A kind of strange title right . . . but I shall explain.
As most people familiar with art will know, the Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh left Paris where he had been studying art and working as an artist to go and live in the south of France. One of the reasons he left Paris was because he found it difficult to get the appropriate interests in his artwork there. Plus, in the Parisian art scene there were many rumours, intrigues and rivalries.
Perhaps Van Gogh had too many idealistic visions and thoughts about the artworld – I mean it is – if you want to sell – the same dog-eat-dog world that most commercial business will experience. So unable to take the strain of working and competing and working within a community of artists that didn´t collaborate instead of compete he moved out and found fame elsewhere!
So, now to Bogota!
I have thought now for several years that Bogota is in a similar position to the Paris of that time – a hundred years ago. I do not know why but there is an abundance of artists in Bogota – perhaps too many. On the upside I think this has helped create a greater interest from the general public in art but obviously – had it not been for the credit expansion of the last few years then every artist would be chasing a limited money supply and I believe there would have been (and probably will be at some point in the future now that the Bank of the Republic – Colombia´s Central Bank has started to increase its interest rates) much greater infighting and jealousies within the art community here than have so far been present. And believe me they do exist but I would not want to be a gossip here 🙂
One of the benefits of leaving a large art community is that there is less competition. One artist friend, Bernardo Ríos left for his native Risaralda a couple of years ago. Though he left for personal reasons – one of which being that he could not stand the noise anymore! – he has since then had a number of exhibitions in Pereira, a great number of TV and Press interviews and much more interest shown in his art than when he lived in Bogota and that has made him happy.
Now of course since Pereira is much smaller than Bogota its commerce in and of the arts is much less. However, most artists would probably be happy to live on bread and water were it necessary just to get some “love” for the work they produce.
A small number of other artists I know have a small studio or apartment in Villa de Leiva – which is a sort of bohemian colonial town situated about three hours nort-east of Bogota in the department of Boyaca. There they can at the very least occasionally escape the pressure of city life in Bogota though there is no large art-buying public in the are, though the fact that it is very touristy should occasionally help sales.
So my advice to many of the artists that are in Bogota fighting it out – take a leaf out of Van Goghs book and think about presenting your art elsewhere . . . it could well bring positive results!
PS: Bernado will possibly be exhibiting in Bogota within the next few months – I will keep you posted.