Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bad Artitude

Over this morning’s breakfast of Fruity Cheerios, I flipped through a 2-year-old magazine. This issue contained an article entitled, “Braving the New Art World.” I’m assuming that the economic “downturn” that occurred since this article was published has given this new art world a kick in the pants. Perhaps there are fewer buyers (read investors) these days, but I’m guessing that the attitude is still there.

The hedge fund managers that the article states are the ones tossing money at celebrity artists have probably done an about face. No doubt their purchasing power has been replaced by another group of those art buyers who must show the world they have deep pockets and high, selective taste. I am not a part of this group. Nor will I ever be. Yeah, I know, never say never. But I do not think I will ever have the money or the bad artitude to collect with impunity. My desire is to LOVE what I purchase. Or, at least to love what I may not be able to purchase. I do not wish to collect to show others that I have the means to collect. I have no desire to place an investment on my wall, no matter how trendy, to gaze at every day.

I would rather attend my local art fair (which isn’t really all that local, its just nearby), than wear some lacerating high heels and Prada attire to patronize Art Basel Miami Beach with a pack of hoity toities in similar garb. Art buying is not a “scene,” at least not for me. I do not feel the need to have my artwork assault me with images of evisceration, rape, or feces, disturbing art being quite popular these days. On the other hand, I do not want a work I’m considering purchasing to require a user’s manual to understand its deeper than deep meaning, also quite popular these days.

This article informs me that I must do a lot of research before I am educated enough to considering purchasing art. I must visit dozens (at least) of galleries to see the “newest, most compelling work,” first. I’ve got to read the art magazines and ask questions in museums and at those dozens (hundreds) of galleries. Then, and ONLY then, can I try to prove my worthiness to a gallery owner. Heaven forbid I just walk into a gallery with cash falling from my pockets and orifices. The dealer wants to sell to important collectors. Those whose names “everybody” knows. Not to little ole me. Gosh, I’m so stupid. I don’t even know any “important” collectors, let alone be one myself. If little ole me is lucky, I could get put at the bottom of a waiting list. For an important all-white work of monkeys being eviscerated. That may or may not come with an owner's manual for understanding. Now, if I’m lucky, really lucky, I could get on the waiting list to purchase a half-million dollar work of a handful of words stenciled on a white canvas in black letters. What the . . . ? I could go to the local sign-maker and have him whip me up something for $30.00. But then when I threw a wing ding at my home, I couldn’t just say “Look here, I have a piece by Ed the Signmaker.” No one would give a sh*t. And frankly, in the crowd I hang in, no one would give a sh*t if I owned the $500,000 piece. Perhaps I just have a bad artitude. I refuse to give into this elitist thinking in regard to art. I’m one of the lowly idiots that thinks art is an expression rather than a commodity.

Then, there is the matter of the required, page-long artist statement. Overworked artist’s statements just leave me exhausted. I just can’t make the connection between an artist being able to use the words context, dichotomy, manifested, inferred, ostensible, divergent, conceptual, and juxtaposition, and fine art itself. Are artist’s statements that use such words just a method for weeding out the weak-minded. These statements imply “If you don’t get it, you don’t deserve to have it. Fool.” If an artist talking about his or her work causes my dictionary to burst into flames, well it just isn’t worth it to me. I’ll never make it in this world as a collector.

The word dichotomy is a must-use word in artist’s statements. Wanna know what it means. My not-so-trusty old American Heritage dictionary defines it as:

1. Division into two usually contradictory parts or opinions; schism. 2. The division or subdivision of a class into two mutually exclusive groups.

So, there you have it. Art buyers can be divided into two mutually exclusive groups. Those who buy it because they love it, and those who buy it just to impress others. Am I making this too simple? You tell me. Am I right? Or do I just have a bad artitude?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

One of those Dang Quizzes

A friend of mine tagged me with one of those Facebook quizzes. And then I was supposed to tag 25 other people. I decided I was far too lazy for all of that. I did answer the questions though. So here they are:

1. What time did you get up this morning?
6:45 (yes, on a Sunday)

2. How do you like your steak?
medium rare

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Weeds - at present. Frank's Place - all time favorite.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
New Orleans – without the crime

6. What did you have for breakfast?
Fruity Cheerios

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

8. What foods do you dislike?
Oversalted junk from chain restaurants

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
Home with food cooked by my husband

10. Favorite dressing?
Otto’s restaurant Maple Balsamic

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?
Honda Pilot

12. What are your favorite clothes?
Jeans, cool shirts, black boots

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
Lots of places: New York, New Orleans, China, Africa, any European country

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
1/2 empty

15. Where would you want to retire?
Paris with nice people (but would it still be Paris?), New Orleans (without the crime), New York. All three.

