Posts Tagged “art show”

This report comes from Susan Fox, who – along with many other artists – had planned to participate in this show, which was to be hung at the Cow Palace (Bay Area, CA).

It would appear that the organizers of the show were either delusional or deliberately dishonest. The show was actually held, but show artists have had problems with:

  • Getting their artwork returned
  • Dirty or damaged artwork when it is returned
  • Art not in original packing (some have lost expensive Airfloat boxes)

…among other issues. Susan has more on her blog. In the meantime, stay very far away from:

  • Grand National Artist’s Society
  • Santa Barbara Fiesta (contact the organizers for current info on who is running the show)

If you were involved in any of these, or know an artist who was, be sure to email this person.


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…opened here in Missoula at the Dana Gallery today. I perused the show this afternoon after having lunch with some of the Southwest Art folks. Impressions:

  • If you ain’t painting figurative, landscape, or still life, fuhgeddabout getting in. I saw 5 or 6 pieces that had animals and no people in them (out of 200+ paintings).
  • Many of the landscape and figurative paintings chosen had fairly impressionistic brushwork. Most of the still lifes were fairly tight.
  • The edgy work I submitted didn’t fit (and didn’t get in). You need:
    a) beautiful brushwork
    b) fairly conventional topics
    c) an original composition
  • If you’re going to submit a still life, make sure it’s several objects in a shaft of light in an otherwise dark painting (yawn).
  • There were definitely some pieces (a dozen or so?) that had a “WOW!” impact on me. There were plenty that were interesting to look at, but not engaging otherwise (back to the still lifes…)

…sour grapes? No, never, not me! but when I see a ho-hum painting of a poorly-drawn reclining cat that got in over who knows what else, well…

Get the catalog and tell me what you think.


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In the vein of stuff that might possibly be useful to someone else: reports from some recent shows. First up, Kelly Singleton talks about her first outing at SEWE (the Southeastern Wildlife Expo) a few weeks ago, Feb 2008:

My experience at SEWE was apparently typical of the first-timer there – hardly any sales. This year in particular was bad for everyone – sales were down for everybody. Even John Seerey-Lester I was told sold none. He was overheard saying that he’s not coming back. The economy was mostly being blamed for the dismal sales. I sold one painting, on the very last day of the show, and that was to a collector of mine. I talked to many of my artist friends that had shown at SEWE before, and they all told me that they had terrible first showings there. They all encouraged me to come back next year though, that once you get the first time under your belt, it should be better. From what I gathered, it seems that the people that attend SEWE do not take the artists seriously until they’ve been there a few years. I heard the same thing about the Waterfowl Festival in MD. I was told SEWE’s featured artist this year, Peggy Watkins, even sold nothing her first year; second year she came back and nearly sold out; third year they invited her as the featured artist and she did extremely well.

I noticed that pencil work and loose painterly work was what was selling. Detailed work was not moving at all . . . There was also a lot of work for the viewers to take in, over one hundred artists, I don’t know if this necessarily helped matters.

I should say the show was very well run by its staff/organizers. And the PR was excellent; it was well advertised and promoted. This is a huge event in Charleston and the amount of people the show attracts is incredible – something like 40,000?

Thank you Kelly for sharing these thoughts and experiences!

I attended the Peppertree (Santa Ynez, CA – near Santa Barbara) last November. That was my second time to the show; I’d previously attended in May 2006, I think. At the prior show, I sold one piece; this time, I sold none, despite having what I thought were some very good paintings there (of course, I’m hardly objective). What did seem to sell: more traditional things (nothing with the kind of contemporary edge I lean towards), especially with horses and kids; and work that I, being the total art snob I am, would call kinda gimmicky – paintings on stone, or over-the-top giant black walnut animal carvings (things 6 and 10 feet high). About 20% of the work sold – a statistically rigorous survey based on walking around counting up red dots – which is not a high enough percentage to entice me back. So the trip was a tax writeoff; given that it was snowing in Montana, and 75 in Santa Barbara, we made the best of it.


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Wherein a primer of sorts is offered for the extremely slight edification of the reader

The Juried Show
Artists submit images of work and, if they’re super lucky, a piece or two gets juried into the show. There’s no free pass – artists must re-submit again each year in the hopes of getting in. Shows usually denote the poor bastards who will be judging (guaranteeing their names will be taken in vain) so the artist can decide if she has a hope in hell of that judge liking her work. An enlightened and relatively rare species of exhibition; examples include Birds in Art, CM Russell Auction, and the late and lamented Arts for the Parks, which juried ‘blind’ – AFTP didn’t want to see the artist’s signature on the slide, so judging could (presumably) be impartial. Of course, if an artist didn’t get in, ‘blind judging’ could take on another meaning (“how did that drek get in over my masterpiece?!”).

The Juried Membership Show

These shows up the ante by requiring that artists who submit work for jurying first become associate members of the organization. Becoming an associate member is usually as simple as writing a check and providing some images to show that the artist can do more than draw stick figures. Examples include OPA (Oil Painters of America) and Society of Animal Artists. Signature membership in these organizations is reserved only for those who have proven their worth by jurying into a bunch of shows or perhaps performing some other promethean task (eg, getting Congress to agree on anything). The value of being a Signature member of these things is a bit unclear, since the alphabet soup of organization acronyms available (eg, “Jane Doe, SAA, OPA, NWS, AAEA, AAWA, LSD, IOU…”) most likely simply promotes collector puzzlement, eyestrain, or both.

The Invitational Show
This category includes shows like Prix de West, Masters of the American West, the Buffalo Bill, etc. How an artist gets into any of these is a mystery of the cosmos, and probably involves animal sacrifice and other arcane rituals. Artists submit images to an anonymous committee somewhere, whose rules of judging are Top Secret and are kept locked in a vault like the recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken. If your name is Howard Terpning, you’re invited in, and you’re in for life – you don’t need to be re-juried each year. Otherwise, the artist can count on receiving a short letter on nice museum or show letterhead that says

“Dear Artist,
We were overwhelmed with quality submissions this year, and due to the very limited number of available slots in our exhibition [read: none of our existing artists died last year], we are sorry to inform you that your work was not included. This is not cause for you to commit suicide, but it would probably be best if you didn’t bother submitting to us in the future. It’ll save time and expensive stationery for us, and false hope for you.”

…or words to similar effect.
This is especially true if the artist was foolish enough to be born with two X chromosomes instead of the all-important XY. Which brings us to…

The Blatantly Biased Membership Show
Apparently, having mammary glands means that an artist is forever doomed to create substandard work, and this line of thinking is nowhere more popular than with the membership group whose name is (pointedly) NOT “Cowgirl Artists of America”. Perhaps these artists, who are elite by virtue of being able to urinate without lowering their pants, believe that boobs simply get in the way of the brushes. Or that wearing a bra constricts an artist’s creativity (a point I might concede, given some of the torture devices that pass as bras). Maybe if women artists followed the legendary Amazon model of cutting off a breast so it doesn’t interfere with the bow (or brush), these arguments could be subverted. If only I were dedicated enough…

Then again, maybe it’s just that jamming a cowhat down onto one’s forehead cuts off circulation to the brain . . . nah.


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