure in selling my art.

The last post talked about moving beyond only selling from a website and creating a catalog of my work to bring around to some local galleries to generate interest in my paintings. It didn’t work. The best reaction I got was from a friend who is an accomplished artist (beautiful glass sculptures) and owns a gallery along with his wife. He said, “We really like you’re your work, but we don’t know what to do with it.” Since I create digitally and have my work Giclee printed, galleries are not sure how to sell it. The original only exists in cyber space. Not to mention, the price structure (hundreds, not thousands) is probably not viable or profitable for a traditional gallery.

What to do? Well the forces of good fortune, or something akin to them, smiled on me and provided an opportunity. I am transitioning into an art career from a career in architecture, which I am still practicing in a somewhat reduced form to pay the bills. Anyway, a wonderful loft space became available in one of the renovation projects I was working on. It was affordable for my architectural practice but much larger than I needed for that. Voila, an art gallery!

For reasons too arcane to list here, the project took much, much longer to bring to completion than I had anticipated. It even necessitated a several month stint working out of my house, prior to moving in, since the lease at my old office had expired and I needed to vacate. Thus, I have spent the better part of the last nine months doing everything but painting. Oh the built up anticipation!

I was able to actually occupy my new space around the beginning of March, but it still needed much work to make it ready to display art and to receive the public. Since I was putting this thing together on a shoe string, it meant that I would have to do a lot of the work myself. I bought some basic construction services and some electrical work, but I still had to do all of the final drywall finishing, painting, trim and fixture installation.

Once I had my head wrapped around the physical space, my thoughts turned to printing, matting and framing almost 40 pieces from my portfolio. As soon as I recovered from the shock of the costs of matting and framing it became obvious that the shoe string needed more stretching. So, many hundreds of feet of 1 by pine and poplar shaped into a gallery frame profile in my basement workshop later, some 40 or so frames took shape. In the meantime, hours of searching on the web yielded the best sources of acid free matte and mounting board and, of course, a fine Logan matte cutter. I used my local architectural connections to secure the necessary glass and Plexiglas needed. Fortunately I was already engaged with fine local printing house to do the Giclee printing. They were “kind” in their price structure for this good sized print order. Add to that hooks and eyes and wire and paint and picture hooks, and…well you get the idea. The shoe string was really stretching now.

After countless hours of cutting mattes and polishing glass and mounting the assemblies with a Logan fitting tool, and securing picture wire, I was ready to hang my work for the world to see. I did so with great joy, while I also worked on the more perfunctory items of opening a retail business. These included securing a “sales tax” number from the State, preparing an opening announcement, joining the local Chamber of Commerce and getting my website linked to their listing for art galleries. There was a host of other chores, such as setting up a merchant account to accept credit cards and arranging for signage, preparing press releases, and taking photographs to upload on my website. I also reasoned that my website needed a wholesale remodeling to reflect the bricks and mortar gallery along with the cyber or virtual galleries.

Finally, on July 19th I opened the door. This post is interspersed with some images of the gallery. While I have not set the local art community on fire, nor have I needed the wheelbarrow I have at the ready to haul all of the cash to bank, the results have been very positive and satisfying. I love hearing the oohs and ahs as people look at my work. So far no has actually told me the work is awful, even if they think that. And finally, as I sit in my gallery in the spaces between visitors, I have the time to paint.

In all those weeks and months while I was being pulled in different directions and couldn’t paint, I developed so many ideas that I wanted to try. But now I really understand what Dali was saying. My workroom walls are covered in sketches (actually printouts) of form and color ideas. The ideas are evolving, but it is frustrating when I can’t get the brush strokes the way I want them, or the colors don’t bleed the way I anticipated. I see each piece in my mind’s eye, even if it is a little fuzzy, and I know what I want, but it takes work to get there. However, unlike the let down you get when Christmas is over, the emotional high of creating is sustaining. The joy continues as I sit in my gallery surrounded by my creative offspring, energized by the idea of making even more.

You can see more of this gallery at

Thanks for listening
Vic Cinquino

Friday, August 20, 2010

An Awakening

You can probably see by the paucity of posts (wow! Awesome alliteration) that I have not really given much attention to this blog. As I said in my first post, I started this blog because everything I read about how to sell my art told me to have one as part of a multi-pronged marketing campaign. I am supposed to use this blog to tell you about my art, or about what I am thinking or feeling as I create it. In reality, I started this blog as means of venting my anxieties and frustrations related to this new career track.

