Just when I started to wonder where my next orders were going to come from or whether they would come at all, last week finally saw some action. The combination of marginally better weather coupled with the Easter & half term holidays seems to have brought out some of the art buying public.
I’m always looking for new ways to work and develop new products so at to keep my offerings fresh and inviting. That search has made me look in particular, at how I present new works to my gallery partners. I am now fairly sure that I will make one or two collections each year where older items will be phased out. This will keep my work at the forefront of affordable art and increase sales through the diversity of design and fresh offerings.
The giant auction piece is finally to be delivered to its new home in Essex. I’ll be posting images when they’re available once the beast is installed.
New design. Ellen and I are working on the following for an installation. It should be ready in a couple of weeks.
Michael April 12th 2018
I’m having an amazing holiday in Cyprus to celebrate my 73rd year. There’s been no butterfly action in the past week apart from me following some real ones in scrub-land surrounding our hotel.
I’ve been reviewing my life and the seven decades past and I acknowledge that I’m completely blessed with all that has passed before me. I’m filled with such energy, enthusiasm and joie de vivre that I can only see good things ahead.
When I was three years old I managed to upset a lady whose hat scared me. When I said so and she told me, a 3 year old off and I’ve been apologising for myself and trying to make amends ever since. What a waste of energy!
When I was 13 I shared my Bar-mitzvah with a boy who became a lifelong friend. On the day I felt like top dog and I’ve been trying to regain that feeling for 60 years!
When I was 23 I was excited, a new business on the horizon, my marriage around the corner and the world was going to be my oyster.
At 33 my life was panning out as expected, my business my family and my home, the world was indeed my oyster.
At 43 I was buffeted by the ups and downs of business and life, aspiring to impossibly high standards but not yet wise enough to realise that they were indeed probably impossible to attain.
By 53 things took a turn for the worse, marriage and business failing but not the will to succeed.
By 63 it all turned around, I met my wife to be who helped me realise that I was good enough exactly as I was and am.
Here I am today 73, feeling amazing, enjoying life, enthusiastic, and full of the joys this life can bring.
Michael April 5th 2018
I can’t remember looking forward to a break as much as I am to my trip to Cyprus on Thursday. I’m going to rest and recharge my batteries as I have no reserves of energy left. Its been quite a month what with getting the very big box ready for the Savoy auction but it was worth it. I’m looking forward to sales improving over the next few months what with new galleries coming online and weather that is more conducive to get potential customers looking for Art. I have new ideas being developed that I’m looking forward to developing on my return fully tanned and rested. Here are a couple of images, one from Zebra Gallery Hampstead which speaks for its stripey self and the other a gift to my lovely 6-year-old granddaughter Scarlett. See you in a couple of weeks.
Michael Mar 26th 2018
You may have seen the larger version of the Butterfly shape and it’s stunning. I will now be offering this to all galleries as a limited edition the numbers of yet to be decided. Unfortunately, my selling prices are having to increase due to continuing upward pressure on costs. Since the Brexit vote, acrylic cost prices have risen 4 times and I’ve absorbed these and other additional costs until now. If I’m to survive as an artist I have to be practical as well as creative. My workshop is has been without proper heating since I occupied it last October. Despite background heaters, it’s not very comfortable with the recent icy blast. Heating Engineers come and go but still no proper heating. I’m really happy that March sales are on target due to successes at the Affordable Art Fair and some sales action amongst the other gallery partners. Spring is on its way when sales should start to rise along with temperatures.
A couple of images just arrived of a lovely installation recently placed in an EC1 property by Mandy Englesman of MEC Designs Ltd.
Michael Mar 19th 2018
Preparing a number of works for the Affordable Art fair Battersea was my focus and that was achieved with time to spare. The two new designs, the small heart-shaped and 500 x 500mm aquatic project were on display when I arrived at Battersea and looked tremendous. I’m waiting for the lowdown from Lilford Gallery to find get a reaction and what sold (I know of at least one sale). The winner of the charity auction has, for now, decided to site the large Butterfly installation in her Essex country home. That will be delivered after Easter and I’m looking forward to finally seeing it in a home. Two new enquiries from Art galleries interested in joining the growing number of gallery partners are being considered.
Update March 14th.
A New gallery called Chelmer fine art has joined the network of galleries selling my works. They will be receiving stock in a couple of weeks. Affordable art fair was very good for me. Lilford Gallery sold all 3 stock pieces and has further enquiries for an additional 2.
The heart and fish didn’t sell, however so back to the drawing board.
A new size heart 750 x 750 being delivered to Canvas Gallery Winchester
Michael Mar 13th 2018
If you read last weeks blog you’ll know that the 2m x 1.5m installation was being auctioned in aid of the Princess Alexandra Breast Unit Charity on March 3rd. I spent pretty much of the week preparing it to look at its absolute peak as there was a lot at stake. Stress was very much in the air as the unknown logistics of taking this 80kg giant to the Savoy and onto the stage decidedly ramped up the atmosphere in my studio and my head. Added to this was the condition that after the auction the work could not be stored and only be collected after the party conclusion at 1 am! Saturday evening finally came around and my wife Debra and I arrived at this glitzy and very glamorous venue bursting with the rich and famous. It was clearly going to be a great evening nevertheless, I was nervous as hell. After being served a beautifully prepared dinner, the auction started at 10.15. Auction items preceding mine got off to a slow but successful start and at that point, I was concerned that my work wouldn’t reach anywhere close to the estimated valuation.
