Enjoy another interview with artist Michael Bell. This time about museums, galleries and different art shows. Remember, every Wednesday with Michael Bell.
I.R.- I had a busy weekend visiting exhibitions: museums, galleries, other kind of shows… Then, I think we can talk about exhibitions today. In your point of view, better an individual or a collective exhibition? How about your previous experiences?
M.B. – Hi Isabel. Ah, exhibitions! I’d say that all depends on your current status as an artist in the art world. I prefer solo exhibitions, due to the fact many of my works belong to an entire thematic series, and even though I’m comfortable selling them individually I prefer exhibiting them together as an overall experience for the viewer, from one painting to the next. Some artists only make individual pieces and are fine with showing their works alongside others in group exhibitions, but if it’s rock star status you’re looking for you’ve got to be able to pull off successful individual exhibitions. I’ve also had success collaborating and have done several two-man exhibitions with artist friend Michael Sprouse, whom I introduced everyone to in last week’s interview: http://www.yareah.com/2013/07/03/1539-mbellart-weekly-interview-with-michael-bell-by-isabel-del-rio/
I.R.- I know you have presented your artwork in different places, including restaurants, Hollywood parties and TV shows. Why have you chosen this alternative places? Is it so harsh to deal with a gallery? Some artists claim that only the gallery makes profits.
M.B. – Yep, done lots of Hollywood painting unveilings, and have had some star-studded launch parties thrown for me in New York City whenever I finish up a particular painting series. It’s by design that I’ve chosen some very alternative routes throughout my career, like doing print signings right on the streets of Brooklyn, NY alongside some of my famous Sopranos clientele, and unveilings for actresses at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.
I’ve had crazy experiences with gallery owners thus far and still haven’t found that “perfect fit” for myself and my work. I’m sure it’s out there, and I’m not opposed to partnering with the right high end gallery owner, I just haven’t found someone that’s been able to do more for me than I can already do for myself. Until that day comes, I’ll continue carving my path my way, on my own terms, going places others cannot or will not, and promoting my work in innovative ways other artists have never thought of. Most recently I’ve done that through a collaborative book arts project with ex-mob wife Toni Marie Ricci, which also includes an enthralling new narrative portrait with former reputed Mob Boss John Gotti, Jr.; and another painting unveiling with Dominic Capone III (Al Capone’s Great Nephew) in Chicago
I.R.- And how about the press? I’m the press now, but I’ve been an author too. In your experience, is it so difficult to attract the press to an event?
M.B. – I’ve always found exciting ways to generate buzz for any event. You’ve got to be innovative. Back in the day Michael Sprouse and I used to generate visually exciting postcards prior to the opening and get them out in advance to the right people. Now, the fame of my clientele help create a buzz, plus there’s social media, where I have thousands of fans on Facebook and Twitter to help me spread the word, along with my own tride and true personal media contacts I’ve developed over the years. It’s always all about building relationships. If you have them with your fan base, and with the media, they’ll always show up and come through for you. So, to answer your question, no, I’ve never found it difficult to attract the press to an event.
I.R.- Finally, where will be your next exhibition? How will you attract the public and press?
M.B. – I have a few big events coming up. Dominic Capone is flying me out to Chicago to do a very special painting unveiling. Toni Marie Ricci is finishing up her novel, “Scars of a Real Mob Wife” and we’re shopping around for the perfect venue to exhibit these seven narrative paintings on paper (http://mbellart.com/scars.htm), which might include the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. I also have a solo exhibition September 6th at an alternative space called “The Honey Hive” – an upscale Artisan Bakery where a portion of the proceeds from the sale of my sensuous series of figurative paintings, appropriately themed “Cioccolato,” will go to help my dear friend, new business owner Rachael Powers. There’s a facebook event set up for the opening here: https://www.facebook.com/events/555604751145703/
Nice weekend, Michael