Saturday, April 11, 2009

Death by Chocolate

Death by Chocolate, 11"x14", acrylic, framed, $400 © B. Sistak Baur
Here is chocolate on top of chocolate. When I saw this in the bakery, I knew I had to paint it (and I almost ate it, but didn't!) First, the cheesecake is rendered with textured paint. On top of that are rich brownies created with impasto acrylic paint. Finally, chocolate-colored syrup-y paint is poured over the top. A little over the top with chocolate, I'd say!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Art-Throb™--Juried Art Fairs

How Artists Get into Art Fairs
Art festivals are a summertime ritual in the Midwest and a great way to spend a day. You enjoy the fresh air, great art and you may come home with a treasure. Very relaxing. But for artists, it is anything but. In fact, for artists, the season starts the previous fall when a grueling series of competitions begins – these competitions are among the artists themselves to see who will be awarded booth space at the best art fairs in the region and, even, the nation.
(above: Barb in her Art Booth, Summer 2008)

How does this work?

Art festival promoters/organizers are right in the middle of it. They organize art festivals to attract art patrons. To attract art patrons, they need top artists. So they advertise far and wide for artists to apply to their show. And if it is a really good show, hundreds, if not thousands, of artists apply. I applied to a festival that had 125 openings but received 1200 applications.

This is good for patrons because it means that the best artists available are displaying at the festival. Patrons interested in purchasing art can be assured that a rigorous selection process has been applied. This is also good for artists because it means that serious art patrons who are interested in purchasing art are attracted to the show.

What do artists have to do be selected?
Artists apply to art shows with a large packet of materials. They submit anywhere from 3 to 5 pictures of their work (which they take themselves), an picture of their art booth, art statements and/or a resume, business information such as tax numbers, a variety of application forms and, of course, a fee for applying. Fortunately, much of this is done electronically today, making it a much smoother process that having slides made (remember them?), submitting paper forms and snail-mailing the package. But, not everyone is digital and I did a complete a number of these manual packages this year.

All of this material arrives at the art show office by a stated deadline. Then the show organizers have the job of reviewing each and every one of the applications to make the selection of artists to invite. Often, a jury of 3 or 4 respected art experts is assembled for a day. Art images are projected on a large screen for all to view at once. The jury scores each presentation. At the end of the day, the highest scoring artists in selected categories are invited to the show. Those that are invited, pay the exhibition fees to be in the show. Those that are not, enter into competitions for other shows. Artists apply to several shows, knowing they will not be invited to all of them.

Not every art show is like this – but the big ones have processes like this – shows that you have heard of – the Old Town Art Fair in Chicago, for instance.

So, in June, as you stroll among the fine art booths at your favorite fair, and you talk to artists and perhaps make a purchase, know that the artist has been working to be at your fair since last fall. It is a very competitive process. The happy result is that art patrons are offered the best art available.

So far, my art fair schedule looks like this –
  • April 17-19, Great Lakes Art Fair, Spring 2008, Rock Financial Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave., Novi, MI
  • May 9-10, National City Art Birmingham, Shain Park, Birmingham, MI
  • May 15-16, Riverside Art Festival, on Burlington Ave., Riverside, IL
  • June 6-7, 57th Street Art Fair, Hyde Park, Chicago
  • July 11-12, KRASL Art Fair on the Bluff, St. Joe, MI
  • July 25-26, Geneva Art Festival, downtown Geneva, IL
  • July 31-Aug 02, Gold Coast Art Festival, LaSalle Street, at the intersections of Erie, Huron, and Superior, Chicago
  • Sept. 26-27, Lakeview East Art fair, north side of Chicago, near Wrigley Field, Halsted and Lincoln Park.
I am waiting to hear about several other applications. Plus, I am on the “Wait List” for other fairs—the Lakefront Festivals of the Arts in Milwaukee and Port Clinton Art Festival in Highland Park. The Wait List is like the “reserve” list. If an invited artist chooses not to participate in an event, the organizers go to their “wait list” and invite another artist to fill that spot. As an artist, that kind of puts you in a spot –should you try to the book that weekend somewhere else or should you leave it open and “hope” you get called?

Note: Art-Throb™ is the term I use to describe a great place or places to enjoy an art experience.

Cupcake Field II

Cupcake Field I, Acrylic on board, 9”x12”, $300 © B. Sistak Baur

Cupcake tops are the best part anyway so they are featured in rows and rows. Thick paint shapes the tops and granular-paint is used for the sprinkles.

Fruit Tart Rows

Fruit Tart Rows, Acrylic on board, 9”x12”, $300 © B. Sistak Baur

Color and pattern is the central focus set upon the textured background

Pies on Shelves Study

Pies on Shelves Study, Acrylic on board, 11”x14”, $400 ©B. Sistak Baur
A mixture of impasto paints are worked together with palette knives to create the pie tops.

Kiwis and Strawberries

Kiwis and Strawberries, Acrylic on board, 11”x14”, $400 © B. Sistak Baur
The textured field sets off the fruit tart that features textured strawberries contrasted with calm kiwis.

Sweet Bun II & III

Sweet Bun II, Acrylic on canvas on board, 9”x12”, © B. Sistak Baur
Raw canvas is cut a single bakery shape which sits on an abstract shelf also make of canvas. All is of is painted abstractly and other medium is drizzled for the “glazing.”

Sweet Bun III, Acrylic on canvas on board, 9”x12” © B. Sistak Baur

Marble Cake with Chocolate Leaves

Marble Cake with Chocolate Leaves, Acrylic on board, 11”x14”, $400 © B. Sistak Baur

Modeling paste mixed with paint and other mediums create the leaves on this marble cake. Do you think it will fly away?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Art-Throb™--Dole Mansion

My life-drawing group, Valley Art Club, has a show of work created during workshop time. It is at the Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake, IL. It will be on display the month of April, 2009. The Dole Mansion is now an art center with studios and galleries throughout.

First Friday
The Dole Mansion is a great place to visit, especially on first Fridays of the month when the artists there host a reception around the current exhibits. It is complete with good, drink and a festive atmosphere.

It is actually called the Lakeside Legacy Arts Park but everyone just calls it the Dole.

By the way, Art-Throb™ is the term I use to describe a great place or places to enjoy an art experience. I hope to see you at an art event soon.

The Sketchbook Project at Brooklyn Art Library (Video)

Update:  I just discovered that there was fire involving the sketchbooks in the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project in February, 2022 --...