Early 2014: Street Hustling
Remember how it felt when you left school for summer break? That's exactly how I felt when I walked out of the office on my last day.
However, when I woke up the next morning, reality set in and I thought to myself: "Damn, you really have to live off your artworks now!"
The street hustle began!
I approached countless galleries and art dealers. Some told me that (street) photography as an art form wasn't artistic enough. Others offered to represent me, but under the worst conditions ever. You know what the world's biggest fine art photography gallery told me?
"You didn't study photography. We can't accept you!"
I couldn't believe it! I remember how I walked into a fine art gallery with my aunt and said to her:
"Why the hell is that photograph allowed on the wall and mine aren't even taken into consideration?! Trust me, Andrea, one day my street photos will hang there as well - I will find a way!"
Ever since that day I decided to stay independent - although it's a million times harder! In order to sell my acrylic glass prints, I literally sold them door-to-door.
I didn't care. I walked into every bar, shop, restaurant and hotel to introduce myself and my fine art street photography. As you can imagine, it literally felt like a street hustle to me.
You face rejection after rejection every day. I remember how I once presented my art to a manager in her office - and she trash talked better than Mohammed Ali ever could...while having the worst photographs in the world on the wall behind her.
During my 365 project I got to know Martin Dietrich, an incredible fine art photographer from Frankfurt. We immediately hit it off and developed the first fine art photography label in the world called NEOPRIME Fine Arts.
That way we could market and distribute our signed and limited prints to art buyers worldwide, but also help others to the same. I invested all the money that I made from print sales, awards and my old job into the label.
For months on end I spent day and day out hustling the street, establishing the label and somehow finding the time to still shoot.
I remember the first time I sold "Retina" as an acrylic glass print to a lawyer in Düsseldorf. The feeling was more incredible than any award I've ever won!
In order to increase print sales and exposure, I held an exhibition in one of Hamburg's most renowned designer eyeglasses stores. It was right in the heart of the luxury shopping area.
Living for my fine art street photography was the best and hardest thing I had ever experienced at the time.
It felt like I burned the candles at both ends and in the middle. Although I sold my fine art street photos to local and international art buyers, my street hustle took a huge toll on me mentally and financially!
I always said:
"I'd rather burn away to nothing with my art than to coast away without fire in my heart!"
...which I unfortunately did.