Thursday, February 7, 2013

After jurying 3 art fairs in 2 days, this is what I learned...

You’ve applied to hundreds of shows over the years. You know what to do and not do with your images. ZAPP and JAS have made it really easy to quickly apply and not really think about it. BUT, when was the last time you went into ZAPP and checked your profile? Checked that all your information is correct? Checked your capitalization, spelling and punctuation? Have you checked your artist statement to make sure it’s current?

The same things are important on JAS but on there your artist statement is even more important. When you’re being juried on JAS (monitor jurying), your artist statement is right in the center of the page, easy for the juror to read. And you wouldn’t believe how many people make mistakes in there. The wrong words, extra punctuation, missing letters and the big one is your name! Sometimes just the first name, sometimes the full name, “James does this”, “Mary Smith likes that”. I was shocked during my latest jurying how many statements had names. Have you checked yours lately?

Your artist statement should be current and if you want a juror to read it, it should be short. I don’t need to know where you went to school, what your life’s path has been or how many years you’ve been doing this. I need to know anything critical to what you’re showing me in your images. This is not your resume, please don’t list all the shows you’ve done. Short, readable and to the point.

And then there’s the old issue of a name in the booth image. There are still many, many booth shots that have either the artists name showing or the business name. Please, please remove it. It will not help you and it may hurt you. Take down the booth signs that the show gives you even if you can’t read your own name on it. Anything that distracts from what you want the juror to be looking at which is your booth and the work in it. Leave the chair, that doesn’t bother me at all but get out all the signs.

And I’ve learned a couple of new things in this last round of jurying that I’ve done. Photographers as a group have the most odd looking booth images of anyone. Many of them look like they’re 20’ x 20’ booths and amazingly they show under 10 pieces with no flip bins! Wow! Please don’t take offense if you’re a photographer because it’s probably not you I’m talking about but you probably know someone who fits this. Just something to think about.

The other thing I’ve learned is that sterling silver must no longer be a precious metal. No one told me! Jewelers - if there are two categories, precious and non-precious and you work in sterling silver, fine silver pmc or gold, you belong in the precious category. And trust me, you don’t want to be in the non-precious category if you don’t belong there. There is some absolutely wonderful jewelry being made these days without the use of precious metals and you don’t want to be competing with them if you don’t have to. Of course if you’re applying in the non-precious category then I’m not competing with you for a space so maybe I shouldn’t be telling you this…