Monday, November 30, 2009

A punch in the face

So I finally got to meet with the director of the studio near my new house where I was hoping to become a member. And like the title says it was a punch in the face.

I walked into the studio and was met by one of the resident artists. A real nice guy. We chatted for about 10 minutes waiting for the director to show up. The friendly guy mentioned they like to run the studio with 20 resident artists. I mentioned I am not really an artist but a hobbyist. The friendly guy said not to worry there were no professional artists at the studio. It is too small to accommodate real working potters. They're all hobbyists I was assured.

The director showed up and quickly escorted me to an office. He asked if I had brought samples of my work. The director and I had emailed back and forth and he never mentioned that I should bring any work. I told him no I hadn't brought any. He asked if I had brought pictures. No, he hadn't mentioned those either - he had said to come by for a visit. I told him I had some pictures posted on my blog - I guided him to this blog. He quickly scanned the blog and I mean scanned, he just scrolled through so fast I couldn't describe any pots before they were off screen and he certainly wasn't reading anything. He turned to me and announced I would be required to take several classes offered by the studio prior to being made a member. My work needed more work. And I guess this douchebag could tell by his nano second scan of my blog.

He then started to lecture me about not bringing a CD of my portfolio of work. The CD he never mentioned in his emails. I quickly stopped him and told him I am not a professional potter. I am a hobbyist. I am not creating a body of work. I am having fun. He grew even more condescending. Clearly I didn't understand what it took to work in a group environment - forget that I have been doing so for years and my current studio is doing things like cutting my dues to $0 in an attempt to keep me there - I would be expected to contribute to the studio. Something the director had in his literally less than 5 minute interview of me he had decided I was not capable of doing. He had decided I had nothing to contribute without having asked me a single question, other than if I had brought samples of my work or a CD. He needed to let me know my perceived deficiencies.

I gave the condescending prick an opportunity to atone for his rude treatment of me - "Any questions?" I asked. Nope, his lecture of me was enough to stoke his ego. No questions about about me at all. As I got up to leave he mentioned that they currently have 15 resident artists - 5 short of what the friendly guy said is their preferred run rate.

Your studio is not a gallery. You're not curating SAM, you're not making admissions decisions at an MFA program, you're running a pottery studio. Stop being so arrogant. Freeze out hobbyists at your own peril. In a down economy turning your back on those of us who can afford a fairly expensive hobby is one sure fire way to run short of money. Don't be rude and abusive to customers - and yes, I was a customer you moron. I was going to pay you money every month. Now I will find somewhere else to pay for my pottery fix. The loss is yours.

Before I got home I had an email from the director. His tone tells me he knows he fucked up. I have not been treated with such utter disdain and lack of respect by anyone in the arts since I got back into pottery. Not once. Not even remotely close to the level of naked contempt this guy had for me. How dare a hobbyist think he can share studio space with the likes of you.

Oh, and your iron reds and copper reds suck. But hey what do I know? ;)


geolewter said...

The blustery, dismissive, superior, uninterested show with you were treated sounds very much to me like someone inccredibly insecure with their own position. I don't think it really had much to do with you at all.

Anonymous said...

If he left an offer to reconsider, I would reply to his email. Ask what would be required to become a member. Samples. CD. Pictures. Or whatever. Then it is up to you as to weather you join or not. It will be interesting to see what his responses are.

Lee Love said...

Where was this?

Eric Preece said...

I'd actually prefer not to identify the studio involved. The parties in question know who they are =) I kept things fairly generic so as to avoid an online pissing match.

Karma will take care of the guy who was such a dick.

I will say that I am having a great time at Pottery Northwest. Wally Bivens is the man. I was always told things happen for a reason.