I recently attended the Preview Party and Awards Presentation for the 2011 Art Melt at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge, LA. During the presentation, I was pleasantly surprised to see that as the very first award was presented, my painting “Trophy” suddenly flashed upon the screen. I received the Jurors’ Choice Award in which juror Kelli Scott Kelley gave a talk about my work. It was an honor just to be selected for the exhibition since these things can be tough to get into given the hundreds, sometimes thousands of entries juried competitions typically receive. So imagine my surprise when my work was announced for an award. And it gets better! Later on, I was called upon again for an Honorable Mention (which, again, I am honored, though I am surprised that a work can receive more than one award). All in all, it was a fun event and a great exhibit. And even if you missed the opening, the show will be up through August 28th so there is still plenty of time.
I recently attended the opening reception for Rivers at Wally Workman Gallery in Austin, TX. My painting “Synergy” is featured in the group exhibition as well as many other works by the gallery’s represented artists. I’ve posted a few photos from the event, but you can view the entire album at www.AmyGuidry.com/events.html.
With two group shows less than a week apart, another in the next month, and a solo show only 7 months away, a lot of pe0ple think I’m really busy. Or uber-busy. It seems normal to me, though, especially if I want to maintain a career as an artist. So this has me thinking that this must not be the norm, which is unfortunate because I like to think that artists are all showing their work somewhere other than their basement. So I have to ask- are you doing all that you can to promote your work? Or do you not know where to start? For those that are beginners, I thought I’d take this opportunity to discuss how to exhibit your art. And maybe even those of you who are not new to this will pick up some ideas.
First, I like to ignore all the “rules” regarding getting into galleries. So many people say you should start small and local. Yes, there is some truth to this, but don’t sell yourself short. Some of my very first exhibitions were out of my city and out of my state, so there goes that rule. Secondly, there are a lot of people that say you shouldn’t even approach a gallery, that you should just let them call you. What?? If I want something, I don’t just sit on my couch and will it to me. I go out and get it. Now, don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean you can just march into a gallery and dump your portfolio in their lap. You should send them your work in a professional manner- read my steps for doing this in a previous post.
Galleries like to know that you are going to be reliable and not flake out if they book a show with you for several months/years in advance, hence the need for a good resume. So you’ll need to build your exhibition history. But how do you get an exhibit if you have never exhibited before? I know- it’s like which came first, the chicken or the egg. This is where starting small and local comes in since you’re more likely to get into a gallery that knows you personally through local events, plus if they are not solely looking for established artists, you’ll have a better chance. That said, don’t limit yourself, either. There’s no harm in trying to get shows elsewhere- especially group exhibitions since galleries know that if you drop out, it won’t be so hard to replace you or make up for it.
In addition to galleries, there are other ways to exhibit your work. I’d recommend this whether you need to build your exhibition history or even if you’ve done hundreds of shows. You can never reach enough people.
University galleries and museums– great to have on your resume, but won’t result in sales necessarily because the general public doesn’t think to go there to buy art. That’s just the perception they have. However, these venues are very prestigious and build your credibility among collectors and galleries. You will need a few shows under your belt to score one of these, but just to say, this is something you should be aiming for.
Local museums– more likely to show your work these days due to the economic crisis. Their funding has been limited since the government loves to cut arts funding first, so they can’t afford to ship work and give stipends to national/international artists. So get to know your local museum and send them a proposal.
Juried exhibitions– Now there is a lot of debate over these types of shows since some think they lead to nothing, while others think you should never pass an opportunity to exhibit. If you are completely new to exhibiting your work, I say go with the latter. When you’re starting out, you won’t discriminate so much- there’s plenty of time to do that later once you’ve been showing a lot. If you’ve built a bit of an exhibition history, that’s a different story. Personally, I will do juried exhibits, but that’s only if I feel they are worthwhile. I decide based on: Where the show is being held– is it a good venue or is it some cube in the middle of nowhere? Who is the juror– someone prestigious in the art world or just somebody’s grandma that took a watercolor class once? Is the venue insured? Nevermind whether your own work is insured, if the venue itself can’t afford insurance, then it’s probably not a good one (sorry). What city/state/country is the venue located– again, don’t go with someplace not typically known for art. Is it a vanity gallery? There are a few of those out there holding juried shows- make sure the gallery has a good reputation.
Lastly, look into exhibition opportunities that are off the beaten path. Pop-up galleries are the latest “it” spaces and do not require representation, so you are more likely to get into one. Also, if you are just starting out, look into showing at coffee shops, bookstores, libraries, bank lobbies, doctors’ offices, law firms, gift shops, restaurants, etc. Although food and smoke near your work is a scary concept, so just consider that risk, but look into making your own exhibits through these venues. Not all will lead to sales, which is why many don’t bother, but it will build your name in the community, build your exhibition history (until you can gain more via galleries, etc.), and it can lead to future sales since people will see your work and talk about it with others well after your show. Each step builds upon the other. It all takes time- Rome wasn’t built in a day.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, so if you have ideas for opportunities to share, please feel free to add them in the comments section.
I’m excited to announce a new feature on my work! Morgan King of Visionary Artistry Mag did a feature, very thorough at that, on my art. There’s a mix of paintings featured including some of my most recent work from my “In Our Veins” series. To read the article, visit this link: http://visionaryartistrymag.com/2011/07/amy-guidry-inspired-by-nature/.
After waiting for the (delayed) results, I’ve finally received word that my work was accepted into the upcoming Art Melt at the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge, LA. My painting “Trophy” (from my “In Our Veins” series) was selected. The jurors for this year’s competition were Rachel Wolff (Brooklyn-based critic, writer, and editor); Benjamin Hickey (Curator, Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA); and Kelli Scott Kelley (Artist and Associate Professor of Painting, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA).
