- Annette Dawm
After the Show: Visual Fringe
This is a little different than my other "After the Show" blogs because this was actually my show! To be fair, Visual Fringe had several other amazing artists and I didn't really feel qualified among these people. However, I sold one of my main pieces of art on opening night and that was a pretty good validation. I visited the art show several times during its run and I was sad to see that many of the other participants didn't sell anything. I understand that some prices were rather high; however, there are a few things to consider:
1. The artist's time. I think people forget how much work goes into a piece. Just because someone likes to make art doesn't mean they can just throw something together and it automatically becomes wonderful. Some of my collages took 12 hours to create. Also, I attended a meeting for this show and an opening night-- which was super outside of my comfort zone. Plus, it took around 5 hours to set up/take down the art and another 6 hours of volunteer work in the gallery. Let alone the 13 months it took to create everything. Someone will say, “No one asked you to enter”, but that’s not to point. I just want people to know how much work was involved. Also, what's the point of working on something for 13 months if no one will see it? This was something I had to do.
2. The artist's materials. Laminating everything that went on my wall cost me $200-$300. That does not count all the things that were purchased in order to be included in the collages. Also, the cost of glue is something I don’t even want to think about. Additionally, I bought picture frames and other hanging materials for the show-- some of which were not even necessary. So, artists are thinking about trying to make some of that money back. In order to do so, people have to like the work enough to buy it, and what if they don’t? That can be very nerve-wracking and sometimes hurtful because part of who you are goes into your work, or you wouldn’t do it in the first place.
3. The entry fee was $90 and non-refundable. A friend of mine entered the show last year and had a family emergency. She was unable to get to the show and lost all that money. For me, The CMA Ontario Awards weekend was running at the same time as my show, which made things very difficult. Because the media passes weren’t ready on time, I was late for my first volunteer day and had to leave early on the second day in order to get to the red carpet, which could have gotten me into trouble. Luckily, people were understanding, but I would have been really upset if I had to drop out of the art show altogether. I’m glad I was able to participate in Visual Fringe, but I only made $96. Yes, that’s still a lot of money, but remember, the entry fee was $90. I feel bad for the people who didn’t make their money back at all.
I know this sounds very negative, but I just want people to understand why I was a little disappointed with the outcome. In any case, it was still a good opportunity and I had fun. I made a short video about my time in the gallery. I hope you like it. I hope if you like any art-- not just mine—that you support it. Go to your friend’s opening night/concert/play/whatever. If you can't go, BE HONEST. Tell them that you can't come, but you will be cheering them on from afar. They will understand you are busy or too far away. Don't make them wait for you to show up if you're not coming. (That should just be a rule in life.) It just makes you look like a shitty friend. You can also support your artistic friends without spending money. Like their work on Facebook. Share it with friends. It will mean the world to them and help them to continue making things, not just financially, but emotionally, they will feel a lot better about their work and themselves.
Thank you to the following people (in addition to strangers) who attended my show, as well as to anybody who came when I was not there:
Thank you also to *Chris Labelle and Connor Morand who could not be there but supported me anyway! :) Finally, a huge thank you goes out to the staff at TAP Centre for Creativity for letting me keep a spare walker there during the show. That was very helpful!
*These people bought some art!
Have a great day!