Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival, Friday July 27 2012

Spent Friday afternoon downtown at the 2012 Syracuse Arts & Crafts Festival observing artists Elizabeth Andrews from Syracuse and Kate Morgan from Columbus, Ohio working be business end of things. Partly in anticipation of going to the Hoboken Arts Fair in October, though now I am not so sure if that's something I could realistically be ready for so quickly (let alone afford the up-front costs for right now). The whole afternoon was a big enjoyable learning experience, my most potent conclusion being that anyone who does this every weekend for a whole festival season is made of sterner stuff than may appear. 

Here's some pix shot wandering about while taking mental notes on how other people had their work + stalls prepared.

The Boom Babies tent, always a hot ticket with the ladies.

The giant yogurt cone disturbed me, and not by making me want frozen yogurt.

Jury duty.

Artist Elizabeth Andrews' portable gallery/tent, all original signed numbered etching prints for the most part, she was trying out some newer digitally produced pieces as well. The sheer logistical challenge of putting a presentation like this together started to sink in after the 2nd hour.

For instance, note her walls (yes, the tents must have walls). Those have to not just be set up & assembled fairy efficiently, they must be transported to and from the locations for setup. I drive a Jeep. Those wouldn't fit along with me and say forty five pieces of work, so a trailer would have to be rented. Chock that up on the costs of preparing for something like this.

Some of Elizabeth's work, most of them prints done from etchings. Some vended in plastic sleeves with a sized mat, some pre-framed and ready to go on the spot. Those costs would also need to be factored in to any kind of commitment like this -- the work has to also survive the purchase and make it home with the buyer or they likely won't be back for more.

Elizabeth's most successful print, "Always Keep Your Elephants Calm". I have personally sold three of them during my hours working the counter at the CNY Artists Gallery in Shoppingtown Mall.

They were good.

Louise Woodward's tent, another of the CNY Artists Gallery members whose work has inspired me.

Painter George Kocar's tent, I didn't see him around when taking my gander but this is the kind of display I could likely put together for one of these gigs. Another idea I'd had was a sort of "live studio" where I would be making work on the spot with all the trappings and then a small gallery presentation of finished pieces for sale. A box of prints too, fairly certain I could get that together without much fuss.

Whoa ...

No clue what event he's promoting! was too busy getting a picture to see the card. But it's on September 14, and the website's URL should provide more clues.

Hey, impressive! and an important element to public outdoor events, very tastefully done.

Street magician doing an escape artist routine. He was good!

Artists Kate Morgan on the left and Elizabeth Andrews on the left, my tutors for the day. Kate especially had some potent ideas to consider, specifically the concept that everything in one's display needs to be modular, portable, durable, and fairly simple to put up & take down within an hour or two (and often on the same day). 

She had a great point about the material used to make your walls which I heard loud & clear in the 92 degree weather -- Most of these events take place during the summer months in city squares with triple digit heat indexes not uncommon. If the tent/stall isn't made to be breathable with a breeze potential nobody will want to be in there for very long. Just the type of material and configuration of your pavilion design will have a direct impact on how well you do. A point underscored when Kate won an award while we were visiting for her stall design. She's a pro!

Boom Babies getting more action from the ladies.

Here's ceramist Tim See's pavilion/gallery, another artist represented by the Shoppingtown gallery who's 100% convincing work made me want more from my own efforts. To be shown next to a Tim See creation! there's a goal.

He's got a sense of humor too! As it turns out Tim and I had both taken ceramics courses from Prof. David MacDonald at Syracuse University's legendary Collendale facility. Will enjoy having a beer sometime and swapping stories about Raku parties & other shenanigans. 

Elizabeth's stash of backstock and packaging material to protect the work, not only during transit to the venue but after the sale. Only a pinhead would make someone carry home a painting with their bare hands, something else I hadn't considered before.

A visit from Jay! part of the Sparky Town crew at 324 Burnet Ave in Syracuse, open daily for lunch and dinner with a sweet little gallery space in the main dining area.


Live art being produced on the spot by some younger artists associated with a Westcott St. gallery. I like the idea!

My living room floor at quarter to five in the morning.

Comparing materials for the walls here behind Kate Morgan's tent. On the left her material, a rigid surface from which one can suspend a car engine if needed. On the right a neighbor's tent using a mesh material with a limited holding weight but which breathes better.

Kate's backroom office on the go! note the shopping bags on the lower shelf. She also uses a device with her smart phone to process credit card transactions securely on the spot, no reliance upon a local wifi being available. I like it!

Yet another CNY Artists Gallery contributor who's work I am continually impressed by -- Cynthia Schmidt (on the right), creator of the Cranky Cat collection, always a hot seller at the Shoppingtown gallery.

Going back again Sunday to see how my tutors did, get some final notes to think about and make a decision by Monday as whether nor not to commit to the Hoboken fair. As it stands right now I'm not so sure that'd be the best application of time, effort and resources for me at this moment. But it's only Saturday  ;D

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