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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Orchestrating a Unique Art Event (Show Prep 101)

Today's art market is in flux. The old model of buying and selling art is a senior citizen, still alive but slowly moving towards the end of its life. The new model is still an infant only starting to grow and take shape. There are things the infant can learn from the elder.

As I near the planning for my first major showing, I've set aside my preconceived notions of what an art event should be and tried to create something new and different.

What is resulting is something new and extraordinary in the New Orleans art market. I've had a lot of people come to me in the past weeks saying one thing about the show. "This is different". That is exactly what I want to hear.

But what makes it different from other shows and what can artists learn from it?

I think the first lesson is that there is strength in numbers. I know for a fact that I as an artist would not have a single chance of pulling of an event of this type if I were doing and showing alone. It is in the resources of all the people involved that are making it a strong and doable event.

Second is that it is that is serving two distinct purposes. Its giving artists a professional way to be seen, but its also serving as a teaching tool for those artists to learn from. Everything is about teaching the right and wrong way to promote your art without the access and tools a gallery may provide.

Third is that I am taking a tiered approach to its set up. I have three tiers. Primary Artists, Emerging Artists and Special Guests. Primary Artists are promoted heavily. Their names carry a certain amount of weight in the art community and draw a larger crowd. Emerging Artists are new to showing their work, usually restricted to small venues and popup shows. Special Guests are creatives that fit into the larger scheme of a creative event and can be called artists in their own rights. These includes authors, actors and singers.

Fourth and the most important is creativity. A creative approach to any showing should be the most crucial aspect.Your an artist after all. If you leave it up to others then your creativity and personal brand will not shine within the event.

I have been accused of sometimes going overboard on events such as this. But what people don't grasp is that you have to give 110% of yourself if you want your event to be successful. Mind you going overboard doesn't mean adding needless components to your show. It means giving a thoughtful, concise and creative solution to bring people to the event.

As I've said before, a lot of what these details are never even handled by the artist but rather by the gallery. In some ways a show put on by the artist is so much deeper because we have total creative control. In a gallery show they have that control. While the artist may have input into the process, the gallery makes the final decisions. This can be good because it allows the artist to focus on his art, but its also bad because it removes the art from the event. In the end the most crucial aspect of putting on your own show is to not forget the creative when your detailing with the administrative. That is the difference between success and failure.


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