I recently received my latest show rejection, I think this is the 3rd from the Baltimore Craft Show. I take from this that craft shows really aren't the right venue for my work and I really need to stop wasting time and money applying to them. I really don't want to go in the craft direction any way, but I have thought that since I am working with a "craft medium" (I hate that term) that if I could get into one of these high level craft show that it would be good exposure. However, the truth is my work doesn't compare with high level craft. My approach is more minimalist, I don't do any intricate carving or assemblage and the work isn't meant to be used. The problem being that it is difficult to find appropriate venues to get the exposure. The Paradise City shows are good because they are a mixture of art and craft, they are relatively close, and they have indoor exhibit space but I feel like I need something a little better. Many of the shows that include "fine art" are outdoors in the summer, two conditions that I don't like doing with my medium. Other "fine art" shows are very expensive and without having work at the right price level or a huge inventory, it is hard to believe that it would come close to paying for itself.
Vermont is a great place to make art, but it is a horrible place to make a living as an artist unless you've already established yourself somewhere else. It is tough finding venues (all of which are outside of VT) and getting the exposure you need to make a living at it. I've been doing shows like the Providence/Baltimore Fine Furnishing and Vermont Fine Furniture shows in the hopes that people who shop for fine furniture might also like fine art made with wood, and to some degree it has worked, but it really isn't a great venue for my work either. I've applied for the CraftBoston show (for the second time) in the hopes that it would be a good way to make to connections to the Boston arts community but given my problems with getting in other craft shows I'm not holding my breath. I think what I really need to do at this point is spend some more time visiting galleries in Boston, New York, and/or Philadelphia before making some more portfolio submissions. Submitting an unsolicited portfolio is a horrible way to get into a gallery but it is a step better than submitting it blind without having visited the venue.
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