I shouldn’t have worried, the auctioneer started the bidding at £5000 and it rose quickly and finally sold for £13,000. I was exhilarated. and though the auction funds were, of course, going to the breast-cancer charity for me, it was a meaningful moment.
Suddenly my work had the credibility to raise that kind of money.
I introduced myself to the buyer and had a little joke with her that it might just fit in her downstairs cloakroom to which she replied no “I’m sending it to my new house in India”. OK, that quip fell a little flat. I’ve asked for photos which I hope to get one day. The evening was a massive success for the Princes Alexandra Breast Unit Charity and for me now it’s back to normality and a degree of serenity.
I have made a start on my aquatic project which I’m hoping will be completed in enough time to be displayed at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea starting this Thursday, March 8. Other than that it was a week of preparing works for new clients such as Gallery 21 and the five pieces that are going to the Affordable Art Fair.
I’m now working on a range of a new range of butterfly designs. It’s always exciting to work on new items and to develop the creative opportunities they bring. This will, of course, change the appearance of my work which I will be very excited to see when the Butterflies fly into my studio.
Ready To Go
The £13,000 moment
Michael Mar 6th 2018
In last weeks blog, I let you know about an enquiry for a commission consisting of a circular box. I’ve now quoted and I’m waiting for an answer from Tanya Baxter Gallery in Kings Road Chelsea. This is quite a complex construction and because of that, it will be costly. However, if it comes to fruition it promises to be a stunning and unique design and could well become a stock size for the future.
I now have another Art Gallery coming into the fold shortly and so welcome Gallery 21 of Salisbury. Gallery 21 will be stocked within 2 weeks.
The Affordable Art Fair in Battersea runs from March 8th until the 11th. Lilford Gallery of Canterbury will be exhibiting my works alongside those of other artists and galleries in the park and I’m hopeful of buoyant sales. David Lilford the proprietor has agreed to highlight my new and as yet unseen aquatic themed installation.
And finally, the NHS charity Butterfly Ball is being held at the Savoy Hotel in London on Saturday, March 3rd. The centrepiece being auctioned is a 2m x 1.5m monster butterfly artwork I created recently which it is hoped, will raise funds for the charity to the tune of £20,000. My wife and I are attending and I’m thrilled to be a part of the charitable work being carried out in aid of breast cancer. Of course, I’m not ignoring the huge showcase this event will provide for my work.
Finally, finally, who would have thought that I would be in the Art world in 2018 and revisit the location where I started out in business in 1969, yes that long ago. The Tanya Baxter Gallery mentioned above is right next door to the Chemist shop I owned all of those years ago. Not only happy memories but happy today’s and tomorrows.
Michael Feb 26th 2018
I received a welcome boost last week when I agreed to a stocking arrangement with a vibrant Art Gallery group in Scotland. The Breeze Gallery group has locations in Edinburgh, Loch Lomond and Peebles and my consignment of all 5 stock sizes arrived there safely on Monday. We’re all hoping for great things and I can’t wait to find an excuse to go up there and see my works on display as well as the beauty of Loch Lomond. Maybe it’s really the other way round.
I’m receiving more and more enquiries for commisions. They range from the delightful 1.2-metre installation highlighted in last weeks blog, to a 90cm circular box which if I get the go-ahead will be an exciting new departure from the rectangular shapes. I sold a small work to a potential Gallery stockist from Stockholm last week.
This week sees my production levels rising to replace 5 works which until they sold them last week, were held by the Cloud Group. Cloud is situated on the South Coast have only been Gallery partners since November and they are doing amazing business. All of us in my studio including Talia and Ellen are going to be busy!
Michael Feb 20th 2018
2 months ago I was commissioned to produce a piece of butterfly art for a client who had a poignant reason for doing so. Here is her story.
Some 7 years ago my client’s daughter passed away at age 11. During the interment service a large butterfly flew into the hall and since then my client has felt a strong spiritual connection to her daughter through butterflies. Having acquired a large display of real butterflies from the Natural History Museum, the client decided that she would commission me to incorporate 11 of her real butterflies into 750 of my feather varieties. Introduced to me by Tania Baxter Gallery this commission was a labour of love, as I am passionate about my work. It was not however created without substantial stress as the real butterflies were very fragile and easily damaged. Fortunately, I had a number of spares that I could use when the damage was too great.
Last Friday I delivered the work to a delightful & gracious client who loves the work and feels a little closer to her beloved daughter.
Michael Olsen Feb 12th, 2018
On Saturday I had the pleasure of presenting one of my sons with a beautiful Butterfly Art commission. Measuring 1800 cm wide and 80cm deep it is one of the larger boxes I have built and looks stunning in his family kitchen. He and his family are so happy with their new artwork as am I. From concept to the final product is always a slightly daunting prospect. This is brought into closer focus when working with family or friends .
Will it look as they imagined, will the chosen colours work, will they be happy with it?
The answer on all fronts was yes, which was a relief. I’m very proud of my work and this piece in my families home takes my pride to a new level.
Today I start a new and very special and meaningful commission that includes 11 real butterflies amid 100’s of my feather varieties. More of this next week.