Monday, August 17, 2015

Local Art Seen... in Bayfront Park

This was the 4th year for the event christened Art in Bayfront Park with seemingly countless artists and artisans set up in booths on the entire perimeter, forming a large circle of tents and wares. The sweltering weather may have diminished afternoon numbers, but the event was well publicized and people came out to fill the parking lot and take the stroll.

Glass art by Dan Neff
I don't believe I've ever seen an art fair so publicized. They even had lawn signs, not just in one section of town but rather here, there and everywhere.

The participating artist come from all points on the compass. Some out-of-towners live in campers during the art fair season for this is a chosen lifestyle, and a demanding one.

What follows are a my initial impressions based on my walkabout yesterday.

1. There's always someone doing something completely original that I hadn't seen before, like drum artist Georgie Lehoop. Lehoop paints with drumsticks as if playing the drums. That is, he drums the paint onto his canvas.

2. There is an incredible amount of talent and some very interesting work being done. I was really drawn to a portrait of Bob Dylan by collage artist Kristi Abbott. The detailed cutting and assembling had been done in such a way as to reflect his life story from youth to veteran to elder statesman of rock and roll. I was impressed by how much was continued in each portrait once you got into it.

3. There is so much to see that your eyes can begin to glaze over. After walking half way around and taking time to talk with many of the artists I found myself becoming slowly detached. At this point I only stopped at when I saw something utterly striking, or when I encountered people I knew.  Perhaps it's a diminishing of my curiosity. Early on, I am curious what everyone is making, how they were doing as a business, what they thought of the show. Later, this curiosity began to fade.

4. The variety of work is a good thing. Just when I begin to question the size of these fairs -- how big is too big -- I realize that it's just right if you have a special interest. If you're into ceramic art, there were a lot of people working in clay and you could shop for a new vase or serving dish amongst these many styles. The same held true for painting, glass art, sculpture and other wall art. There are a variety of styles and people doing similar things in different ways.

5. Despite the pre-show marketing and turnout, I heard some say that buying was down this year. I wonder, though just how much art any house can properly display on its walls. There are limits to how much wall space each home has and how many surfaces one will want to place art objects.

6. Are there too many nature photographers? The new technologies used to bump up color saturation and print photographs on other kinds of surfaces were novel when first encountered. The effects are spectacular, but if the photographers compete on price then no one will make a living wage. Supply seems to be exceeding demand, and this has to become a problem at some point.

7. There is much more to say, and so little time. Will save it for another day.

Created using an Asian technique with thin paper strips. 
There was much to see, and there were even things to do... and the setting is beautiful, too.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Enjoy it.

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