My year long residency as Artist in Residence at Fraser East in St Andrews has now drawn to a close and its time to look ahead and make new plans.
The residency certainly fulfilled one of its main aims, in that it provided plenty of opportunities for engaging and interacting with a huge range of people who came to the Gallery to view my work.
I didn't encounter any negative reactions, at least not to my face (!) however there was one thread running through some of the responses which made me pause for thought.
People would look around the show and on leaving say something along the lines of,
“I love your work, I've always been a big fan and when I win the lottery I'll treat myself to a painting”
This, or a similar sentiment, was expressed too often to ignore and I thought 'when did you have to become a lottery winner to afford one of my paintings?'
But, looking around at the prices on the wall I could understand. You need an awful lot of disposable income to treat yourself to even a comparatively modest painting.
So, what could I do about it?
I have always been proud of the fact that my paintings appealed not to a small ‘cultured’ elite but to a wide spectrum of people, across all sorts of boundaries, whether they be geographical, social class, gender, intellectual and culture. The last thing I want to happen as a result of any success I have achieved is to price people out of owning and enjoying my paintings.
With this in mind I have, in collaboration with my children, created ‘BoagArt Publishing’ - an online resource as a means of providing access to my entire back catalogue of paintings at affordable prices.
Through this venture anyone wishing to own one of my paintings should be able to find something to match their budget. The range stretches all the way from greetings cards, books, open edition prints, limited edition prints and framed original paintings.
The top price for any item is £500.
This is not the first time my work has been available in print, but new technology means that almost any painting you see in an exhibition can be reproduced as a high-quality, signed, limited edition print.
We also intend to keep the size of the editions low which should increase the feeling of owning something special (as well as the residual value).
I am also very happy to now be able to offer small original paintings direct from my studio at a very competitive price.
As far as my paintings go, I truly feel 'small is beautiful' as I put as much thought and effort into my small paintings as any of the bigger pieces. In fact sometimes the smaller works have a spontaneity or 'va-va-voom' which can be hard to replicate in larger work.
I hope that I have done my bit to make sure that anyone who would like to own an original Francis Boag painting will never again be able to say to me “I love your work, but I can’t afford it”.