Sunday, September 24, 2017

Festivals and what they can really mean.

When everyone thinks of an art festival many think of it as a place to sell your work. This is true, for many it is their main way to offer their work to the world and bring in an income. They are hard work and take a great deal of time but for many they are work the sweat and tears.

However for me at least I also try to use it for other needs in my life as an artist. Over the years I have made contacts of all types through the shows. I have met artist, made friends, and been introduced to customers. These are golden gifts I treasure. Every person has a story and something to offer, even if it is only a chance for me to make them smile or them to do the same for me.

At festivals I have met Senators, Actors, Artists I love, old friends and teachers I lost track of, and CEO's. The Art festival is often a magical time when politics, religion, or other factors can be set aside for the enjoyment of Art and a fine day with friends and neighbors. I like this.

I talk to people see what they like and dislike, not only of my own work but over all. I learn about people as a whole. As such I learn my Audience, my community, and about myself.

I also try to demo or educate people about my work or the work of those that came before me. Most do not know the history of ceramics or of set types of objects so this gives them a connection to them. Often I get to see interest and curiosity grow and I know that they want to learn more. So when I have the chance to plant a seed in someone for the search of knowledge I am exited.

All of these things are not why I make my art to start with. But I do find that they are a factor in what inspire me. Because once I get home, often before I am even rested up I am itching to create new things. Not just because I have to replace what was sold but because a person's story triggered an idea or challenge.

For me a festival is a hotbed of inspiration, not from other artists but from the visitors and people that I meet.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Fire can damage or create.

Like many things in this world fire (one of the oldest technologies) can be both a destructive force or a creative one. Every Potter has a love hate relationship with this. None more so then Raku Artists. All pottery must go through the firing processes. This is a traumatic time for every pieces with most making the transition from green-ware to bisque and eventually finished with no problem. Though some have issues or shatter along the way.

With Raku the bisque stage is just the start. Once this happens the artist will decorate the surface and place the piece back into a kiln. However rather then slow heat and cooling the pot is heated rather quickly (often 10-20 min rather then hours) and then snatched out of the still orange/tinted kiln with tongs. It is then either placed in a bin of combustibles and suffocated, or has these combustibles drizzled or poured on it. Many pieces can not withstand this drastic technique, with cracking, chipping, and colors going wrong.

But when the process goes right the effect is magnificent.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Artist can Sell A Place!

When one works and lives art you sometimes start to blend in so much you forget to look at the big picture. While at the same time if you are not part of the art community you may not know how this group of people in every area has a key role to play for the community and often the economy.

Art is Culture, weather the art is your area is Fine Art exclusively or Craft and Outsider Art exclusive or a wonderful blend of all, the culture of a town and the people in it is often expressed in the art. Does your area have a Community Theater? Do they hold Art festivals, Art or Studio Crawls? How many galleries or museums are in a quick drive from you?

These are all things that contribute a great deal to how a community, or neighborhood is seen.

An example of this is the area in Charlotte NC I spent a great deal of time in while in School at UNCC and after when working. This area was known a NODA or North Davidson. This area had once been Mill Worker homes, that later were left to fall into disrepair and gained a very bad reputation as a Slums.  While a YMCA was in the neighborhood the mills had closed and the area became to poor to stay in repair. However this low rent district became a great place for poor artists, students and gallery owners to rent or buy to renovate.

As a group the artists began hosting monthly studio and gallery crawls with artists working out of doors and rental studios being available and showcasing upcoming artists. Close to downtown this area was great for University students and higher class alike however the draw to the area was the art. This became so great a draw new apartments were going up, and the mill houses started to increase in value, so fast artists were no longer able to afford to live or work in this district. Oddly they had worked themselves out of real estate.

Now these displaced artists and galleries have moved to other lower rent and “underserved” areas only to see the same effect happening again.

So while not everyone may be interested in the Trendy shops and galleries please remember these places and Artists have a key role if done right in building back rundown communities.

Just remember Trendy Sells, and Art is Trend.