It should have been obvious to me that you really don’t want to read about my trials and tribulations unless they, in some way, impart knowledge or insight or something of value to you, not just cathartic relief for me. But before I completely shed my narcissism, I want to say that this adventure has been an awakening. Let me explain. Fifty plus years ago, when I discovered architecture (my primary and current career), I also found a passion as well as a career. It was one of many passions that this teenager discovered as his hormones begin to dominate his life before his brain gave direction to his energies. As teenagers we approach a career track quite differently than we would when starting a new venture in our mid sixties. While teenagers are not known for their patience, they have a very different sense of time than us old farts. There are only beginnings, no end game. There is plenty of time available to accomplish goals, or to simply discover all of the things we tend to stumble across in the process of maturing. Starting something new at the tender age of 65, however, looks a little different. In reality, there is probably less patience. While the endgame can be a long way off, we are much more aware of it and so are more anxious about achieving some success. If you add to this the time it takes to build some recognition in the subjective world of art, you can sense that the anxiety level is off the charts.

This is the nth version of a blog post started almost three months ago. The other versions tried to deal with a very amorphous concept of how my work which is done with digital tools rather than actual paint applied to a surface is not considered art. I spent much time trying to get my brain wrapped around the issue so as to make a cogent argument about how unfair, unenlightened, unreasonable, un-American, un-whatever this prejudice is. The truth was that I was just carping about a perceived slight because I hadn’t yet set the art world on fire. After all it had been almost four months since I first uploaded my website, and embarked on a Google “Adwords” advertising campaign and set up a Facebook page, created a blog, and told a whole bunch of people about all of this. I still hadn’t been contacted by MOMA, or the Getty or any of the Guggenheims about acquiring some of my work. This was patently wrong! How can I attract wealthy patrons and convince them to invest in my art and make me wealthy also if my work is looked upon this way? Of course I am only being sarcastic. I know this is not the proper motivation for creating art, but any artist who tells you that they don’t long for recognition is lying.

In my efforts to build this argument, I expanded my research on digital art. I recalled some writing by J.D. Jarvis that I had come across when if first investigated the idea of creating on a computer rather than an easel. You can find his work and essays at Links on his website, and Google references led me to other sources including the Museum of Computer Art, in Brooklyn, NY. I joined this museum and established a digital gallery with a few selected works there. You can visit this at Through the MOCA I discovered a site called which is a great place to create your own books. It is especially good for small pieces with a lot of photos or graphics.

By this time, it was painfully apparent that I wasn’t going to become rich and famous with a website alone and that I needed to think seriously about getting my work into some galleries and doing some art shows. My research on art shows revealed that it was too late in the season to get into any of the quality shows for this year. You really have to plan about a year in advance. So I focused on the galleries. Since my work is “virtual” until it is printed and since Giclee prints are actually more expensive than canvass and paint to do an original of comparable size, I didn’t really have and “inventory” of “product” to take around to galleries. I decided to use the new found site at to create a catalog of my work to act as “sales brochure” so to speak. This was actually a great deal of fun and very rewarding. You can see the results of this here:

Collide-O-Scope 4
Of course, while I was becoming an author to embellish my status as an artist, I was also doing some painting. I have discovered that I love doing paintings as a series. My latest series is called “Collide-O-Scope”. Here is one in that series.

To close this post then, the “awakening” that I referred to earlier is simply the joy and excitement of becoming engaged in a whole new career. Yes it is different than my original journey, but I realize that I cannot be too impatient. It is going to take time. I should know by now that if it is easy or instant, it’s probably not worth it.

Thanks for listening, Vic Cinquino, The Ranting Italian

Friday, May 28, 2010

Why Buy My Artwork?

If you read my last (and first) blog before this one, probably the first thing you noticed was the date.  It has been many many days since that last post.  The subject of that first blog was the "fun and frustration" of starting an on-line business to sell my artwork.  That business is, by the way.  I was ranting about how much I didn't understand social networking sites as a component of a marketing plan, and fully intended to expand on that rant by complaining about how much time those things consume.  Well blogging takes a whole bunch of time too, which is why I haven't been back here for the last month or so.

The whole create and sell artwork thing is actually a supplemental gig.  At this time, at least. I really hope to make it a more permanent thing, though.  My primary occupation is architecture.  I am a practicing architect in upstate New York, USA and that has been my chief source of income for the last forty years or so.  I love my work, but after 40 years I am looking to move on to something more expansive.  Architects and architecture as a profession are often romanticized on TV or in the movies.  In reality, it is nothing like what you see.  Oh ya there are the "rock stars" of architecture such as Frank Gehry designing uber sculptural, stainless steel clad museums and theaters around world.  But for every rock star there are probably a couple of thousand studio musicians plugging away at the background sounds of everyday living such as offices, homes, restaurants, shopping centers, etc.  A plugging away that has become less rewarding in direct proportion to increasing regulatory control, growing technological demands, tighter budgets imposed by a "throw-a-way" building philosophy and maximized developer profits.  Slopping copious amounts of richly colored paint on a canvas is much more fun and truly liberating until the monthly mortgage statement comes in the mail.  Then, I am rudely awakened to the fact that I am short on billable hours for the month.

