Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Scrap Yards and Other Such Novelties

Here's the answer to a question that I hear at every show. “Do you just find the stuff that you work with on the road?” I go into the explanation but I find that a photo is really worth a thousand words. Here's some photos of a tractor graveyard that my brother tracked down in Ohio. 

What's trash to some is creative opportunity around every corner.  Tractors, plows, discs, gears, bearings, and bolts - oh my!  This is an incredible treasure trove of antique and modern farm equipment.  Fortunately for me, much of it is perfect for sculptures.

 I had my brother packing parts all over the place; hey I bought him a drink at the local Subway.  It's amazing how they've sprung up all over rural America. 

More great stuff! We filled up the back of my Dodge pick up, and I'm back in Florida cutting, grinding, and welding these parts into new sculptures that I'll have at the next three shows: the Troy Strawberry Festival in Troy, Ohio; the Glass, Clay, and Metal show in Royal Oak, Michigan; and the Recycled Arts Festival in Vancouver, Washington.

See you soon!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Delaware, Ohio Fine Arts Festival

It was a fun-filled weekend during my first Ohio art show and fortunately it turned out well.  My brother and one of my nephews rodied for me, but the weather was nasty. 

Delaware is about 15 miles north of Columbus and is one of those Ohio towns like so many others that I've ran across over the many times I've visited here - except with life.  There are numerous brick buildings from days gone by in need of love and repair.  They line the main highways and main street with windows lined with shadows.  There are no lights with window shades long gone, and no one seems to know these buildings or even towns still exist.

Delaware is different in that the local folks have put time and energy into rebuilding their downtown.  Many buildings have some professional businesses, and there are some retail spaces too.  There's a large volunteer force that's working hard to bring new life to the downtown area including sponsoring the town's annual art and craft show, and what a great job they do in putting on this event. 

The art is good to very good without any buy and sell!  Now that's one incredible accomplishment in itself, but they are also great at bringing in a knowledgeable art buying crowd in spite. of the challenging weather.  Freezing cold and it rained like cats and dogs - horizontally with the wind howling.  The place emptied out like fast, but folks did venture out after the downpour, but it kept coming back and back.  Sunday was much the same weather without the wind this time, but the sun started shining when they brought me an award ribbon for my art along with a check.  It's great to be recognized four times this past year for my work.  It's been a long road and a long time coming, and  it's going to continue for another lifetime. 

I'll be in East Lansing, Michigan at Michigan State University this weekend at their annual art and craft show.  Stop by and say hi if you're in the area.  Check out our show schedule on our website at www.cliftonmetalworks.com.  The links are on the left.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Planning for Shows

Some artists want the world to acknowledge their great work; some artists just dream about displaying their work somewhere and maybe sell a few pieces; and their are some of us that are serious not only about making great art, but are willing to put the time in to sell it.  Our challenge is to find the best venues so that we may share our vision with those that are willing to make an investment for us so we can continue down our journey.

Planning for shows seems to be a daily chore.  It's funny when people ask me a shows, "do you just show up for this and sell what you have"?  I explain the process and most are pretty stunned at our process of paying money to apply, and get rejected by many, and then pay more money to exhibit.  I can see the delusions of grandeur disappear the more information that I share with them.  "It's all about the lifestyle", I explain to them. It's easy to understand why they have such a hard time with it.

Being an artist may be one of the last professions that allows one to be truly free with endless opportunities available to all depending on how hare one wants to work.  Be smart and work hard and the rewards are there. Pay attention to what people will spend their hard earned money on, and how much they will spend on it. Being an artist is as much about psychology as it is about making art.