The road to the holy grail of becoming a furniture superstar is quite simply a minefield of do’s and don’ts. It’s a good job I like a challenge, and after all a headwind can only make you stronger!
Right, I will be honest with you – I do what I do because I love it, I could and do spend hours making models, sketching, building mock ups, I just never get tired of it. And yeah, it’s extremely satisfying when people take pleasure from seeing my work without money bribes having to change hands. Now here comes the stuff I’m not so fond of – trying to sell myself, urr no I mean rather my work (hope you don’t have a sleazy image of me trying to work the street corners of Downtown Honolulu, if so quick head for the booze cabinet). Ok, so not being fond of it is a big old understatement, it gives me about as much pleasure as knocking my front teeth out or having to listen to French people talk about food at the dinner table for 5 hours non-stop. Get the picture I am not a fan. But I do it, like a child being checked for nits; I grin and bear it even if I am clearly lacking something in that department (not just front teeth!).
The summer of 2011 was my gallery Blitzkrieg. I was knocking them off my list like eastern European countries in the late 1930’s. Knocking them off is perhaps not quite the right words, let’s say politely contacting instead. World War 2 would have been quite a different ball game if certain dictators had just sent arse licking emails. The internet is great, like a Tiger tank, so powerful and capable of long range shooting without having to look your enemy in the eye. I blasted out countless emails to galleries all over France and the UK. But resistance was high, Churchill and De Gaulle and their army of exhibition spaces was not going to fold easily.
On the odd occasion I would send in the infantry and make hand to hand combat skirmishes, only to be beaten back on the beaches by Dico, Fawlty and Dikteese. I decided to go on a few undercover missions, hit the enemy when they were least expecting it. So what do I look for when choosing a potential ‘design gallery’ target, of course not wishing to ‘big myself up’ but the place has to be a pretty top dog, top end, classy, classy kind of an affair. My covert swooping in a chic Paris district locked onto a very suitable prey. The location and space were perfect, exactly what I was looking for, even if the current exhibition was bordering on a little weird for my taste.
I felt a little bad about disturbing the gallery owner whilst she was eating her lunch (I am pretty sure that a few heads have rolled in French history due to interrupting meal times). There again she didn’t have an assistant and her gallery was open at lunchtime so fair game and all that jazz. She put her sandwich down and very kindly engaged me in conversation; the mayonnaise smile soon disappeared when she realized that I was not a swanky customer. But again fair play to her, she did not break the Geneva convention, she listened as I explained who I was. It was clearly the wrong moment to get my laptop out and show her my wares so I took her card and retreated leaving her in déjeuner peace, with the promise of sending her my digital portfolio by Tiger tank.
The trouble with firing blanks is the disappointing effect, I mean you are waiting for impressive results and all you get in return is a lot of noise and a headache to go with it! “Not innovative enough” was the returning fire. Not innovative enough, not innovative enough, bloody, bloody, bollocks. You remember that borderline weird current exhibition in her let’s call it the ‘French Army’ gallery I had mentioned earlier, well not wishing to commit war crimes but it was far from innovative. I looked up innovative in my picture dictionary and it definitely did not have images of turned wooden stools and some wrought-iron shelves à le ‘French Army’s gallery’. Constructive criticism is one think, but pure blind arse, make the rules up as you go along to suit yourself ‘bollocks’, is not fighting fair.
Name dropping is for the weak and poncey, but desperate times call for desperate measure and having already had my work compared to Zaha Hadid’s sexy slick hot creations by Fawlty I was confused and clearly missing something. No doubt the ‘French army’ would have rejoiced in Hadid offering a touch of innovative in your face wooosh into her Gallery. I thought all these gallery owners were in the same club, I mean they dress the same, talk the same arty farty nonsense, do they not get together from time to time to check notes? Christmas parties? Pub quizzes? Who are these people? Where do they come from? Surely they can’t all be from planet ‘stuck up our own rear end’? Harsh words, harsh words, need to focus, got to get my hands on the enemies secret ‘how to get your foot in the door’ blueprints, tally ho tally ho!