Sooo… I’ve been meaning to get around to this but since I don’t believe anyone subscribes to this blog (yet), it’s probably not a big deal? But this was kind of a big deal! I mean, doing festivals and pop-up markets is fun, although still require quite a bit of work. But doing an ART FAIR? Out of town?? For FIVE days??? Maaaan listen….
As you can read about on the site, part of the mission of Pure Artistry Works is to “promote Philly’s most talented and thought-provoking artists of color – to showcase their work nationally, internationally.” This particular exhibition was kind of like a pilot, or test run, for this aspect of Pure Artistry Works’ mission. As Founder and Creative Director, and a Philly-born artist myself, I decided to showcase my own work first. Now that may seem like obvious bias, but since I knew there would be significant risk, effort, and logistical concerns involved with traveling and exhibiting at an art fair in another city, it seemed practical to curate a show of my own recent works in order to simplify things for this first rodeo, ya dig??
The exhibition was entitled ‘See Color’ and included all of my best and most engaging paintings from the past two years, including my latest piece, “The God” (Black Face #1) which represents not only a return to oil painting (for the first time since I moved back to Philly from Chicago), but also, as the title says, the first painting in my new series of Black Face paintings. Sidenote: by the end of 2019 I intend to have a series of at least 8-10 of these paintings, which I will be combining with various original text and quotes in book form (tentatively titled “The Black Face Book”); more on that at a later date.
So, there really is SO much I can say about my first art fair. First of all I have to shout out the folks with Superfine! because they really put together a great event. Very smooth and well-organized. I am also exceedingly grateful to Eric from the Walton Gallery. Their gallery’s booth was right next to mine, and Eric was immensely helpful as I fumbled through the initial installation of paintings in my booth. I’m pretty sure I would STILL be trying to get it together, if not for his help!
Besides that… well after the opening night event from 7-11pm on Halloween, on the remaining 4 days the fair ran from 11am to 10pm. So it was just me and my art, for 4 straight days, waiting for strangers to take some interest. 11 hours daily on my own made for a very long weekend. Fortunately we were at Union Market so there were plenty diverse good eats available right downstairs. My favorites were Sloppy Mama’s BBQ, Takorean (bulgogi on a taco!? yummm), and Bun’d Up. Plus the fair hired a local company to cater food for the cafe/bar in the back, and those folks actually had some pretty tasty snacks as well. But Union Market… was. that. deal! There was even a picnic/party outside there on one of the days, with a DJ and other entertainment.
Really cool vibes. I would love to do another event at this location in the future. PLUS, I ended up extending an invite to one of the partners of Apothékary, a holistic remedy shop downstairs in Union Market – and that invitation led to my first sale of the fair!
What else can I say? I can definitely say that I learned a lot. The experience was highly social, collaborative, and informative, and it educated me in many different aspects; I feel much more empowered and prepared for my next art fair opportunity. I’ll be better informed about how to hang my work, and which works I will want to choose, and why… how to approach the general public audience, and much much more. I also had the privilege of viewing a lot of great art, while meeting some other cool and down-to-earth artists. It was inspiring just to be in that atmosphere. Also, I enjoyed the response to my work (for the most part, haa). Many passersby seemed genuinely intrigued and engaged with the work; I witnessed some positive emotional responses to a couple of my pieces, as well as getting feedback from a few people. I have to say that I felt a sense of fulfillment and perhaps some fair validation from people’s response to my work. The whole scene just recharged my creative energies and also helped crystallize some experimental/artistic and entrepreneurial ideas which had already been forming. Overall, I would say it was a modestly successful trip, but only time will tell the true value of this investment of time, energy, funds, and other resources. Anyway, that’s about it for now. Next time I won’t wait so long to post!