So I have had to prioritize where to place my efforts in this artwork thing.  All of the stories you hear about the phenomenal success that will come your way by just putting together a website and uploading it for the world to click on, are no less romantic than those TV architects.  That is not to say that one shouldn't try to become the next on-line phenom.  But it does take more effort than one might think. I decided to put together a Google Adwords package as my first priority before devoting any more time to Facebook and blogging.  One of the image adds is shown here.

It has been a challenge putting a campaign together.  The folks a Google give you a lot to learn and digest in the process, including thinking of all of the different words or phrases one might type into a search engine that will trigger your ad to be shown on the screen.  Once you have done that, you have to actually design an ad that will reflect those words in a way that will place your ad in a prominent position relative to all of the other ads vying for screen space on a search results page.  You get a whole new sense of the world wide web.

I won't go into the subtleties of an Adwords campaign here, but all of this effort triggered a wrenching sense of doubt and the frightening question..."why would somebody give up their hard earned money to buy one of my paintings?"  Now, it's not like I didn't think of this before I jumped into this thing, but I guess I pushed the issue to my sub-conscious while I was having all that fun slopping paint and designing a website and stuff like that.  But once I had all the stuff like that, I needed to think about the question.

As I said I did think about the what, why and how of producing and selling artwork.  In fact, I spent a lot of time on the "net" doing research about art, about selling art, about website design for selling art, about marketing techniques used in selling art, about having patience in selling art, about overcoming rejection in the process of selling art, about....well you get it. 

There seems to be a number of  compelling reasons to buy art.  A lot of them have to do with "investment" and "collecting."  There are regular news reports about the sale of some masterpiece by Christies or Sothebys bringing a record sum of money to some mysterious seller by some mysterious buyer.   Many sources are devoted to the how's and whys of building a collection and the how's and whys of getting the attention of collectors.  And Lord knows there are countless art dealers and consultants who have the inside track on up and coming artists and are able to advise collectors on how to get in on the ground floor, so to speak, with these soon to be rock stars of the art world.  It follows logically then, that there are countless sources consumed with how a soon to be rock star artist can get to be represented by the countless art dealers or consultants who have the inside track with those collectors who want to own work done by said soon to be rock stars, etc.

In all of my research however, I noticed that every time I found of piece of work on some body's website that I thought was really beautiful there was an emotional response.  You know, that tingling sensation or heart palpitation thing.  I didn't know whether the artist was famous or about to be famous, or was considered "good" by any of the experts or whether the asking price for the piece represented a good value.  All I knew was that my heart was pounding and I wanted that piece to hang on a wall where I could see it everyday.  I found myself fantasizing about winning some mega lottery and buying an old airplane hanger where I could put up a million square feet of wall surface and surround myself with all of this beautiful artwork that I found.

In the end, it was those heart palpitations that got me into this thing.  I reasoned that there had to be a whole bunch of people like me out there that would want a piece of art simply because they liked it.  So, why buy my artwork?  BECAUSE YOU LIKE IT!

Monday, April 12, 2010

My First Blog

I started this blog because I read somwhere that blogging should be part of a marketing campaign along with social networking sites to promote an on-line business. Since decided that I would expand my horizons, so to speak, by creating some artwork and then try to sell it, I need to experiment with all of the various ways to "get the word out" about my work. But I am quite new to this art business so I can't really provide any serious advice or claim some in-depth expertise.

I decided to write about my experiences in developing this new part of my life. So far it has been a combination of fun and frustration. I named this blog "A Ranting Italian" and called myself "Rantalian". This is quite natural. I am Italian and I just turned 65 so I am well on my way to becoming an "old fart". Thus my heritage and my life experience qualify me to rant and rave and go on about anything under the sun.

I will try to keep my rantings about the experiences in setting up and getting a website discovered by the world, but I can't guarantee that my mind won't wander due to my genetic make up and my advancing age. It will also difficult because Italians can't talk without their hands and so I can't pretend I am talking to you and type at the same time.

By the way if you want to see some this artwork that I will be ranting about you can find it at

There are highs and lows in the process of doing what I am doing. There is also some serious soul searching and genuine confusion about it all. For example, one of the recommended "things to do" was become engaged in social networking sites such as FaceBook and MySpace. I have set up pages in both those sites, (still incomplete) but have to confess that even though I am college educated, I DON'T UNERSTAND THEM AT ALL. MySpace seems reasonable becuase it was created to actually promote things like rock bands and stuff. Therefore it is a bit like putting together an add for some publication. FaceBook, however, is somewhat uncomfortable for me. I think it is a generational thing, but I am not so sure.

I am out of time for this right now, but believe me, I will expand on it in subsequent posts.