16. Favorite time of day?

17. Where were you born?
Roanoke, Va

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Most any Olympic event. Don’t like sports much when it is not for an Olympic medal

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?
This question is irrelevant

20. Person you expect to tag you back first?
This question is irrelevant, too.

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?

22. Bird watcher?
Yes, on an amateur level. Bunny and chipmunk watcher, too. And other cute creatures.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Morning. Didn’t I kind of answer this already?

24. Do you have any pets?
1 cat and 1 obnoxious dog.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?
Not at this time.

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
Artist, architect (even though I didn’t know what you called them at the time), stand up comedian.

27. What is your best childhood memory?
Dinner at my grandparents’ houses.

28. Are you a cat or dog person?

9. Are you married?

30. Always wear your seat belt?

31. Been in a car accident?
Only minor ones

32. Any pet peeves?
Rude people, public spitting, ignorance as a choice

33. Favorite Pizza Topping?
Bacon w/ red onions

34. Favorite Flower?

35. Favorite ice cream?

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?

38. From whom did you get your last email?
Obama’s people

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
An art gallery

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
Made art

41. Like your job?
I love it, though the pay is bad

42. Broccoli?

43. What was your favorite vacation?
I’m not sure I’ve had a bad one. If I did, I’ve forgotten it.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
My husband

45. What are you listening to right now?
My husband reading bedtime stories to my daughter

46.Favorite Colors?
Brown and orange

47. How many tattoos do you have?

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?
Not gonna do that

49. What time did you finish this quiz?
8:15 pm

50. Coffee Drinker?
Shouldn’t drink it, but I slip frequently. Gotta have a vice or two (or three or . . .)

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Nose, a Bird, a Book

Born a Poet, 6.5 x 4.5", on Etsy.

Thank you everyone for your comments of concern on my recent nose issues. Or should I say issues from my nose? What fun! After two visits to two doctors yesterday, I had a blood vessel cauterized and am now, for the most part, retaining my blood. I was told all the fun would be over by today. I do plan on venturing out later on today. Yesterday, I refused to leave the house (except to visit said doctors) out of the fear of scarring children who might see a horror movie they hadn't planned on seeing.

So, as far as I know, there is no brain tumor. One thinks all kinds of things when one's head is being emptied of blood.

Sorry if I made anyone twitchy.

Thanks to Susan who purchased my bird piece, Better World, the other day. I do intend on getting that out in the mail today, provided my nose cooperates.

On a non-related subject, I have just finished a great book, Nine Lives by Dan Baum. A "fictionalized" account of the lives of nine New Orleanians from the time of Hurricane Betsy to after Hurricane Katrina. The stories and people are true. Highly recommended for those who have an interest in New Orleans. Reading this book reminded me of an earlier intent, or promise, to have proceeds of my series of
New Orleans quilts donated to a New Orleans charitable organization. I have not put that idea out of my mind, just postponed it for a while. First, I would like the economy to perk up a bit. Second, I would like to add at least four more pieces to the series. Third, I need to select an appropriate organization. Fourth, I need to make some sort of contacts to get this idea out there. So the idea is still brewing -- it has not been abandoned.

So, I'm always looking for:

nosebleed info
good books to read
charitable organizations in New Orleans.

If anybody can combine all of that, all the better.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Kind of Home Movie

So, I was going to post a photo from the movie "Carrie". However, I thought it might frighten too many readers. I'll just talk about it instead. And maybe get some medical information at the same time.

Tuesday morning, I had a nosebleed. I've had a few in the distant past. Didn't worry too much. Yesterday morning, I had another nosebleed. A little messier. I got a bit irritated. Last night, during President Obama's Press Conference, I had a really nasty one. While I'm willing to pay up to have a better health care system in our country, I hadn't counted on paying through the nose at this point. Twenty minutes and two ice cubes later, it was done and I went to bed. With a towel beside my head. At four thirty this morning, I experienced a red waterfall and I haven't been quite the same since.

I'm going to the doc this morning. After I get back, I'll finish cleaning the bathroom. Aaah, Sissy Spacek would be proud of me.

Why go out for a horror movie when you can be part of one in your own home?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Newest (Sort-of) Little Birds

All of the little bird pieces, except for two, returned from my little show at Happy Valley Optical. So now the unsold pieces will begin to appear on Etsy. Kind of like birds congregating on a wire. One by one, or two by two, they will fly in.

