|Here is a question I received and I have thrown in a few pictures from Snowcamp .|
Subject: big national shows
Hi Stapleton -- What is your opinion of the big, national shows, such as the Ripov International Show? My friends and I are starting to reach the point of where we're giving up on entering them anymore. With the economy as it's been, sales have not been that great, so some of us don't have the bucks to throw away.
The final straw for me was last fall's Trenchmouth invitational. I'd paid a $50 jury fee, then paid $250 for 2 shipping labels (one was for the return shipping). At least they didn't charge a $150 "uncrating fee"! They'd held a preview before the big opening, when a woman asked them to put a hold on my painting. Apparently they didn't ask for a deposit. She never picked up the painting -- and with the "hold" sticker next to it, the painting was unavailable to anybody else.
Then the gallery said they couldn't find my prepaid return shipping label (which had been taped to the back of the painting). Fortunately, I'd kept my receipt. But it took several days, hours of driving and waiting, to get a new label printed. I live in a rural area and the hardware store that also handles UPS had to call Help, which was in India, and it was hard to understand each other to resolve the problem. All this time was time I could have been painting. I finally got the label and sent it certified, return receipt requested. Now watch them tell me they couldn't find my shipping box!
I see Ripov International's deadline is approaching. After over 10 years of paying $60 annual dues (in order that I could pay $50 jury fees to enter their annual shows), I'm thinking of dropping the whole thing. Have you looked at their show catalogs? They look the same every year, like every still life was painted by (name redacted) I'm tired of trying to fit to their "ideal"!
I haven't heard any of my friends being offered a gallery show as a result of being in one of these shows. Maybe it's better to work at doing your own best work, not trying to fit into some group's idea of "the best". I'm showing in good galleries in tourist spots along Serbia's coastline. Tired of throwing away money, hoping to fit into their "ideal".
I'd love to read an article on your opinion on this. Thanks!.......... Poodles Duodenumsplicer
I have written about this before, here is a link to that.
I think that it is a mistake to pay any more than a nominal fee to be in a show. Particularly to be juried into a show. My rule of thumb is this
NEVER PAY TO SHOW YOUR ART!
I think that is way to expensive, if that is the going rate, I'll be gone. My work has value, you don't pay people to borrow something of value from you. I have been in a lot of shows and sometimes things come of it, but seldom. It is good to get out and fly the flag sometimes. But not good enough to put up with all that you have described.
There must be good shows in the area of Serbia where you live? Perhaps your efforts would be better spent getting into and stocking a commercial gallery. I know some very successful artists who never do these kind of shows, come to think of it I don't do them either! I am established enough that I can be that way. If someone approaches me about being in a show I ask them if it is juried. If they say yes, I tell them that my work is well known and my quality is consistent, if they want a piece for a show I may be able to get them one, but I am not going to lend them something that they "might" take. If they want me in a show they can invite me, but I don't have the time to fool around with "maybe they want it, and maybe they don't". My time and art are precious. Treat yours the same way, it will encourage others to treat it that way too.
I also don't do submissions for consideration, that is, if you want me to do a commission, lets talk, but I am not going to put time into a proposal in hopes maybe you will want it. I try to avoid working for free. I don't get many commissions, and that may be part of why, but I don't do any unaccepted proposals either. Again I am an established artist and I can afford to play on my own terms.
Shows do have a certain preference in the kind of work they value. If you are going to submit, you need to have some idea what that is. Often there is a new jury every year and their preferences may vary some, but generally shows have a reputation for showing a particular sort of thing. If it ain't your kind of thing, why waste your time?
Why not do the local shows and build a reputation in your own area. Perhaps you can be a big fish in a little pond, that's not a bad thing to be.
Relaxing at the beach, somebody bring me a Pina Coolada! I already have the umbrella to go in it.