Monthly Archives: October 2011

Why original art is like a good cigar…

They say that the metaphor is the lazy writer’s best friend…

Che Guevara and a Montecristo cigar

How is art like a good cigar?

Why is (original) art like a good cigar?

Firstly – choosing art needs time and attention – you don’t want to commit yourself to a piece of art that offered an initial flash of excitement, but later comes to annoy, or disappoint.

A cigar is the same – a few hasty puffs may leave you light-headed.
Much better to set aside some time for contemplation.

Artists – if you can give your prospective clients the opportunity to ‘test drive’ a piece or two in their own homes, you stand a better chance of making the sale  and developing a longer-term relationship with that customer. Just make sure you know where the piece is going, and get an agreement that the customer takes on the risk of damage while in their custody!

Secondly – no two ‘real’ cigars are the same. They’re hand-made (not supermarket cigars obviously). Variations in taste, draw, burning time, and consistency during the smoke are surprisingly wide between examples of the same cigar from the same box.

It’s the same with art – artists don’t always produce work to their best standard, and what you see in a studio or gallery on one day may represent the best they’ve created or not. If you like the style, seek the artist out and see what else they have to offer!

Artists – turn your stock at galleries over from time to time, and make sure you can be found on the internet! And consider if the work you’re presenting is the best you’ve done.

Next – cut your cloth according to your means. I’m fond of the Montecristo No.4 – the choice of Che Guevara and other revolutionaries. But it’s not cheap, and takes nearly an hour to enjoy. Often I don’t have the time, so I’ll ‘compromise’ on a No. 5 – shorter, less expensive, quicker to smoke and less ostentatious.

With art, be realistic about the space you have for a piece, and the environment it will live in. If you have a small space, or a small budget – get the best you can to fit within.

Artists – if you can offer work at a range of price points you might be able to win a customer who will buy larger or higher-priced work from you later. A good reason to stay in touch, via mail, email, regular open studios or open evenings – these have all worked for me or artists I know.

Lastly – aficionados of most things are avid consumers of information about their passions. The internet is awash with cigar forums, reviews, info about where the best tobacco leaves are to be grown, the best climates and harvesting methods, the merits of different types of constructions, the best humidors and on and on and on…

Those seeking out exciting art are likely to do their research, and will enjoy finding out how pieces came in to being. The more info an artist provides about their work, and the more they ‘augment’ the story about the pieces they make, the more enthusiastic the eventual buyers are likely to be.

Running demo days, being able to talk about their skills at Open Studios, using video to show what they do, creating rich experiences on their websites – these all help to build an exciting and informative picture for the customer. I’ve seen how this can work, and aim to do so with my and Jenny’s stained glass work.

I’m off to devote a little time to artistic contemplation. And a nice cigar.
Let me know if I’ve missed any other parallels between art and cigars!

Mike