Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Art Fair Director Woes?

How much do you know about summer art fairs? You know, the white tents in the park?

I have actually written two articles on the subject lately, and it looks like number three is joining the crowd. Farmers And Artists And The Job investigates the aforementioned job descriptions in a (ahem) bouyant sort of manner. Should I Stay Or Should I Go-oh, The Summer Art Fair 2009, gives my top ten reasons to do just that---actually go to a show, or bash it, and stay home.

And here we are again, writing yet another summer art fair article. Sheesh. I'm acting like I know it all! Ha! I know some. But first let me give you the behind-the-scenes.

Most art fairs operate with a jury system. The artist submits their images (of their artwork) AND their jury fee check to the show they'd like to exhibit at. Yes Dorothy, we have to pay to even be considered. Jury fees range from $10 to $40. I haven't seen any higher than that, and I don't want to either. The jury sits and looks at artist's images at the rate of approximately one artist every ten seconds and then decides who they want to exhibit at their event. Notification is sent out to the winners and losers. The winners then get to send in their exhibit fee which is hardly ever less than $100, and I personally chose to ignore those that are over $500. And this win/win situation gives you the opportunity to drive a long ways and spend a weekend in a park hoping you'll meet someone who loves your paintings as much as your mother does :)

There is also a category known as "the wait-list artist". "And what in tarnation is that?" you might ask. Let me explain. Because all the jurying-limbo is done early in the year, and nobody knows where they are going to get accepted, many artists apply for several events, and ironically get accepted to fairs that happen on the same weekend. That means they have to cancel at one, leaving a blank spot in that art fair lineup. Heavens, we can't have a blank spot in the lineup, rather we develop the wait-list. So comes the list of ten to twenty artists who weren't quite favored enough to be winners, but weren't tossed out as complete losers either. One of those lucky souls then gets the call to send in their exhibit fee check and join in the fun.

Heads up: here comes the part that caused me to think it important to write this article. Today in my inbox I found an email from an art fair director announcing they had "openings" for their wait-list. What? Are they rebels and not following the art fair testament? OR is this a sign of things to come in the art fair world this summer? Inquiring minds want to know how many of their normal applicants did they not get this time around? And they need to round up a few more to keep in waiting, just in case? Wow. Several directors have also sent emails announcing their extended deadlines for application submission. (read: we haven't gotten enough yet either!)

Personally, I have picked and chosen with a significant amount of discerning care regarding potential art fairs for my summer calendar. I sent about 1/5 of the number of applications this year versus the previous. Gone is the desire to gamble on a "maybe" art fair.

Let's refer back to paragraph #3, where I insinuated I might know it all. Maybe, and here's some advice: If you are thinking starting up an art fair this year, would be a great fundraiser for your organization, you might want to reconsider. Times they are a changin'.

Later, Cooper

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Farmers And Artists And The Job


I have decided that for an artist, showing your work at the summer art fair is just a little bit, no, wait, A LOT like farming. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do have experience at both, odd as it sounds. Regarding their similarity, let me count the ways:

1. The summer art fair artist and the farmer both pray continually for good weather.

2. The summer art fair artist and the farmer are both inveterate gamblers. Both put their work out there and hope something grows. Crops or interest, accordingly. The gambling part you ask? What are the odds if I put the seed in the ground that something will come of it? And what are the odds if I hang a painting up for the world to see, that something will come of THAT?

3. Both parties run their own schedule. Gotta love those 'no clocks to punch' jobs, eh?

4. Addendum to #3, if something goes wrong, no one to blame but yourself. (or the weather)

5. The general public lives under errant assumptions regarding both fields of endeavor. Let me explain:

5a. The farmer; a God fearing, clean living sort of person, always of rugged muscular physique, (in g.p.'s eyes/mind) always lives out on the open prairie where the air is fresh and clean, and wide green pastures are dotted with black and white cows and red hip-roofed barns circa 1950. Oh, and they grow food for everyone, often at a loss, because they are just doggone nice people.
5b. The summer art fair artist; a gypsy sort of character, wearing a beret and a paint splattered apron, rises at 11:30 am, sometimes noon, spends their time traveling from one art show to another, a different town each weekend. (they are all on that same show circuit, you know) They have an easy job, because there's really nothing to it actually, I mean all they do is hang up paintings, right? Oh, and they provide lots of people with entertainment, often at a loss, because they are just doggone nice people.

Who'd of thought it, farmers and artists, all in one blog post? And for even more insightful info regarding the summer art fair artist, you might enjoy reading Should I Stay Or Should I Go-oh? The Summer Art Fair 2009. If you want more insightful info as to farmers, I could give you some phone numbers---- :) !

Later, Cooper

Monday, March 16, 2009

Daily Painting, Acrylic Painting, "Saturday Morning, Nothing Much To Do"


I have been painting steadily for an upcoming show in April, at the Clear Lake Art Center. A gallery at Arnold's Park, The Wine Bar Art Gallery, is gathering art for the summer season and asked if I'd bring up some new. But of course! I took a good supply so they could pick and choose. The picked and chose all but one that I took up! Yea!

So that question we always ask at this blog "why do artists paint the way they do" ---well, "the way" just went from steadily to steadily with more speed. Yowza.

But some color for you:
I have several stages of this one posted at the daily painting blog, and with just a few (ahem) adjustments, this one will get the signature. At least that's the plan. Oh, and it's name: Saturday Morning, Nothing Much To Do

Later, Cooper

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thoughts On Readying For The Economic Upswing, And Painting To Match The Sofa

I am into a book, Vincent By Himself, edited by Bruce Bernard. Technically, it's written by VanGogh, as it's really a compilation of his letters, interspersed with his paintings. In one of his many letters to brother Theo, I found a gem of a paragraph, which I'd like to share with you.

But first I would like to set it in present day context, because it really seemed to me as current today as it must have been when he wrote it. There have been many blogs written lately by artists planning to stay home from shows this summer, work on their art, hone up on their skills, study, maybe even create a new body of work, written as constructive, positive-outlook letters, by artists whose paintings aren't selling well in the current economy. Situations assessed, plans made for moving forward. Here's the paragraph:

"As to the the money value of my work, I do not pretend to anything less than that it would greatly astonish me if in time my work did not become just as saleable as that of others. (somebody's paintings aren't selling?) Of course I cannot tell whether that will happen now or later, but I think the surest way, which cannot fail, is to work from nature faithfully and energetically. (study?) Sooner or later feeling and love for nature meet a response from people who are interested in art. (prepare for the time when people are ready to buy art?) It is the painter's duty to be entirely absorbed by nature and to use all his intelligence to express sentiment in his work so that it becomes intelligible to other people. In my opinion working for the market is not exactly the right way: on the contrary, it means fooling art lovers. The true painters have not done this".-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I love how he added in that 'not working for the market' phrase in a letter regarding paintings not selling. Do you suppose by that we can assume he really didn't care what the decorator colors were for the coming season? Ha! No painting to match the sofa concerns at the VanGogh studio, I would say.

But for those of you artists out there, working hard to prepare for the time when people will buy your paintings, I say "way to go!" It would seem to be an exceedingly good time to progress your skills. And about Vincent's remarks as to the ideals of a true painter, he's probably just as right now as he was then. Don't just paint to get by, paint to get THERE.

Later, Cooper

oh wait, do you need some color for this post? Ha, in lazy mode today, I entered this same writing on my daily painting blog. There, I decided everybody needed Knowledge Found In Quiet Places. Here, I am quite sure we need a bona fide student. So here you are then, Tea And A Book At The Unicorn.