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EBSQ September Zine Extra: Why I chose Self-Representation by Kris Jean
This piece is part of a series on being a self-representing artist. More can be found in EBSQ's September Zine. Look for additional articles on this topic throughout our birthday month.

From Kris Jean

My Artwork is very personal to me. It is an emotional road I have not traveled. Along the way I learn about myself, my emotions, and how to better communicate with others. How could I trust this to anyone else but myself? I am a self taught artist. It would only make sense I would do this on my own, too.

When I first started painting, I did not feel comfortable walking into a gallery, holding up my work and saying, "Please, Sir, may I have some more?"

Gallery owners pick and choose who is shown in their establishment. With my meek nature, I would have never asserted myself enough to have secured a place, in a show or otherwise. On top of that, I don't like to be told "NO"! Being a Self-Representing Artist for four years, I have made many contacts around the globe, which is particularly exciting for a small town girl like me!

Although I am though at times and I seem a bit extroverted to some close friends, and family, I am quite the introvert. I use my art to force myself to take that extra step. Usually, I take the easiest route there is. There are no short cuts when you do it on your own, nor is there anyone else to blame either.

The best part of being a Self-Representing Artist is I get to hear the stories! I get to see the communications with the Patrons, and find out why they chose a particular piece -- why they like my artwork, and their points of view on it. I've had several long conversations with Patrons about a particular painting. With traditional gallery representation, you do not get that experience. All I would have seen is a check, had I chosen that road. Money is not the bottom line for me. That is not why I do this. (I doubt that Thomas Kinkaid would say the same!)

I chose the internet as a marketing tool for my artwork because it has a worldwide audience. As some one who is relatively new to the art world, I think it was the smartest decision I made. I also keep an online blog with all of my works in progress, so people can see what is coming; including details regarding what has been sold, shipped, and so on. Some Patrons apparently find this a nice touch, and it helps keep me on track.

I wear many hats now, several of which I never would have tried on, if I were to dump my art at a local gallery. Had I done that, that is where it would still be 20 years from now, due to my aversion to change. I never would have branched out. I would not be a Self-Representing Artist who is collected world-wide.

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