365

http://www.flickr.com/vit-photo

It has been a while since my last post. I’ve been busy, very busy. That sounds like a typical excuse. At the same time it is an explanation too. I’ve had several art fairs which turned out very successful, more successful than I expected. Just like the last year I was not prepared enough for success and had to actively print, varnish, stretch, mount, frame, in between art fairs. Then I tried to catch up on photographic opportunities of the summer that was quickly running away. Now I’m trying to catch up on post-processing of those images, while preparing for the fall season of art fairs. How’s that for explanation? Not enough? Well, I’ve also update my website, both the look and the content. And I started a couple of new projects – and that’s what I want to talk about.

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365 – that’s how many days in a year, in a typical year. Among photographers Project 365 also refers to a photographer’s personal project where he/she makes one photograph every day for a year. That’s what I started to do.

I don’t adhere to the strict rules of Project 365. I’ve relaxed them for myself a little bit to make it more enjoyable. I don’t force myself to post a new image every day. Sometimes I have bad days when I don’t feel like making a photo. And then there are good days when I post more than one. All the images are taking with my smartphone and posted directly from it without post-processing. See, I’m trying to make it simple for myself.

It is a good [almost] daily exercise. Just like athletes need to flex their muscles every day I need to flex my creativity. It has been both enjoyable and beneficial for me. My daily world now has a lot of images in it. I see more and more images along the path which I’ve worked thousands times before. The world is now filled with lines texture, shapes, patterns and colors.

I hope that it will last longer than a year. So, rather than referring to it as Project 365 I refer to it as “Daily Impressions”. I don’t seek fame and glory with it but some of you may find it entertaining.

Enough talk. Here is the link: http://www.flickr.com/vit-photo. (Finally, I found some use for my Flickr account which was sitting untouched for ages.) Oh, well, I’ve copied the link to beginning of the post for those who won’t read all my scribbling. 🙂 And you don’t have to remember it. It is on my website under “Social”.

Magic of a Print

The Bellevue art fair is behind me now. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, said hi, bought some or ordered. Thanks to you it has been very successful for me. Now I have a lot of orders and a lot of new prints to make – and I enjoyed it very much.

There is some magic in a print slowly coming out of a printer, another world appearing out of thin air. I’m wondering if it is the main reason why I do my own printing: to see it happening.

Next is varnishing. That’s pouring milky acrylic on the print and spreading it equally to the whole print. This make the print foggy, it hides it again from this world. I typically do this at night, so it can dry over night. When acrylic dries out it becomes transparent and the image becomes crisp, contrasty and full of color.

The first thing I do when I wake up is to go see the print – my baby. This is how it is going to look. There is still stretching, mounting, framing ahead but that won’t change the look of the image.

What’s left is to do stretching or mounting and then framing.

And that’s what I’m going to do for the next two weeks. Thanks to all who bought or ordered prints for giving me such an opportunity.

Art Fairs

Three weekends art fair marathon is over. It has been exhausting. Monday thru Thursday I was printing, varnishing, stretching my work. Friday thru Sunday I was displaying it at art fairs – it was 10-hour workdays for me. Here are some stories from my experience.

Don’t give up

My first art fair was in Kirkland. I had prepared ahead of time. The only thing that I kept my fingers crossed for was good weather. The forecast for weekend was favorable: nice warm weather, cloudy but with some sunshine. It sounded like a great weekend for an art fair.

As it is most of the time in Seattle weather forecast was a wishful thinking. On Friday I woke up to a thunderstorm. The rain was pouring. Wind gusts were blowing water into an open window. It was depressing. I had to force myself to get up.

By the time I got to Kirkland Marina Park, where the art fair would take place, the rain only got worse…

My memories of the last year were still too vivid. Two and a half out of three days it was raining. There were no people at the art fair. I was standing in my booth and looking out at an empty street. It was very depressing.

I was sitting in the car, being afraid that the same would happen this year. I was about to give up. I thought I don’t care about booth fee that I would lose. I just wanted to drive out of there, away from my memories.

Apparently I still had some will power left in me because after sitting the car for an hour I decided to get out and setup my booth despite the rain. By the time I got canopy up with a roof I was completely wet.

Later that day the rain ended. And on Saturday and Sunday the weather was great. There were lots of people at the art fair. I sold almost half of the work that I brought. Art fair in Kirkland ended up being my best art fair to date.