These birds pieces are a bit larger than the others at 7.5 x 7.5".

I will soon be having a "large" show at Happy Valley Optical. For approximately three months. The small show involved sharing space with two other artists, which forced me to bring smallish pieces. As I will have the entire shop for the large show (aside from eyewear), I will be able to bring larger pieces.

Depending on when the present artist vacates, I will be in the gallery fairly soon. However, I will NOT procrastinate in preparing. I am an incredible procrastinator. I spent this morning attaching hangers to the backs of several pieces. Some of these pieces were completed two years ago. Hangers are only being attached now. I do procrastinate. Then, I went to the dreaded place. The place which shall not be named. Well, ok . . .Lowe's for strips of wood for hanging. I shudder to think of that place. I made need to go back and return the wood for narrower strips. I wonder how long I can put that off.

Anyway, have a closer look at Etsy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Old Piece

Woodland's Edge, 16 x 16"

This is my newest piece, now for sale on Etsy. It is not officially a new piece, just a newly completed piece. This one has been sitting on a chair, under a piece of foamboard, under another unfinished piece on another piece of foamboard. Since I wrapped up everything before the Happy Valley Optical show and completely cleaned my studio, I figured I would rather finish up a couple of older pieces before I started something completely new.

I know that "Woodland's Edge" is not the most original name ever, but it burrowed into my head and stayed there and so it is now named. I LOVE these colors together. At last year's Arts Festival, a mosaic artist had a large, stunning piece comprised of nothing but browns and bluish purples. I had to do something with those colors. After the show, I did. And it sold. Quickly.

Here's hoping for a reprise.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Contact the Artist for Pricing Information

Bright Spot, 10.5 x 10.x", $50.00


Is it a secret? Are you embarrassed to be asking so much? Or so little? Do you think it is rude to put a price on your work? Are you going to ask a higher price of someone? “Say, I don’t know you or like you, so I’m going to have you pay, um, let’s see, um, 50% more than someone I know and/or like”.

Suppose other businesses did this.

Say I want to buy some shipping envelopes. I get online and find what I want and discover I have to contact the company to get a price. What would you do? I would probably search for another company. Why would this be much different for artists?

Sure, your work is unique and I (probably) won’t find anything else like it. But, what if I contact you and find out that I could buy a SUV for the same price. I would be a little embarrassed. Would you really want to embarrass those who bother to contact you? If I think, just by your not posting your prices, that I would not be able to afford your work, I’m probably going to surf on and look at other art. I might want to come back to your site, but by now I’ve looked at so many other sites, I cannot remember your name.

Oh well.

There is so much artwork crowding the internet these days. Why wouldn’t you want to give prospective buyers all of the information they could want?

And just maybe your art IS affordable. But so is the artwork of the next artist whose work I fall in love with. You’ve made me contact you for pricing. Maybe I did attempt to contact you but have not heard from you yet. This other artist did not make me contact them. I like both artists equally well. Guess whose work I will probably purchase.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fantastic Arts Festival

I can't believe I haven't posted a blog in a week. But I have been busy. Not working at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, but pretty much living there for the past four days. Shown here are a few of our purchases. We bought several gifts, but I didn't want to show them here just in case a family member decides to read my blog.

I will share with you a few of my favorite artists and crafts people.

My birthday gift from my husband is the oil painting on the left. John Maurer's paintings brought out the stalker in me. I circled this painting for three days like a buzzard. Every year, I purchase a bagful of gifts and refrigerator magnets from Creative Works. I really, really just want to move into their booth, or maybe have their booth move into my home. Another stalking moment was brought on by the jewelry of Olga Ganoudis. My necklace is shown draped over an elephant papercut by Jupi Das. Not pictured (because I am wearing them) are earrings by Staci Egan of Contempo Jewelry. Also not pictured (because I did not have enough money) are awesome works by batik artist Chuck Kaiser, and woodcut artist Jenny Pope.

I wish to win the lottery and do it all again. I am always so sad when the festival is over. I have great appreciation for the artists than can deal with doing these shows. I can't imagine enduring the loading, travel, set up, constant dealing with customers, festival food, heat, insects, hotels, tear down, loading, travel.

I am surprised at so many of the comments I hear at these festivals:

Can I get that any cheaper?
I can make that myself!
How long does it take to make that?
I bet that only takes an hour to make.
If they were real artists, their work would be in a gallery.
What an easy life to travel and sell art.
My kid could do that!
Why does that cost so much?
I almost made it through the festival without buying anything.

I am surprised at the rudeness I saw . . . which is worse, a customer smoking in someone's tent or licking a dripping ice cream cone over someone's work?

