Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Where do we go from here?

So, Indulge, my first ever invitational museum show...While overwhelming, the whole experience felt so important to my career, and not just because it was like a shot of PEDs in the arm of my artist resume. I also learned a lot, more than at any other show, in fact, about my work, my presentation, and about playing in the big leagues.

Primary lesson? I need to focus. In all aspects of my work. For starters, I need branding - a font, logo, and business cards. People need to see my name so they don't have to ask me. Repeatedly. An eye-catching banner than can be seen across a crowded exhibition room that screams, 'Come see me! I am art worth knowing!' I have some large pictures, and that always helps reel 'em in, but without specific, identifying information, they're just pretty pictures.

I also need to focus in my pieces. Building a body of work around a technique does not cohesion create. Just because I fabricate in silver and imbed with polymer does not mean that a cabernet and lime-colored pendant can sit next to off-white, black, and red earrings next to a copper and purple brooch (think Sesame Street - 'One of these things is not like the others, one of these things does not belong...'). Looking at the other art jewelers in the show, I could clearly see how they'd each taken an idea and expanded on it completely, in as many ways as they could imagine, while still maintaining a common theme.

Finally, I need focus in my display. Showing up with some table cloths, 5 acrylic risers, fabric swatches, and a couple of boxes is an excellent way to ensure my display ends up a hodge podge of height and space. Combined with my wide array of work styles, the result is just a messy cluttered table. Instead, display items need to be constructed of the same 2 or 3 materials, built to matching heights, and take into consideration the work being presented. Displays shouldn't be distracting, they should be complimentary and uniform, supporting the jewelry, not distracting from it.

When I first accepted the invitation to Indulge I was scared, but in hind sight I am so grateful for the experience. My bar is permanently raised and my marching orders are clear. Next time I'll be ready to bring the new and improved version of myself and my jewelry that is comfortable in those big art leagues.

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