There will be a Preview Party on July 14th from 6:30-10pm in which there will be an open bar, food prepared by Heirloom Cuisine throughout the entire evening, and live performances by the band King James and the Special Men and Of Moving Colors dance troupe. Tickets are available through www.ArtMelt.org. The opening reception will be July 16th from 5-10pm and is open to the public. The exhibit will be up through August 28th.
At last, I have finally finished another painting from the “In Our Veins” series. I’m always looking for ways to improve, no matter how big or small, so I really focused on the textures in this piece. Though you can’t really tell here, so be sure to go to my website for a better look, in addition to a zoom-in feature (the magnifying glass icon on the top right)- www.AmyGuidry.com/sequence.html. The title is “Sequence” and it is an acrylic on canvas, 6″ wide by 12″ high.
Much of this series, as stated in my artist statement (which is posted on my website), deals with the life cycle so the title is in reference to that process. Both life and death are represented, new life- plants, animals- are seen building upon each other, one leading to the next, which is also why I opted for a long, vertical composition. The animals I chose follow, for the most part, a hierarchy of sorts as seen in nature. Though it may be odd for a vegan to discuss this, but the animals depicted follow each other in the food chain (side note- as a vegan, I realize this is a fact of life, however I have a choice when it comes to what I eat). The roses were an almost subconscious choice at first, but seemed appropriate for the piece given that we use roses to celebrate life as well as to honor those that have passed.
I have another exhibition coming up next month, which is actually only a few weeks away. I will have work in the “Rivers” group exhibition at Wally Workman Gallery in Austin, Texas opening July 9th, 2011. The theme is open to interpretation, so it won’t be all water scenes and landscapes. My painting “Synergy” will be in the show, in addition to other works I have in the salon area of the gallery. “Synergy” is an acrylic on canvas, 8″ wide by 11″ high. I picked this piece for the exhibit given that rivers nurture life. The roots and veins in the painting bring life to everything above and below the ground via rivers of blood or rivers of water. All of these elements working together, nurturing each other, nurturing life. You can view a larger image (with a zoom-in feature, as well) at www.AmyGuidry.com/synergy.html.
The exhibit officially opens July 9th, with a reception from 6-8pm. However, there will be a preview of the show coinciding with First Thursday Artwalk on July 7th from 6-8pm.
And one more reminder: June 26th is the opening for 54th Chautauqua Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art at the VACI in Chautauqua, NY in which I was one of the 25 selected artists. The reception is from 3-5pm with a talk by juror Jim Kempner of Jim Kempner Fine Art, NYC.
One of the more popular questions I’ve been answering in interviews as of late (in one form or another) is “why do you create art?” Which I’ve always felt it would be easier to ask me why I breathe… so I would end up giving a response that would in so many words say it is innate. Which is true, of course, but not the in-depth answer they’re looking for. So I’ve been considering this question and have come up with an answer (or at least a good metaphor). When I am looking to create, I think the process is much like that of an archaeologist, or an inventor, or a scientist looking to make the next medical breakthrough. Since I’ve seen enough National Geographic and Jurassic Park to have a better understanding of archaeology, I’m going to use that as my basis. So I’m basically going on a dig- in search of ideas which are hidden well within my mind. When I come up with an idea or a concept, I rush to quickly get it down on paper- it’s like making a new discovery. Though sometimes I don’t always find what I set out to look for- it may be something else, but just as exciting. Once I hit something, I keep digging to reveal more (in my case, rapidly sketching everything before I forget). Once I’ve exhausted that area, I continue my search elsewhere to find any missing pieces or something entirely new, going in any and all directions. One idea leading to another, or maybe a slight variation of an idea, upon another variation and another, so on and so forth- the possibilities are endless.
Once I’ve made this discovery, I want to share it with the world. But it has to be presented properly (presentation is everything- they weren’t kidding)). An archaeologist wouldn’t just reveal a dirty pile of bones- they have to be cleaned, refined, and put back together. So my work has to be “cleaned” and refined as well, put together to make a whole. It takes time, effort, technique, attention to detail, and maybe even trial and error. It has to be pristine and professionally presented for the proper unveiling.
Going back to my original answer, it is innate, and as basic as it is, that may be the best explanation. However, maybe this comparison and the explanation of the creative process (at least for me) serves as a good answer in itself. The excitement of a new discovery- who wouldn’t find that addicting?
And another painting from my “New Realm” series has found a new home. This piece is from my smaller, 5″ x 5″ ‘sub-series’ which are almost entirely sold out. Only a few left, which is crazy to think since there were so many to begin with. This piece is titled “Jay II” and is an acrylic on canvas from 2009. (The original “Jay” painting from the year prior sold at that time.) I exhibited this painting in an auction in which part of the sales would benefit Virtues of Acadiana, a local organization whose mission is to “instill virtues while facilitating the academic, socio-cultural, and professional development of Acadiana’s youth.”
To view more of my work, including the (remaining) available “New Realm” 5″ x 5″ paintings, visit my website at www.AmyGuidry.com.
I did an interview for Meaning-full recently and it is currently posted online! For those of you that don’t know me personally, this interview gives a little more insight into my work, my process, as well as a little more about me. And there are lots of images, so be sure to check out the second page of the post in order to read the interview. Just go to http://meaning-full.com/05/meaning-full/painting-amy-guidry/.
There’s also a link to my site from the interview, but in case you don’t know, my work can be found at www.AmyGuidry.com.