Flying Low 2012/I

Art on a wing and a prayer!

For years, my wife Kim and I had toyed with the idea of holding garage art sales and garage-style art sales but my reservations were that 1) I didn’t have severely marked down low quality art to pedal, 2) we lived in a high rise apartment and; therefore, the chances of total strangers going to that environment to buy art was slim to none, 3) it was against our lease agreement with the building to permit such business traffic due to zoning and insurance restrictions, 4) there was too much risk and difficulty in transporting fine art to and from such short-lived events at the homes of people we knew, 5) holding such short-lived events would require a considerable amount of strategic advertising that may not be worth the cost if held in someone else’s yard and 6) although I could see some promise in the scheme, I couldn’t see it adequately promoting me as an artist.

There is a widely held assumption that artist grants are common, easy to get and frivolously used for just about anything. Actually, they aren’t. Artists still have to jump through hoops to get them, and when they do, they still have to come up with considerably more capital for whatever project they intend to get off the ground. There are many artists whose grant proposals are rejected, and other extremely talented artists who are just not yet in any position to pursue a grant.

Kim and I desperately needed to get a more suitable place of our own for such a venture. It was going to take time and money to get over that first hurdle. By May of 2011, we succeeded in relocating and began to focus on the next stages of our goals.

In late June of that year I attended the Annual General Meeting of Arts Hamilton; now the Hamilton Arts Council. Held at the Pearl Company, the AGM featured three guest speaker panelists; one of them being Arts Hamilton Board member and City Ward 2 Councilor Jason Farr.

Expectedly, a key topic was funding for the arts. This issue is always a running gag for those who take the arts for granted but a serious matter for those of us who dedicate our lives to creative expression. There was the stated “hope” that the arts in the City of Hamilton would be “better funded” in the future. Mayor Bob Bratina (the former Ward 2 Councilor immediately prior to Jason Farr) had already been quoted by local media as not being interested in directing funding to the local arts and this opinion was referenced at the AGM by Councilor Farr who disagreed with the mayor’s position.

Despite the wonderfully expressed sentiments in favour of improved arts funding, I came away from the AGM with a sense that there really wasn’t going to be any significant improvement in the foreseeable future for the majority of financially limited artists, like me, who need and want to make the arts more respected than they are in this place that used to be called Steeltown. If artists, including me, needed yet another reminder to get more creative and mercenary in promoting ourselves and our work, there it was. At the very least, I was actively looking into just what I could do to take this bull by the horns.

Inspiration came when the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology invited all interested local artists to sell unframed art in the HMST’s first traditional clothesline art sale in August. Many artists participated, including me and Kim, but sales and mere interest were very low. The primary reason is likely due to the fact that advertising of the occasion, as part of the HMST’s Live Steamers Day special event, was minimal at best. I got to meet; nevertheless, many local visual artists that I had never before heard of who were obviously in the DIY phase of their self-promotion, like me. I saw potential just from the associative aspects of the affair, and Kim and I thought to combine the aspects of the clothesline art sale with the garage sale format.

Before the end of September, Kim and I held two experimental sales of this type at our new location. We couldn’t get other neighbours and local artists to participate as a community event but just between us there was limited but increasing success in sales and getting people interested in the art of Modes of Flight. The next step required investigating a more refined approach in getting other local artists involved. It took me the next couple of months to develop the necessary marketing plan.

A Wing and a Prayer Art Sale is an earlier and still acceptable alternative name but I eventually settled on Flying Low. Some details from that marketing plan are to come over the coming months.

In the meantime . . .

We are holding our first of four Flying Low Art Sales of 2012 on Saturday May 26; 8:00am – 2:00pm.

If you’re looking to buy art, find great art deals or meet Hamilton artists, find your way to 16 Hester Street, Hamilton, ON.

If you’re a visual artist or creative entrepreneur (e.g. cake maker) within or around the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and you would like to join us, and promote yourself in it please call Allan or Kim at (905) 523-1839.

You can also contact me at for more information about this non-juried exhibit. Ensure that you put the words “Flying Low Participation – May” in the subject line of your e-mail.

Watch for more posts about Flying Low on this blog, and the MOF Community Page on Facebook

Print the coupons below to use toward your visual art purchase at the upcoming Flying Low Art Sale.

We’re looking forward to seeing you!


7 thoughts on “Flying Low 2012/I

  1. My sister is a pretty well known artist in the Charlottesville, Virginia area. I think she has a permanent display in the lobby of Martha Jefferson Hospital as well as temporary displays elsewhere. You may want to check with some of your local businesses, banks, and such who might display your work to have some art on their walls in the meantime. You can always arrange to add a new painting if an old one sells. Just a thought. My sister has sold quite a few paintings in this manner.

  2. I have an old friend in BC who is a professional artist. I know she’s a long way from you but who knows she may have some helpful ideas. She’s a fabulous artist, currently living on Cortez Island but trying to sell up and move to the Okanagan. She’s always looking for new ways to try and sell her work. This is her site:

  3. Hi Allen! I hope that yesterday’s show was a success for you. You have so much talent and I wish you the best with your future endeavors. Someday I hope to be selling my work as well. But for now I will continue learning the craft.


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