Sunday, July 7, 2013

Local Art Seen: 43rds Annual Park Point Art Fair

Prototypical art fair booths.
Seems like ages since last weekend's 43rd Annual Park Point Art Fair. Seems like a little feedback is in order.

First, you couldn't get nicer weather. The outdoor fairs can produce anxiety for the artists when strong winds kick up and threaten to turn their pop-up tents into kites. The sun was generous and the crowds seemed healthy for this annual event.

The Park Point Art Fair is one of two art fairs conducted annually near the waterfront. The second  will be later this summer in Bayfront Park. If you're looking for something special, or just want to meet some especially creative people for an afternoon of free entertainment, these open air art fairs can be a very nice destination for anyone.

Park Point once again had 120 artists from all the usual categories including ceramics, painting, fiber arts, jewelry, glass, photography, wood and various kinds of sculpture, plus good food and good music.Some of these artists and artisans have been gathering here since the beginning. Elliot Silberman, who draws portraits for $20 a face told me once that he used to do this for a dollar a picture way back when. Silberman, like many of these artists, travels around the region and even around the country attending fairs like this one as well as Renaissance Fairs.

A lot of preparation goes into these kinds of shows. The promoters will not have artists if they fail to bring a crowd. The artists will not have buyers of their work if there's no one there except other artisans. The media helps get the word out. And social media is increasingly helpful as well. But at the end of the day the artists carry the brunt of it, with setups and tear-downs each weekend, accounting and paperwork also minced in.

For those who attend you can count on a great range of gift ideas for people you love. There's wall art, garden art, and even fashion art. There are decorative items for your desk, your walls, your porch, you name it, you will find it here.

Sam Spiczka's distinctive designs
If you attend regularly you will see many of the same faces, and you also get to see the evolution of their work. Sam Spiczka, recipient of last year's Best of Show award, has added embellishments to his unusual archaeology-inspired sculptures. We added a porch sculpture to our collection from Dick and Marion Sonnek's unique garden art produced by recycled farm implements and other apparently "found" materials. The Sonnek's are retired dairy farmers. You can find them on Facebook at Dick's Designs.

Though most of the artists in this gathering hail from Minnesota and Wisconsin, we did have a pair of Californians in our midst, photographer Jim Tunnel of Los Angeles and Alex Zaves of Santa Barbara. Tunnel's vision is set on Indian and Cowboy art. Tunnel had a poster of a steer in his booth that read, "It's been said that the old west is a time gone by with values that are gone forever. I say not so fast." 

Wish I could share everything I saw. Instead, it's better if you visit the art fairs in person. Here are a few images that caught my eye.

Tonya Sell's diverse creatinons are always fascinating.
Peter Humeniuk's "big brush watercolors" are striking.
The Husby's distinctive style comes in all sizes.
Entertainer Lee Johnson, performance artist.

Never been to the Point for this fair? There's another art fair coming soon to Bayfront Park in mid-August. A different group with lots to share. See you there.

Noteworthy birthday: Marc Chagall

Have a colorful day!

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