Monday, July 27, 2009

Art Fairs -- 2009 Gold Coast, Chicago, 7/31, 8/1, 8/2

If you are going the Gold Coast Art Fair, I am on Erie St., right in the middle somewhere. Booth number 234. It is this weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 31, August 1 and 2. It is located at Superior, Huron and Erie between Clark and Wells.

From the website: Heralded as the “Grand Daddy” of American art festivals, the Gold Coast Art Fair is celebrating more than 50 years of wowing Chicago. As one of the most highly attended art fairs in the city, The Gold Coast River North Art Fair annually attracts over 300 juried artists and 600,000 visitors from locations around the world. The free festival is set along city streets and sidewalks in the gallery-filled neighborhood; a world-class creative and cultural experience.
I am in booth number 234.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The 15 Unforgettable Life-Lessons I Learned During My First Art Fair Season

Some of you may know that last year was my first year in the Art Fair business. It has been quite an experience. Recently, a friend of mine asked me to “report in” on how my first year in the art fair business went. So, I decided to give it a go. Here it is – “The 15 Unforgettable Life-Lessons I Learned During My First Art Fair Season”.

1. How when I saw the truck fully loaded with panels, chairs, the tent, tubs of equipment and a few paintings thrown in on top of it all, is when I truly grasped the concept of “overhead.”

2. How you shouldn’t make the 500-artist show your first show. By yourself. Far away from home. ( I didn’t mean to, but I was “blown out” of my first, first show.)

3. What is feels like to be trapped under a blown-over tent and debris during a micro-burst. (Or, when someone tells you to take the artwork off the walls because a storm is coming, leave immediately.)

4. How easy is it to get a “free” charge card merchant account (and then find out how much it really costs you).

5. How heavy those tent weights really are. (And, I still don’t have enough of them.)
6. That 6 feet 7 inches is truly out of reach. (Even on my toes, no matter how hard I stretch.)

7. How little sleep you can get and still put up a display and talk to customers. (Note to self: don’t try that again.)

8. What a hard, 16-hour day really feels like. (It ain’t like the office!)

9. How April, May, June and ½ of July were a nightmare. (But how during the second half of July, August and Sept, I felt like a pro.)

10. The shock I felt when other artists started asking ME for advice (They must have mistaken my “finally, I know how to put this thing up in less than 3 hours” look for “seasoned.”)
11. How gratified I felt when the local museum purchased a painting. (It was the only sale that day but what a good one!)

12. How my fear of talking to people who came into my booth morphed into a steady sales prattle. (I don’t know how many customers I scared away!)

13. How confused I am when people comment to me, “how relaxing you must find painting.” (I fret over ever piece!)

14. How it feels to be not “just” an artist, but, rather, an art business entrepreneur.

15. Most unforgettable are the people that helped along the way. And, of course, my husband, who -- I can’t believe it -- actually fixes mangled display panels, builds shelves for the art truck and encourages me to keep going.

I hope to see and meet many of you this summer -- my second year in the art fair business!
And don't forget to visit my website:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What is Art?

Having thought about this over the years, I am going with this definition for the time being --

Art is a commentary. It is a comment on something. That comment may speak to someone else -- and that is the connection whether it is joy, insight, mystery, enlightenment, delight, sorrow and so on. It can be executed with any method. We don't always understand the comment. Sometimes, we do not value the comment.

I am less sure on the "skill" side of art. Here is my shot at it --
Skill, craftsman-ship, elements of drawing, handling of materials- all of these are the tools of the artist just as hammers and saws are tools for the carpenter. The better-skilled artist may be able to execute the art/comment to a higher degree of quality/clarity/intent.

That's my very short, 2 cents.

How this fits into art fairs is my current ideological struggle. Art fairs are all about money which is good because we need money to survive. When does art become "product" and no longer art? I don't know. I do find this troubling. When I am overwhelmed by the question, I look to my personal models who do create art and do very well at it. I achieve some clarity from that reflection.

That's my other 2 cents.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Art Fairs -- St. Joe, MI and Geneva, IL

There are two Art Fairs coming up in July 2009 that I will be a part of --

KRASL Art Fair on the Bluff in St. Joseph, Michigan, July 11 and 12. This art fair is produced by the KRASL Art Center and is in the top 100 art fairs rated by Sunshine Artist magazine. I have never been to St. Joe but have heard wonderful things about it. The art fair is along the lake front so that should be beautiful. And there is great shopping in the quaint downtown. I am looking forward to it.

Geneva Arts Fair in Geneva, IL, July 25-26. The Geneva Chamber of Commerce sponsors this art fair. Geneva is a popular destination. Victorian homes-turned-businesses in the downtown historic district serve as a picturesque backdrop for shopping at the fine arts show. Voted “Best Craft or Art Show” in 2008 by West Suburban Living magazine, this is the 7th year for this art fair.

Cupcake Field II

Cupcake Field II, 9"x12", $300

Maybe you've heard -- cupcakes are all the rage. This all started when a mosaic artist created a portrait of Barrack Obama and Abraham Lincoln with cupcakes. Now, nearly everywhere you look, you see cupcakes evoking President Obama by some means. And, it was reported in all the major news outlets that Michelle actually served cupcakes (made with honey, not sugar, I understand) along side her veggies.

Call me obtuse or just very busy but this whole cupcake frenzy passed me by -- until I got to the art fairs. People come into my booth and insist on seeing the cupcake paintings. "Excuse me?," I'd respond. It took me a while to catch on.

Now, the fact of the matter is, I have several cupcake paintings. But I painted them (or at least started them) last fall as a step in my progression through my painting series --- way before the cupcake-mania hit. And frankly, I didn't always show them, not having room for every painting. Well, I guess that will change now. Shown here is one my cupcake paintings (I have more online). It is called Cupcake Field II. There is a II in the name because, in fact, I have created more than one. The reason is that I like the process I used and wanted to experience it again (I often do that) -- not because of the popularity of cupcakes.

I was attracted to this scene because of the rhythm, repetition and endlessness of the cupcakes. It is actually the cupcake tops that are featured as they swirl through the scene with no end in sight. The tops are the most interesting part. I used heavy impasto paint. The thickener I used is slightly granular, reminding me of the icing I created as a child, mistakenly using regular sugar instead of the powdered variety.

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 --...