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October 28, 2017


Congratulations on your exhibition, and on your beautiful portfolio site!

It’s interesting to read about your experience as an expatriate. Mine has been different in part because educated people in India speak English, and the service people with whom I speak Tamil or Hindi are usually pleased and surprised that I can speak their language at all. I always regret that I’ve never become fully fluent in another language, but I don’t feel any sense of exclusion. And yet you have made contacts, put down roots, sung in the choir. That’s a great thing. Even if it’s tiring (my brain actually gets hot sometimes, after a long conversation in Hindi), It would be a sad waste to huddle in an expat enclave.

Beth, congrats for the exhibition, and your new studio site looks great, easy to navigate, well designed. Hope it brings you great success.

Ah, but what is a proper price? And can one claim to be honest? Incidentally, with regard to burka-banning I passed by a betting shop yesterday which sported a notice: No Hoodies. There was even a drawing of a hoodie for those punters who are unaware of the name of this garment. To my knowledge some banks in the UK and in France have notices excluding the wearing of motorcycle crash helmets inside. There is a legitimate reason for this since some bank robbers arrive and depart on motorcycles. But I wondered if there was an unexpressed reason that - umbrella like - supported the banning of burkas. Sauce for the goose... if you like. But are banks that subtle?

Nancy, that's interesting, I've always wondered how your experience has differed from mine. And I agree, I'd never want to huddle among other expats: even if it's difficult sometimes, my life is so much richer and more fascinating by embracing this place and its people as fully as a can. (I know exactly what you mean about "hot brain" though!)

Thanks, Natalie. I don't have high expectations for this site, but it was time I did something that acknowledges this part of my identity. Like the books you did a while back, a lot of it is for myself - you learn a lot seeing your work collected.

Robbie, you always ask the hard questions! Of course none of us are ever completely honest, and worse, we don't know it! As for a "proper price" -- if the buyer and seller both feel satisfied and happy, I think the price is fair and as close to correct as it can be. Banks are another kettle of fish - there are probably good reasons these days for them to request that headgear be removed, but if it is a closet excuse for racism, then there is a problem. I certainly don't think banks are going to be comfortable serving men wearing face masks!

That's the best compliment anyone's ever paid me. Ever!

Beth, my "livres d'artiste" - if those are the ones you mean - were never for myself alone, apart from the joys (and pains) of creating them. I definitely intended to sell them and the whole time-consuming, arduous business of selling, including much internationl travel, was the one part of the process which I've always disliked. However I did it, gritting my teeth, and did result in my work being acquired by prestigious institutions and collections so it wasn't in vain. I envy those artists who actually enjoy and have a knack for 'selling themselves' and never struggle with pricing their work.

Pricing one's work is a puzzle no matter what the field, and there are outliers on both ends of the continuum. I like your principle of "both sides feel they got a fair deal". It's the intermediaries- the galleries, dealers, agents-that can mess with that sense.

Anyone planning a life here should, IMO, learn and speak enough French for basic transactions and he or she may even find the language fun and rewarding (as well as frustrating.) If one lives here only in English (or any other language), one lives in a vastly smaller city, with fewer exposures to its richness and texture. So I applaud any anglos, etc., stumbling around in French! I

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.