Thursday, February 24, 2011
One of the things I hate about being an Artist....
Is filling out applications for shows. ugh. No, make that double ugh! It really is my least favorite part. Weighing options, trying to decide which shows to try for this year. Spending hours doing research on shows. Trying to write neatly, which isn't in my range of artistic ability. Writing checks on my quickly depleting business checking account. Trying to come up with pity statements on why I am an artist that don't sound inane. Praying my slides are good enough to land me a show I'm really interested in. The waiting. OH! THE WAITING! Really hate that part!
Doing shows is my main source of business income. Sure, I am in a gallery here and there, and I book a home party once in a while ( and would love to book more.. if you are in Des Moines click here to learn more about hosting a jewelry party!) and I catch the odd commission ( I'm working on one right now!)
But shows are my bread and butter, and they often lead to more gallery, home parties and comission opportunities. But sending in your application, slides and check and then waiting months to find out if you get in.. well that part sucks.
Don't get me wrong, I get into 95% of the shows I apply for... but you just never know. Juries are funny. Some shows say they are juried, and what they really mean is "we only jury the new guys" which means you can try to get into a show and never do.. because while there may be 120 artists, they might only have 20 real openings for newbies.
Even when shows aren't playing games you don't know about, there are only so many spots, and jewelry is highly competitive. I have no hard facts or figures, but I guess a good show has 2-3 times more jewelry artists trying out than any other medium. So you have to have good slides, professionally done. Luck is helpful. And a thick skin is a must.. if you don't jury in you cannot take it personally.
That's probably the hardest part about jury shows. You can have the best pictures, a great rep, wonderful handwriting.. and sometimes you don't get in. You won't ever know why either. Maybe the jury panel that day didn't like the color blue or something. Maybe the jury doesn't consider anything besides silversmithing to be "art". Maybe they blinked and missed your set of pictures. Maybe the last 4 jewelry artists all did wirework and you stuff just didn't stand out. Maybe they switched by accident the slide descriptions so nothing matched up. Heck maybe it got lost in the mail ( I have had that happen once!)
So you just don't know, but you play the second guessing game in your head, as you wait months for word on if you got into this or that show. And they you find out you didn't, it can be hard to take. I've been doing shows for probably 10 years now, and it can still sting. I"m only human, and making jewelry is like having children.. and then someone telling you your child is ugly.
The worst one is when you get into the same show for YEARS and suddenly they don't jury you in. That one can feel like a sucker punch! If you get into the same show year after year you start to count on that show for income.. so not only do you feel like someone hit you but you feel like they stole your wallet at the same time!!
I know some artists "double book" but I'm not built that way.. so if I don't get into a show I expected to be in, I feel like
1/ I got punched
2/ I got robbed
3/ I got screwed because it's too late at that point to try to get into anything else
OK, I guess I need to stop messing around and get back to doing applications. At least this is the last round of them, except for a few late season shows. Next blog pictures of jewelry, I promise!! But til then, Kya ( or is that Kass? ) will have to do, goofing around in the studio the other day.