If there are any festival artists that read this blog, I bow to you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Favorite Artist

Here is a photo of my favorite artist at work. My seven-year-old daughter Lily. I can't determine whether creating, acting or reading is at the top of her list. I guess it just depends on her mood.

For the past two weeks she went to the Penn State art camp for kids. The morning session was "Bugs" and the afternoon session was "Endangered Species". Regardless of the name, much creating was done. Which was fine by my daughter.

Last Friday, there were two art exhibits for her camps. I attended the morning event and hubby went in the afternoon. Between both classes, here is what we brought home:

I must say that my daughter was quite, uh, prolific. This "pile" does not include the artwork that is hanging on the shelves behind the table. Nor does it include the "panda" sculpture from the Endangered Species camp. I call it "Demento", but I am looking for better names.
When it came home from camp, my daughter and I talked about it for a few minutes, then I set in down on the kitchen counter. Later that night, when we were sure she was asleep, we looked at Demento together and, well, laughed. Hard and loud. But it was created by Lily and that makes it sweet. Almost. It looks almost as if it were created by two different people. Or, at least, two different personalities.

So, if anyone has a better name for this creature, please let me know.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More Talent in Their Little Fingers

It is Sunday. For some, the beginning of a new week. For others, the last day of the weekend. For me, the week starts on Monday. But this week is special. It is Arts Fest week. My favorite week of the year. So I will start it early. Today. Sunday.

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts brings over 300 artists to my town. Good artists. Half of the festival is on the Penn State campus, the rest runs through several blocks near the campus. Since I live a half-block from campus, I have no excuse for not attending. So I attend every day. Sometimes several times in one day. I’ve been doing extra walking the last couple of weeks to get into shape for this event.

It is an exciting and humbling experience. Sure there are always a couple of artists I feel on par with, but the majority are inspiring and sometimes intimidating. I guess that is good thing. I plan on sharing my favorite artists with readers later in the week, but I thought I would get in a little practice today.

Today is a beautiful day. The kind of day you wake up to chirping birds and sunshine. The kind of day that makes you want to jump out of bed and get going. So that is just what I did today. I got on the computer and got going (yes, I will go outside later). I spent this morning looking for inspiration and talent, and darned if I didn’t find it.

For several weeks now, my favorite blogs sidebar has included The Cart Before the Horse. I can say that the artists make stuffed dolls. That would be like saying the Sahara Desert has a bit of sand. Jo James and her husband Dylan Curry (and their children) are amazing artists. I spent this lovely morning exploring their blogs, Ebay store, music videos, etc.

This morning I woke up feeling like a talented artist. Now, I’m thinking of what I can do to get just a small piece of one of their pinkie fingers in order to get some REAL talent. I have to say, I felt a little down a while ago. Why was the motherlode of talent dropped on their family? But now, I just get to sit back and enjoy it, revel in it, swim in it. Someone else has to create it.

Go on and have a look. Expect to spend a bit of time.

The Cart Before the Horse
Paperhand Lincoln

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cloak of Invisibility

We've been into Harry Potter around here lately. My daughter has seen the movie (at least four times) and plays parts of the movie out throughout the day. She is now running around in her cloak of invisibility.

I feel as if I've been wearing that cloak lately. I've sent several emails out about joining Etsy teams, about being interviewed for a made-in-Pennsylvania group, and questions of Etsy sellers. No responses. Perhaps I'm a bit curt in my requests. I don't know. And now I've just discovered that one of my favorite blogs has just become members only. There's just something that felt like I was going to visit a friend and having them shut the door in my face. Not that they ever paid a visit to my blog and left a message. But that's ok. I guess they did not want me or others like me peaking in on their life. But why the hell have a blog? I guess I'll go and remove them from my blog list.

I do want to thank those that come and read my blog and especially those that leave comments. I do not take you for granted. I promise to do my best to entertain you in the future. And when I fail and do nothing but complain, like today, I apologize.

Perhaps my crankiness is brought on by two days of non-creativity. I am trying to get ready for my little show. I've spent two days attaching hangers and doing paperwork. Today I must do price tags and label all my work. More of that tomorrow. I hang everything up on Monday or Tuesday & I guess Wednesday will be saved for catching up on the things that will fall through the cracks before Wednesday.

Thursday begins the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. Christmas in July! 325 artists! Four days of art, bands, and bad food. I love it! I'll only come home to shower and sleep. It will be an inspiring event, but it will be over a week before I have the chance to create anything new.

Hopefully, I can regale you with info. on my favorite artists.