Sunday, 23 February 2014

My art fair experience

Parallax Art Fair finished yesterday. This was the largest exhibition I've been involved in as of yet, so it was a new experience, and provided great exposure for my work.
Due to other work, including curating a show, I feel that I didn't prepare as far in advance as I should have for Parallax, and I've certainly realised that something on this scale needs more preparation than other shows. I think taking on other shows and responsibilities since agreeing to be part of Parallax might not have been the best idea, and I've realised that in future I need to be more mindful of the workload that I take on.
For consistency, the organisers of Parallax have very specific requirements for how work should be hung. I was under the impression that this wasn't very flexible, and this was the element of the show that caused me the most difficulties, but upon attending the show I noticed that very few people had actually hung their work in the way described by the organisers. If I exhibit at a Parallax event in the future I think I'll be less concerned about
hanging the work in a way that suits me better.
The show was very busy, and during the private view it was difficult to just walk around because it was so crowded. Not every single person at the venue would have seen my work, but I was pleased with the number of visitors. When I attended the fair yesterday a lot of other artists commented to me that it was quieter than they had expected, but there were still a lot of people coming through. The fair was held in Chelsea Town Hall, which is a great location with plenty of foot traffic.
I was really impressed with the huge variety of work and styles in the show. Understandably, not
everything was to my personal taste, but I feel that anyone could have found something they liked. I really enjoyed being involved in a show that was so diverse. The artists showing encompassed so many different styles, backgrounds, and interests, and for me it was great to be part of a show including artists I doubt I'd ever exhibit with otherwise. I feel that my work was exposed to a really diverse audience, and probably to people who would never normally see, or choose to see, my work. In relation to my own tastes, I really liked that there was so much vibrant, colourful work in the show.
It was interesting also to meet other artists, particularly artists from outside of London. Generally artists were friendly and supportive of each other, but one thing that I found really disappointing is that some artists were perfectly happy to leave their flyers in other artist's spaces, stand in other artist's spaces blocking their work whilst talking on the phone or to a visitor, or leaving their belongings in another artist's space. I noticed this happening quite
a lot, and a couple of the artists near to me were culprits. I think that one person in particular was just ignorant rather than genuinely rude, but I was quite surprised that some artists had so little regard for others. Perhaps they were just very concerned with promoting themselves and ensuring that they were seen, but I feel it's a poor attitude to do this at the expense of others.
When I saw an artist putting her own flyers in front of my work and business cards I quite happily moved them into her own space, and I hope that others who found this happening took the same approach. The fact that this was happening is probably just the luck of who I was placed near to, and may not have been an issue with other artists or in other parts of the venue. I don't think this would put me off exhibiting at an event like this in the future, it's just unfortunate.
Sitting in my space yesterday was great because I met a lot of different people and got plenty of feedback and comments from the public, which was really positive for me. Many people asked
questions about the work and made comments, which made me happy. I had quite a good position in the room as my work was at the very back, whereas there were aisles going up the room towards the back, meaning that some people may miss work in one of the aisles, whereas my space was fairly unavoidable.
The pieces I showed were made between 2011 and 2013, including the paintings made in Iceland, and I don't intend to exhibit the same work again in the near future. I have more recent work that I'm pleased with, and I feel that the work with weathering is continue to develop in new ways, so I'd like to focus on that for now. Furthermore, I don't want every show I have to be repetitive and only show the same work. These pieces have all been exhibited at least three times, and I feel that this is enough.
Unfortunately I didn't make any sales at the show, but I feel this was a really valuable experience in terms of exposure for my work. The fair was quite different to the exhibitions I usually take part in, so it was a new experience for me. I'm really pleased that
I was given the opportunity to take part, and I hope that the exposure my work gained will pay off in the future.
On the whole this was a really positive experience, and I would be interested in exhibiting with Parallax again in the future. I really enjoyed seeing the other work in the show, and will definitely attend future fairs as a visitor. It's exciting to see so much work in one place, and to be exposed to so many different artists all at once. If I exhibit in the future I'll definitely prioritise this show over other work and be more sensible with my preparations. I've been working towards this show since December, and now that it's over I'm looking forward to working on new exhibitions and projects.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Exhibitions this week

"Expression", the show I've curated for Camden Image Gallery, opened on Saturday night, and I got a lot of really good feedback from both visitors and the artists involved. It was a lot of work but I'm really pleased with the quality of the work in the show, and I think it looks great. The show is now open to the public until 1st March, so please do go along and see the variety of work.

I'm also exhibiting at Parallax Art Fair later this week, and am now preparing my work for hanging there. I'm really happy that I was offered this opportunity, and I'm looking forward to setting up and the private view on Thursday night. Tickets are free of charge, and can be ordered here. This is the last time for the foreseeable future that I will be exhibiting certain pieces, including the pieces made in Iceland, as I'm focusing on progressing and developing the work with weathering, so this is a chance to see these works one last time.