First off, I did not take any of these pictures. Second, I am not in any of these pictures. This my friend, is the show I did in NY, yes, the big apple....in January. One dreams of having their work in NY. Aspires to it. Even if they have to PAY $600 to do it!
Last summer I was 'invited' to be a part of an art show of 'raw artists'. What this entailed was me sending in a picture of one or two pieces I had in mind and a bio. I was accepted on the spot and immediately put into the category of something to the effect of: 32 of the best raw artists in the world. All else I had to do was pay for my wall space. Here is where I made a mistake. I could pay $300 or $600. I'd get twice the space (roughly 5 x 9 ft I believe) for twice the money. I went for twice the money.
This felt thrilling. It felt worth it. I was going to have my art in New York City!!! Yee haaaaaa!!! Few things go as planned in life. The first sign of something not being groovy was when I was informed less than a month before the show that the hanging day was moved from wed. to tues. thur was the opening. I actually had a relative flying out from Seattle to spend one night with me before the show...well that got all messed up. I was on a tight budget and now I had to pay for another nights stay....no apologies, nothing. This also put my friend out who also was tight on money, so three people were directly affected and never apologized to or compensated.
Next little setback was the day I got there to hang my work I was horrified to see, as you can see from the photos, that the ONLY space left for me was next to the ceiling. My work is the puzzle work...you can see someone taking a picture of it and his head is tilted back. I was told first come first serve which didn't make sense to me since I paid for a certain rectangular space...shouldn't it have been marked off? I could have paid $300 and still been left with the space I had. Other artists took up way too much space and got primo spots. I had a nice bio all typed up and mounted onto a puzzle surface which no one could read so I had to put puzzle pieces into a little trail that led down to a post on the wall. All my tags with the name and price on my art was unreadable too.
Opening night...promises of lots of publicity....lots and lots....well, opening night looked to me to be filled with artists and friends they invited. I saw not one journalist/photographer. Not one write up. We were given little business cards the day of art hanging and asked to 'spread them around new york'. There was a larger room to the left of where my work was hanging. Opening night everyone was there, my area was where the band was set up and they played so loudly that when I dared to stand under my work in the hopes of talking to anyone I couldn't hear. (I was hoarse and my ears rang for days after the show). I can't complain too much because I met a woman who lives in NY and she ended up buying a piece from me later on. So the $1000 it cost me for entering the show/paying for hotel/food/gas and selling a piece later, netted me a profit and for that I am thankful.
I never saw any write up...I heard some not so good things that I don't care to repeat. I believe that the person who set this event up believes in what they are doing....I believe they weren't out to screw anyone; but I also believe that they did not do a good job. Opening night I was even confronted, I would call it being yelled at in my face actually, by this person. I was asked what I thought about the opening and when I asked if they really wanted to know and they said yes...when I said I was unhappy with the space I got, that I didn't get what I paid for etc. I found myself staring into a livid face 1" from mine, yelling that I was ungrateful and had a bad attitude. That I needed to get out and mingle. ( I tried to mingle and found myself talking to a woman that was either schizophrenic or just psychotic...muttering about the mob and repeating that she didn't understand, didn't know blah blah blah)
This is just another example of how people who try to help artists really aren't listening and doing what it takes. I was never given an apology. Never asked if I had feedback, I would have given feedback and tried to make it a better experience and maybe participated again if things were different. This person isn't going to hear me. I'm not going to waste my time. All I know is what doesn't work as of yet. This could have been a special event and gotten good publicity. But it was careless in my opinion, how this was set up. Not everyone in that show, in my humble opinion, should have been in the show. And this is typical....they are trying to fill a venue/space, they need the money and they take anyone. I really don't want to sound judgemental and better than thou, everyone has a right to make art and I am not saying my work is better than....but if you are having a show of a certain caliber you need to assess the work. This goes for juried shows too, I have been in a few and I cannot believe the work that is included. It isn't really art...its craft..it isn't even craft. Its crap. There I said it. And there is nothing wrong with crap but don't say you have the worlds best and then show art of whoever pays to get in. I know I have to be careful in how I say all this....heck I am sure there are shows that were I to have my work in them someone else would say how can you let that person in? You call THAT ART?
Its all so subjective. I dunno. Maybe I am the one who should remove myself and let everyone show what they are going to show. Maybe I am the one who needs to be selective. Duh! Perhaps to some of you I look terribly naive. I have been, I am, but less so than before all this. This just goes to show you how an artist can be seduced or sold a bill of goods that were they not so desperate to find a way to get their art shown, they might otherwise not try these venues. And I know I am not alone in this and I know I have paid much less than some people have for events similar to this.