So just let me just vent for a second…
while many art fairs work long & hard to invite quality artists to their events.
There are jury processes in place to choose who will participate each year.
The understanding is that everything displayed at the art fair was to have been
made by the artist. And for the most part I believe that to be true.
However… I do believe that there are some people who are riding on the fringe
of that rule. Some that are selling wholesale items under the guise of their own.
Photographers who buy stock photography instead of shooting their own.
Artists who do “some” of the work, but not all. Artists who are selling artwork
that just doesn’t “seem” right?!
Like the artist that was next to me this weekend… no, not Molly. The other side.
She was an Asian artist with embroidered “paintings” with thousands of perfect stitches.
Photo realism done with embroidery threads. So impressive, and somewhat
unbelievable, that she not only won “Best of Fiber” – but also “Best of Show.”
Now don’t get me wrong, the artwork was incredibly beautiful. But a little “too”
beautiful for the price. What I believe to be “too elaborate” and “too detailed”
for the quantity of pieces and the price points. Now keep in mind, I’m not sure.
But you know when you have “a feeling” that it’s too good to be true?… that there’s
no way she can be making all of this?… the fact that the work is too precise to be
handmade – although it’s all claimed to be? Prices a little off the mark… silk wine bags
with supposedly hand-embroidered patches sewn on to them… being sold at
five for $20. That’s only $4 each!!! Not possible. Not even to mention the perfectly
sized & sealed plastic bag that each wine bag came in?! Curious…
And then the rumors begin… other artists who claim to see this same “booth of artwork”
at other fairs with a different “artist.” That the work is being imported from China.
The the images are being created by computer. That any image can be scanned in
and the embroidery kicked-out by the computer. That the “artist” is just a sales rep.
So here’s my word of warning… be careful when shopping at art fairs.
Please be sure that the artist is indeed the artist. Don’t just assume it’s all on the up & up.
If you think it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Ask questions. Double-check. Listen.
Make sure that the artist can explain their process. Hear their story. Feel their passion.
Support individual artists for their talents.
And not some mass-merchant who is infiltrating the art fair scene!