Saturday, June 06, 2009

Gallery Hop and a quick pro artist lesson

Pop quiz: You've gotten your art degree and one of your first gallery showings. One of the attendees at your show is someone who has been in the business for 20 years. Do you:

A. Chat this professional up to see what morsels of advice may be spewed  forth that could be relatable to you and your career path of choice
B. Chat this professional up because you never know who has connections...or may have connections in the future.
C. Dismiss this professional as soon as you discover their professional status and go drink cheap, warm beer with your buds.
D. A & B

Wanna guess what happened to me during the gallery hop last night?

So we head up to the monthly First Friday Gallery Hop in Covington KY last night. You know the drill; free wine and snacks, mostly good art, great company, fabulous networking opportunities, blah, blah, blah. *note* If you haven't done so I recommend reading my guest blog on Apex Books site regarding my experiences with artists and galleries here.

We start out at the Artisans Enterprise Center which is the hub of the Covington arts scene to say hi to the Arts District MAnager Natalie. The theme for the night was Re-cycled art which was nice. We were also happy to see a larger turn-out. While there Natalie told us about their Halloween themed shows. She has told us that she wants my work in one of the galleries for the October shows (details coming soon) and had mentioned a haunted house but last night she informed us of an art themed Zombie Walk! As long as our schedule allows we'll be volunteering.

From there we're onto Encore for a quick visit with Karen and displaying artist Holland Davidson. Rumor has it Encore is interested in displaying some of my fine art (meaning non-horror art) sometime this year. Details coming soon as well.

Before proceeding I think I must make clear my stand on art. Art is in the eye of the beholder. I don't like all art. Well, actually, if I don't like it I don't consider it art in most cases. Like Warhol for example. Or Dada. But it's my opinion and I would never consider arguing what is good art and what is bad art because all art is all a matter of opinion. And I would never slam someone else's talents or percieved lack of in public. But one's lack of professionalism is fair game...

And now to the MarX Gallery. We walk in and look around. The art is wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. There are ripped up inflatable riding toys shoved into wooden crates. An old phone. A beer keg. A large Star Wars action figure glued to a board. A Pee Wee Herman doll nailed to the wall. A fairly nice city scape hung sideways.  And one pretty cool painting of a Lego version of Abraham Lincoln. Not my cup o' tea but hey, who gives a shit about what I think but me (see previous paragraph), right?

A young guy approaches and we begin to chat. He is one of four artists displaying that night. He tells us he's graduating with his MFA and this is one of their first shows. So I give him a card telling him I'm a professional artist. We notice his interest begin to fade, especially after he sees the pic of Zombie Sam on the card. We tell him how great things are for the arts scene in the area now compared to how they were when we first moved there. How I couldn't get the time of day from a gallery because I didn't go to school (see the Apex blog) but now I have two, possibly 4 gallery shows. BANG! Right there's when we totally lost him. He began looking over our shoulders. His side of the conversation stops. And all it took was me mentioning I never went to school. 

He may have missed an opportunity to further his profession. He didn't know who I was. He doesn't know who I will be. But I was dismissed. Possibly deemed unworthy. Here's the lesson to be learned: When you dismiss people, slam them, talk about or treat them badly you are burning a bridge. You never know if that artist you consider lacking in talent will someday become the curator of that hot, new gallery you want in or art director for that top-notch, top-paying book company.  At least be courteous to everyone. You never know...

Case in point: Later we end up at a small military museum on the gallery route who has local author Ellen Everman peddling copies of her book Pink Dice. During the conversation we tell her about my book and graphic novel that's coming out and we begin to pick up some advice from her on interviewing and such. But soon we're giving her advice on marketing. It's that give and take. Always be open and always be forthcoming. 

From there it's next door to Covington Clay. Owner Rick Hoffman is working on an installation piece called First Amendment Friday. Gallery hoppers stop by and make two ceramic tiles. The gallery keeps one and you get one. After the gallery has collected over 800 tiles they will be used for an art piece in the city. We made ours last hop and stopped by to pick them up. 

That's my contribution in the top right corner. My very first clay sculpture!

From there what is possibly the highlight of our gallery hops: A visit to our little gold mine of a restaurant AmerAsia. If you're ever in the area check this little gem out. Not much to look at but the food is spectacular! And the service is outstanding. So if anyone ever wants to meet me for dinner this is where I'll be taking you!

So kids always be kind to strangers. You never know when they'll be the hand that's feeding you in the future!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are so right, Billy. It was great fun to meet you and your very cool wife. I hope you're both well. Ellen