Lesson learnt: don’t give up. Prior failure (just like prior success) does not mean the same will happen again.

Be ready for success

Kirkland art fair success far exceeded my expectations. I was very happy about it. At the same time I was not prepared for it at all. After it I did not have enough to show on the next art fair in Bellevue. I did not have enough materials either. I was out of canvas and had very few stretching bars left.

I had to quickly place orders, pay extra for second day shipping just to get things going. Well, canvas manufacture had computer glitch and my orders were not shipped on time. And they were out of stretching bars I needed.

I got the order in on the day before art fair and then the second part on the first day of the art fair. Rather than resting after whole day 10 hour straight work at art fair I was coming back home to do printing, varnishing and stretching till 3 in the morning. I had only 4 hours left for sleep before I had to get up, dress up, load up work I’ve completed the night before and go to the art fair again.

Lesson: be ready for success. It is better to be overstocked than miss out on an opportunity.

Not everything that shines is gold

I wanted to get in Bellevue Festival of the Arts. It was one of more prestigious art fair. It had higher average price and very high attendance.

This year I was accepted into it and after Kirkland’s success I put very high, too high, expectations on it.

I did not meet my expectations. It did ok. I just did not sell as much as in Kirkland and certainly not as much as I expected. Great attendance did not translate in great sales. And it was not like my prices were too high, in fact the were the lowest at that art fair. And my work was great. I had people visiting me multiple times, bringing their friends and relatives to show. Yet very few were buying.

The art fair just appeared to be very expensive with few sales. Kind of fishing for a rich buyer. I on the other hand want to make my work affordable and want to sell a lot, so I can start working on a new project.

Lesson: not everything that shines is gold. Great attendance and high prices don’t necessarily translate into large sales. The outside look does not always match inside.

Have fun

With so much focus on business side of selling art work at art fairs it is easy to loose track of what it is about. For me it is not about money, it is about being able to show my work, being able to print it, sell it and move on to new adventures.

It is about having fun. And while I have not sold anything at Anacortes Art Festival I’ve met other photographers, met a lot of people and had some memorable moments. Like when a group of high school kids were captivated by my work, having lively discussion about it, then just sitting on a pavement and staring at it.

Now onto new adventures. See you at Best of Northwest festival in Seattle on November 16 thru 18.

Art Fair Simulator

Some people build flight simulators at home. I’ve built art fair simulator. 🙂 Art fair season starts for me this weekend with Kirkland Uncorked. And I was practicing setting up booth at home. It is nice to have home large enough to do this.

I’ve tested tent, propanels layout, lights (not in this photo). I feel ready now. Just keeping fingers crossed that there will be no rain this weekend.

You can find more details about art fairs and exhibitions which I’m participating in on my website: http://www.vitphoto.com/?link=shows

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Strawberry and Art

Random line of thought…

Why don’t I print some of my images on glossy paper? I’d like to make some of my work on a glossy surface. Some of the images would look great on super glossy paper face mounted to plexiglass. Way too expensive to make. Nobody will buy at that price. Average consumer buys good enough at the lowest price.

Stop. This line of thought reminds me another one I had a while ago…

Why there is no good strawberry in grocery stores? Good one is much harder to grow, transport and perishes quickly. It would cost much higher. The average consumer hunts for a best price for a good enough product. What used to be good enough yesterday, becomes a base line today and good enough can be lowered further. In the end all we are left with is strawberry that does not smell like strawberry, does not taste like strawberry and looks as if it is made of plastic. And it keeps that look for many, many days…

Change

"When you’re finished changing, you’re finished." – Ben Franklin

I’ve sent a photo that I posted in my previous post Stormy Sky to one photo community up for discussion. I’ve got a few interesting points that I need to think about. There was one common thread though all the feedback that it was not my style, that my style was more artsy images.

It was flattering that people saw style in my images. At the same time it showed that having style may box you in because people expect certain style of the images.

For me trying something new is what keeps me moving. And for those who like my artsy style here is a panorama that I made recently at Rialto beach in Olympic National Park:

Rialto. After Storm
Rialto. After Storm

What Monet would do in photography?

Just finished watching a documentary on Monet’s life and his art. One of the things that captured my attention was that he closely followed research of a chemist who was doing research on relative perception of color by human. That research in part influenced Monet’s impressionist paintings.

This makes me wonder what research would Monet follow nowadays and what he would do with photography.