Friday, 11 July 2014

Art Fairs and Fairness

The SEE Art Fair opened on Wednesday night, with 25 stands: galleries, artist groups, and individuals. This is a photo of me in front of a gallery stand, with my blue painting 'Paphos Walkway,' (a memory of flying out over Paphos harbour) on the panel above. I delivered 5 paintings and some of the others may be substituted as the Fair continues, but I was really quite disappointed that my painting was shoved to the top of the stand, and a larger work was not included. It made me realise that the only way to participate is to pay for your own stand! It was implied that my work was 'too colourful' and may not 'fit' with the other paintings, but last night I noticed that several artists on other stands had been nominated for 'Best Artist of the Show,' and they were mostly very colourful figurative or colourful abstract! Yet back in my studio I had so many colourful abstracts and semi-abstracted landscapes that were available to display. I felt I never stood a chance. Once again, it showed me that other people do not necessarily have your interests at heart. On the opening night I was told something along the lines of: we weren't sure how to fit your work in, and we were going to hang it horizontally. No way - I would have taken my work down and walked out.

On the positive side, it was a very lively event, held for the first time in Tunbridge Wells in the Assembly Hall, which usually shows theatre productions and concerts. The Private View was on Wednesday evening and last night I attended the Charity Gala Event, which was accompanied by live music and canapes. I stood for four hours and never stopped talking to artists, visitors and galleries. My painting received some very nice comments.

Above is a view of some of the other stands, with the theatre seating visible in the background. The music added to the general ambience and was not too loud. I really enjoyed meeting other artists, seeing some wonderful paintings, and took the chance to network and make artistic connections. But as I left at 10pm, I vowed that the next Art Fair I take part in will be under my own terms, with a stand of my own!

'Paintscape,' - work in progress, acrylic on board, 100 x 75cm