Monday, October 19, 2009

Paradise City - Northampton Debrief (2)

I got back from the Paradise City show last week having determined that the economy still stinks. Don't listen to economists, go to art shows and talk to artists. Most people weren't happy with sales. Personally, I can't complain. I sold four pieces that more that paid for the show (May Rain, Horst and Graben, Cherry Ribbon, and Blue Ribbon) and there is still hope that I might get some commission work from the exposure. Sometimes you don't know how good a show was until many months, or sometimes years, later.
One person was interested enough in exploring potential commissions that I drew up some ideas for the client's apartment with 14 foot ceilings. This one is based on "May Rain." It would be about 90" H x 40" W x 1.5" D, made with random width and thickness curly maple and accented with cherry. And this one is based on "Five by Ten". It would also be made with curly maple and cherry and would be 72" x 72" x 1.5".The great thing about commission work is that it would give me the chance to do bigger work that I wouldn't do otherwise for space and transport considerations. It also allows be to develop a more impressive portfolio.

Having sold the last of my ribbon series, I now have the money and justification to buy a big chunk of cherry to make more. I really liked having them on the ends of my display because it allowed me to point to something that I welcomed visitors to touch, unlike the shellac paintings (which people are all too ready to put their hands all over -- I draw the line when they start tapping their finger nails on them). It was a bit of a surprise to sell them because I had spent countless hours talking to hundreds of people (no exaggeration) about them over that last 2.5 years. Much admired but never sold - I was mystified as to why, but, at the same time, happy to keep them indefinitely.

Also at the show was Katherine Park. I had briefly met her at the Baltimore show back in May but got a better chance to talk to her at this show. Her work was definitely the most interesting furniture at the show. It is well crafted sculptural furniture, but it also tells a story and engages the viewer to think. For instance, this mirror clock, entitled "True Crusade" is mysterious and fascinating.

Although it is obviously a mirror, it also has an a figure on the left side that seems to have a door on its body. If you open the door, you find another door.
If you open the second door, you find a clock! And if you look closely, you'll see a tiny figure looking up at the clock.
I guess, while one is looking at oneself in the mirror, you can think about how time is ticking away while you waste time looking at yourself; or, if you want to know what time it is while you are looking at yourself, you can open a couple of doors and find out; or, you can just stand there and admirer the fine craft in making the sculpture; or, you can think about how small and insignificant we are to the passage of time. I didn't ask Katherine about this piece because I think it is more interesting to think about it myself, but I'm sure it has a story and deep meaning behind it. I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future.

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