Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree sums up this years Art style. I did come up with a style change in the vertical staffs. In the past they have all been square. For the staffs for this artwork I cut round dowels into half rounds. Nothing special, just interesting to make those small changes that add up to bigger movements in this Art. Those four words “small changes….add up” have always been what pushes this Art forward.
The photograph of this final image is not bad. It comes close to capturing the look of the aluminum frame and of the coarse Pearl paint I used on the two canvases. To improve the accuracy of the image I did have to cut back on the contrast of the entire work. This dimmed the whites especially noticeable in the backgrounds of the words. I can still perked up the whites in Photoshop, to improve the accuracy of the prints. I do sell my Art as prints on Etsy and Amazon. Although, I need not rush to do so, for I have never sold a Christmas print.
Of interest I have entered this artwork, a first for a Christmas painting, in The Center for the Visual Arts 2019 29th Annual Midwest Seasons Prospectus, on the very last day of eligibility. In the information brochure it states:
“Original works should draw inspiration from Midwest seasonal impressions and
activities: i.e., the excitement of summer sports,
the fresh scents of spring awakenings, the
warmth of a cup of hot soup in the bitter winter,
or the crisp air in the autumn colors.
Interpretations of the season may be broad and
entries are not limited to representational works”
I believe I meet this criteria for the Christmas season is a season in the Midwest, and my artwork comes from a popular Christmas song. After 28 years of jurors I am pretty sure those who know this show probably have seen every take on what the look of our weather is in Wisconsin, accept, in truth, not the way I present it. That than may be a problem: this Art is different and unknown. My take than is that no matter who jurors the 29th show including any of the last 28 jurors, the 29 juror will also reject this art. A generic rejection notice bothers me less than the lost of my entrance fee of 25 bucks, which bothers me a lot less than not trying.
I see this art as too different from what is popular at Art Fairs, and not understood enough to be exhibited constantly in local area Art exhibitions. Over the last couple of years, against my own instincts, I have tried to market my art through Art Fairs. I have had some success and a few sales. Those buyers both connect to the music and find my pricing , under 300 dollars, in their range. I have also gradually lowered my pricing and the size of my works to be more in tuned with these type of price conscience buyers. Unfortunately, the effect of these moves did not lead to more sales. Instead, I feel Art Fairs have actually undercut the direction, the value, and stunted this Art’s growth.
My experiences with Art Fairs along with discussions with veteran vendors has lead me to believe that Art Fairs from year to year don’t really change, they only reset back to zero each year. Art Fairs tend to have lots of potential browsers, but I have had only a few buyers and they existed only in their moment in my tent. Art Fairs therefore are like the movie Ground Hog day. That is the reason I wish to abandon Art Fairs. I do not feel Art Fairs and those buyers will ever connect me to the larger world of high Contemporary Art. Ironically, Art Fairs that can do that are only the large Gallery supported Art Fairs.
Currently, I have no connections to any large Galleries so that leaves me with the option that started this blog post: participating in Call-for-Artists exhibits. These exhibits open the door to another group of supporters that don’t go to Art Fairs, and only occasionally go to Art exhibitions if they are a supporting member. The difference between Art Fair browsers and “Call to Artist” Art exhibition supporters is the level of interest in today’s Art. Buyers interested in contemporary Art attend Art exhibitions. Art Fair goers are browsers interested in craft works and a lot interested in connecting to an artwork. Even if some Art exhibit attendees see only an investment, there will always be a few others that buy Art because they believe. Even though they are much fewer in numbers than Art Fair goers, and at times are difficult to deal with, they do, at less in spirit, support the Arts. Maybe not with their money, (let’s be real here) but certainly with their words and their egos. This than offers a small opening to greater opportunities as long as I can self-support this Art. Since I can I can therefore play the juror game knowing that Art exhibitions, can offer doors that may open out to a wider audiences and bigger opportunities. Unlike Art Fairs, there are no doors, only my tent opening, to a closet I never wanted to be in.
And, if I make the 29 Annual Midwest Seasons Prospectus show, praise Jesus, you never know what new opportunity may be ahead. I need to stay focused, participate, and continue to make all those small changes. When everything is added up, I may be surprised by the doors I walked through, and the doors I open on my own. It all starts with baby steps, baby.
Scott Von Holzen