Since February 2017 as this blog has shown I have launched myself from nothing as an artist.
The first question being – would anyone buy my art? That has been a resounding yes.
The target each year irrespective of spending to – sell some art. Again a resounding and increasing each calendar year success.
A dream to have my art in a small shop where I can work, offer art for fun opportunities and sell my art. This came true far earlier than my sales warranted in November 2019 by agreeing to co-tenant a shop in Swanage which became available with another local artist.
So many people have since said never share with another business – all at least six months after it started and of course covid hit by three national lockdowns as well. Also the other artist and I have become more and more divided – I at last have capitulated to send an email rather than paper letters as I had been since May 17 when I declared I would focus on my business on my 50% of the week and sell my work only. It took two months to receive a reply.
So now I have put four options on the table in which in the final option I concede my place in the unit as the stress caused is affecting my marriage and my mental health and that is unacceptable and not worth it.
This is part of my email with no mention of the other artist included. I have not taken legal advice and if any one reading especially from the art or retail side (at very small scale has any feedback it would be gratefully received, constructive feedback – if it’s to have a go at me please refrain as I am currently try trying to reduce my antidepressant medication for the first time to a level I have not taken in about 8 years.
‘Re. Trading in The Courtyard studio
There needs to be communication on a regular basis between us as co-tenant sole traders occupying the same retail unit.
We do not share the same methods, or points of view about how ’The Courtyard Studio’ can run harmoniously as a premises. This is human nature and in many work settings people do not agree. It is the use of compromise by both parties that allows agreements to be made so that both sides can work and feel that their views are listened to. I feel that I have made many compromises in the the case of TCS, however your response to my ideas is “No”.
I have been accused of lying about government documentation re. following covid protocol by three members of your family, in each case they were wrong, but apologies were never offered. Where I have been accused of things I have acted, not always willingly initially, but have changed my actions to maintain the shop.I have been accused of not being able to communicate – 30 years in the teaching profession and numerous examples since becoming an artist disprove this and I don’t come into the shop under the pretext of collecting an item and shout at you.
You say you don’t like my behaviour towards you or things I have said about your business – but they are my opinions that you refuse to discuss and so they have gradually boiled over.
We have a tenancy until November 2022, I want to reach that date in TCS, I want to continue to develop the sales of my art, I want to continue to work as a member of the community to welcome visitors as a shopkeeper, promoter of local links (The Heart of Swanage and Dog Friendly businesses). I want every customer or visitor whomever they come to see, correct day or not receives a courteous welcome and engaged by the person behind the counter in some conversation. I realise your aims may be different, I don’t know because I am told it is none of my business, but of course it is while we trade under a common premises name because the actions of one sole trader impacts on the other.
I am hoping that you read this and consider whether we can find a reset point. If that is possible I will again sell your work.
If you refuse to work together, and we have no reset where both of us may need to make compromises and be open about what we are doing then I want to trade as my sole trader business on my shop days and you trade on your days, and we let our customers know that we trade for half the week only and do not sell the other artists work- that way we both have storage for our work year round and have a 50:50 share of sales time in Unit 7. Perhaps if this point is reached the name The Courtyard Studio should be retired and we both have a name for the shop for our time as trader to resolve misunderstanding – mine would include AndyKnillArt and link to the publicity I have now been doing since November 2019.
At any point I am allowed to make unilateral decisions about my own business as you are about yours and this does not require any agreement with the other sole trader – communication makes it clearer of course.
If you will not agree to any of this and still insist on selling my work for example without my consent then we need to look at the tenancy. I, AndyKnillArt formally offer to take over the full tenancy without financial loss for you for any period where I am sole occupant whereby I would take on full responsibility for the rent, and utilities from that point. I will not offer any other financial reward for loss of sales as I have already brought in over £3000 more sales for your business than you have for mine.
If you want to make a similar offer instead of resolving the differences and making a reset, I will not consider anything until at least the second anniversary of the tenancy as I already have commitments to events for PAW 21, Planet Purbeck festival and Swanage RNLI shop.
So, there we have it – I have put some enquiries out to some other people / art cooperatives so I am preparing a possible safety net. To be honest if I have to go to not having a shop I will be very disappointed after two years and a lot of work to continue to develop myself locally with locals and visitors. However, I had to leave teaching after a series of mental health breakdowns, I am not letting any person cause me to have to follow that path again.
I am a community person, I lead initiatives, I share my love of art through art for fun activities, I have been increasingly entrusted with completing commissions for people, I love the interaction with people in the shop where I can use my energy and enthusiasm and skills picked up from 30 years teaching and working in a variety of staff teams and with ‘000s of teenagers.
Let’s hope there is still a path forwards for AndyKnillArt because I think I am worth it.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-123416164-5948-610248988a80b' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=123416164&post_id=5948&origin=andyknillart.com&obj_id=123416164-5948-610248988a80b' data-name='like-post-frame-123416164-5948-610248988a80b'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>