Thursday, October 31, 2019

Bootcamp for Artists this Saturday!

The Artists’ Boot Camp

Saturday, November 2nd, 10am-4pm , in the John Addison Concert Hall of Harmony Hall in Laurel, MD. Harmony Hall is at 10701 Livingston Road, Fort Washington, MD 20744.
Harmony Hall Arts Center presents Mr. Lenny Campello’s seminar, “The Artists’s Boot Camp”, open to all artists, 16 and up.  Mr. Campello is the Greater Washington D.C. area’s pre-eminent art dealer, critic, consultant and blogger as well as artist. He designed his seminar to deliver information, data and proven tactics to artists, and to allow them to develop and sustain a career in the fine arts. Some of the topics that he will cover are, creating a resume, creating a body of work, selling your art, juried shows and news releases, just to name a few.
The seminar is free and lunch is included. Seating is limited so please call 301.446.3251 or email to register and provide lunch preference.

This seminar usually books very quickly, so I'd recommend that you RSVP as soon as possible! It is open to ALL artists - not just PG County residents!

Background: As many of you know, for over a decade or so I have been teaching a course for artists and arts professional, that course, for the last few years has been known as “Boot Camp for Artists.”

That six hour seminar, which has been taken by over 2,000 artists and arts professionals from all over the Mid Atlantic is designed to deliver information, data and proven tactics to allow artists to develop and sustain a career in the fine arts.

In the past, I’ve discussed the importance of artists having their work at the various art fairs held around the world, most notably during Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) week in the Greater Miami area.

Presentation is a huge part of an artist’s professional life, and more often than it should be, presentation is a detractor and takes away from the artwork.

Why am I discussing that here? Because before you start exploring the various ways to get your artwork invited to the “big dance” during ABMB week, as an artist you should be ready to play with the big dogs when it comes to all the tools of the trade needed to set foot in a world-class art fair.

It is not unusual for me to step foot in a gallery and see artwork which (at least from a presentation point of view) is “not ready” for primetime… this is getting to be rarer and rarer as galleries struggle to survive, but still there.

In its six hour format, the seminar covers a wide range of structured issues, including the below list, but essentially artists should at least be aware and explore:

1. Materials – Buying materials and strategies for lowering your costs, where and how to get it, etc.

2. Presentation – How to properly present your artwork including Conservation issues, Archival Matting and Framing, Longevity of materials, a discussion on Limited editions, signing and numbering, Prints vs. Reproduction, discussion on Iris Prints (Pros and Cons).

3. Creating a resume – Strategy for building your art resume, including how to write one, what should be in it, presentation, etc.

4. Juried Shows – An Insider’s view and strategy to get in the competitions.

5. How to take images of your artwork

6. Selling your art – A variety of avenues to actually selling your artwork, including fine arts festivals, corporate acquisitions, galleries, public arts, etc.

7. Creating a Body of Works

8. How to write a news release

9. Publicity – How to get in newspapers, magazines, etc. Plus handouts on email and addresses of newspaper critics, writers, etc.

10. Galleries – Discussion on area galleries including Vanity Galleries, Co-Operatives, Commercial Galleries, Non-profit Art spaces, etc.

11. How to approach a gallery – Realities of the business, Contracts, Gallery/Artist Relationship, Agents.

12. Fine Art Fairs – Discussion and advice on how to sell outwork at fine arts festivals, which to do, which to avoid, etc.

13. Resources – Display systems and tents, best juried shows and ones to avoid.

14. Accepting Credit cards – How to set up your art business.

15. Grants – Discussion on how to get grants in DC, Regional and National, including handouts on who and where and when.

16. Alternative Marketing – Cable TV, Local media

17. Internet – How to build your website at no cost, how to establish a wide and diverse Internet presence.

Harmony Hall

10701 Livingston Road

Fort Washington, MD 20744

Superfine DC Opens Tonight!

Superfine! DC opens tonight at Dock 5 at Union Market on Halloween night. 

All the details of the fair here

Union Market
1309 5th Street Northeast
Dock 5 Event Space
Washington, DC 20002    MAP

I asked Alex Mitow, Director of Superfine! a few questions about the fair, DC and the DMV art scene:

What were your "lessons learned" from the inaugural DC art fair?

To be frank, I think the biggest lesson learned was a really positive one. We always had high hopes and expectations for DC as a market for the kind of art collecting experience we provide, but we were blown away by how excited and supportive the overall DC community was. We and our exhibitors learned not to pre-judge a city's taste in art and to really challenge the local market in terms of content, since a lot of works that veered towards risqué and very, very contemporary sold extremely well at last year's fair. DC's taste in art is as diverse as the city itself.

How many returning galleries and artists do you have in the second iteration of the DC art fair?

Around 40% of 2018 galleries and artists returned for 2019 and based on early renewal rates we're expecting 60-80% renewal for 2020. We expect booths at the 2020 fair to be nearly sold out by the end of 2019's fair. There are a lot of our favorites from 2018 who couldn't participate this year due to travel or other obligations, but will be returning in 2020. 

The Greater Washington DC area (known locally as "the DMV - for District, Maryland, Virginia") has one of the highest concentrations of wealth in the world, and a vibrant local art scene complimented by a terrific museum presence, and yet commercial art galleries and artists struggle to survive. As you acquire lessons and experiences in various cities doing the art fairs, what is your take on what's the "missing" part in the DMV art scene?

Honestly, we agree 100% with you on DC as a city that has the wealth, income, and interest to support a vibrant art scene. DC is a very viable market that's been overlooked by the big fairs. As I mentioned, our educated bet on DC last year paid off and we've doubled down on our investment into the city and the fair, which is our top-producing fair in the United States, by not only adding to the number of exhibitors but also bulking up our programming for this year's fair to include Superfine! X - an installation program featuring DC artist District Dodger, along with curated experiential works by artists selected by Philadelphia's Paradigm Gallery, and an interactive WunderCube co-designed by Sean Christopher Ward, one of our most frequent exhibiting artists (he hails from Wichita.) Hearkening back to my earlier point, I really think a key is not underestimating the diversity of potential collectors and their tastes in a city as vibrant as DC. We are also huge proponents of a transparent and inclusive art market which is something that I believe all of our exhibitors share with us, and even from what I've seen over the past year there have been a ton of amazing things going on in DC that share and promote our values -- with results that follow.

Can you highlight three exhibitors at the 2019 fair?

I'm always thrilled to work with Nina O'Neill at Monochrome Collective. She's done some amazing projects of her own in DC this year and is a fierce artist advocate (with great fashion sense to boot!) and I'm looking forward to her booth this year, which is focused on sculpture -- primarily by DMV artists including Gary Kret, Stefanie Lifshutz, Monroe Isenberg, and Michael West. 

Reach Beyond by Scott Hutchison
17.5 x 29"
Scott Hutchison is another returning DMV artist, and I'm unabashedly in love with his surreal compositions. Lastly, New York artists Chloe Cockburn and her husband Marc Scheff are presenting a duo booth in DC's fair. They're a valued part of the Superfine! family and Marc also created a unique archival print that'll be gifted to our early bird Master Pass buyers. It's really neat how Superfine! has begun to turn into a family affair - we also have a mother and daughter sharing a booth (Phoebe and Caralena Paterson) and I'm excited to see how their unique styles play off of each other.