If you’re in Toronto next Sunday…

CP Art Crawl Poster

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Sharing

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On May 28th, my friend Tara Keens-Douglas and I are taking part in the Christie Pits Art Crawl.

In light of this, I’ve been thinking a lot about communication and how best to present my Art. In addition it’s made me think more closely about the dilemma of exhibition and sales.

 

The last time I did an Art Market, I got too focused on the idea of selling my work. I don’t think that’s how Art Markets work. I think the beauty of the art market is in growing connections with fellow artists and introducing your work to a wide range of people as they walk by. Some of my favourite moments from my last art market were being able to discuss my work with strangers and other Makers.

 

Thinking about selling my work is an immediately stress inducing activity. I have to switch mental gears from Maker to Sales and the shift brings to bear a bigger question of the significance of Visual Art in the lives of the common person. That analysis is fairly bleak, so in recent times, I am trying to shift my perspective from ‘sale’ to ‘sharing’.

 

Sharing art, as I see it, is what this blog promotes. I share my art and my thoughts and you choose to engage with it at your convenience. Similarly, perhaps a more comfortable way of thinking of exhibiting my work is simply as sharing my work with a different audience.

 

Don’t get me wrong. Selling work feels great. Like any job, when you work hard, the validation of being paid for it both enables you to continue doing the work as well as incentivizes you to make more work without feeling like it’s pointless. To be frank though, most people don’t buy art. Where art in the home used to be a point of meditation and reflection, now we’re staring at our choice of digital device. People seek the most affordable ways to enliven their living and working spaces, without the price tag of original artwork. Of course this is the case. The value of art is subjective and the value of money is more concrete. I’m not about to whine about something that’s so obvious.

 

The truth is that making art is intrinsic to who I am, and I love the opportunity to share my work with people. Beyond sales, I exhibit work because it’s empowering and inspiring. So this time around, my focus in showing is going to be centred around fostering community engagement and thoughtful discussion.

Button Factory Arts, Artist Alley 2014

Artist Alley 2014, Button Factory Arts

Artist Alley 2014, Button Factory Arts

Last weekend I took part is my first Art Market, hosted by Button Factory Arts in Waterloo. For my table I prepared prints at 8 x 10” as well as smaller ones for cards. Also avaialble were bits of jewelry I’ve made in the past year or so.

Overall, it went really well. On Friday there was a great turn out, though on Saturday we were mostly rained out. That was sad because there were so many things due to go on downtown that day (The Jazz festival, the Open Street project and our Artist Alley).

Nevertheless, I met some great artists and got to talk shop. That’s been a rarity for me thus far and I thoroughly enjoyed it. For those who did come out, I was able to share my work and get some great feedback. It’s an amazing feeling to have people engage with my work. There were a few people who were really moved by some of the pieces and that really blew me away. Rained out or no, the experience was totally worth it.

Coming out of the art market, a fellow artist recommended that I start a Saatchi profile and get some work on there. Following her advice, I’ve now done so.

You can see my Saatchi gallery at:

http://www.saatchiart.com/lisacarmen

When you visit the site you can purchase original art or prints as well as share, comment and favourite pieces. The website really is a great resource and a window into a wide range of work from around the world.

 

Lisa at Artist Alley 2014

Lisa at Artist Alley 2014

Carnival Visual Arts Exhibition

An exhibition call was sent out at the beginning of the year for visual art work from Trinidadian artists toward a National Carnival Exhibition. I’m happy to report that the 3 pieces I submitted were all admitted into the exhibitions.

For those in Trinidad, please visit the show! It looks like it will be a great one. It’s being held at several venues across the island. If you want to visit or purchase my pieces, you can do so at the Carnival Village location at Queens Park Savannah, where 1 piece (A City with Two Faces) is located and also at the Art Society Headquarters, where 2 of my pieces are being shown (Downtown & South Quay)

The pieces I’m exhibiting at these locations are abstracted drawings of the city of Port-of-Spain that portray the celebration of Carnival. Downtown and South Quay focus on places in Port of Spain, taking the actual urban scene through the lens of the Carnival experience. A City with Two Faces looks at the city of Port of Spain and it’s transformation during Carnival into a city of celebration, connected and animated through the pathway of the Carnival parade.

When I get some images from the exhibitions I’ll post them on here. Hope some of you can make it.

I’m very excited about this show. A great deal of love, introspection and research went into these pieces and although I finished them and exhibited them in Canada in 2010, they’ve never been show in Trinidad.

 

Carnival Exhibition

Art Rant

There has not been a great deal of actual art happening in my life for the past few weeks. Instead I’ve been dealing with the numerous annoying non-arty things that one must do as an artist. With the exhibition fast approaching, I had to bring my work back from Nova Scotia which required un-mounting and shipping. This is the massive disadvantage of working at a large scale on wood panels. I had to leave 4 or 5 pieces behind. Then once back in Kitchener I had to re-mount 6 canvas pieces for the exhibition, frame 3 paper pieces and touch up the 2 large wood pieces that took a little abuse during the shipping. Yesterday I took all of the exhibition pieces to Toronto to Phil’s house since we are going to mount the show next Wednesday. Upon reaching she pointed out that I forgot to affix the hardware for hanging. So I’m gonna have to take care of that next Tuesday night. Crossing fingers all goes according to plan.

The past month though has really been trying. I was simultaneously working on an architectural competition with a friend as well as working all day and doing the various things for the exhibit. Last week my competition buddy and I decided to give up on it. I hate giving up on things, but since letting it go I’ve been able to breathe easier and I can feel the anxiety ebbing away and the creativity flowing back into me.

There were some moments of absolute frustration this month. Between taking 3 buses to the art store to get the right stretcher bars, paying time and again for shipping/storing my art and my art supplies and staying late at work to do invites etc for the exhibition – I really started to question what the hell I was doing. My boyfriend can attest to the slamming of doors, sullen silences and random outbursts of profanity. Why push so hard? I don’t even have a car to move this stuff around myself. I feel sometimes like I’m inflicting my art on my friends – asking for rides, filling their trunks and foisting art I can’t store onto their walls. There were some big WTF moments.

Following the WTF moments though is always the quiet acceptance that this is just something I do. My benevolent and precious friends actually believe in me and love my work, which has made all the difference in the world. I’m an artist and I can’t help it, even when it’s remarkably inconvenient. This is who I am and this is something that I need to do. Doing the leg work to get my work into exhibitions and even writing this blog are crucial to the way that I understand art, which is as a dialogue. To me expressing myself requires an audience of some kind. Having my work shut up in my living room isn’t enough. I want it out in the world and apparently I won’t take no for an answer.

Thanks for tuning in.