ArtExpo 2008 vs. 2004 – An Artist’s Perspective

Multi-talented artist, Tanya Dashevsky. generously provides an insightful, informative and comparative report from an artist attendee perspective on ArtExpo.

While ArtExpo New York may not be the big dog of yore, there is still fight in the dog. Despite being smaller in size, the recently concluded ArtExpo New York delivered surprisingly strong sales for those exhibitors who came prepared for the best, yet mindful to expect the worst. In doing so, they might have made bestselling self-help author, Robert Ringer, proud.

In what may come as a surprise to some in my next post, I'll explain why it is paramount to support ArtExpo New York. Today, I turn over the blog to multi-talented artist, Tanya Dashevsky. For your enlightenment, she generously provides this insightful, informative and comparative report from an artist attendee perspective:

ArtExpo 2008. Changes from 2004

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This year marked my first time at ArtExpo since 2004. To me it seemed just as large and thriving as the one I attended in that year, but this is an impression, not backed up by fact. Yet some changes, indeed did jump at me as I walked the rows of booths.

SOLO booths – artists renting small booth spaces and selling their art directly: For artists using the show to launch a career using a SOLO booth, I would say, that s/he would have to stand out either in sheer quality and talent, or have some kind of gimmick to be able to grab and sustain attention in that setting. There were a huge amount of SOLO booths, and they were located way out in left field. By the time people got to the last few rows, they were completely saturated. Therefore, I would highly suggest getting a booth as close to the center as possible, even if it means paying extra.

I didn't even make it to the last few rows, because by that time, I couldn't see straight anymore. Not to mention, a lot of artists used various gimmicks such as live music or video presentations which often were very distracting for both viewers and the unfortunate artists renting the booths next door. I'm not saying that artists shouldn't use these kinds of promotion tools, but too much of this can create a really chaotic environment in which it is hard to concentrate on viewing art, or for a prospective shopper to make a purchase. But I'm sure that these approaches generate hype and sales, if not necessarily the good graces of his/her next door neighbors.

Globalization hits Artexpo: there were a LOT of merchants — both artists and dealers — from Asia (China, Korea,) Eastern Europe (Romania , Russia,) as well as Latin America all renting mid-sized booths, and selling nice work at low prices. Some of this work was clearly "manufactured" — quantities of paintings pumped out one after the other to sell in bulk. But others were of very high quality. So American artists, watch out, offshoring is here.

Missing faces: A lot of the regular players were there DelJou, Nan Miller etc. Though I did not see some of the publishers I was hoping to.  Bruce McGaw, Haddad's, Image Conscious, Wild Apple graphics were all missing. [Ed. note – Poster publishers such as this last group mentioned defected first to Decor Expo and when it went away, they never came back to ArtExpo.]

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Emerging Trends: I saw a new technique emerging which involves painting on some kind of slick surface such as metal or plexiglass, then pouring a thick coating of resin onto the painting. This creates a glassy, moody yet decorative viewing experience. I saw three or four artists experimenting with this technique quite successfully. Even more interesting was that one gallery was creating giclees, attaching them to masonite, and then treating them with the same technique — pouring on a think coating of resin — which made the prints look just like glowing paintings. Here’s an example of one artist’s approach to resin coated painting.

Juicy original oil paintings: A lot of original art seemed to be moving well. High-quality naturalistic oils seemed to draw trade buyers. I saw one gallery sell six paintings to a collector in 10 minutes. The sales guy looked like he might faint from joy. But these paintings were created by a very talented painter, and from the looks of it, the buyer had some serious cash to spend. Here’s a look at the work of this lucky artist.

Craftsmen and women: There were some craftspeople / artisans getting attention. One woman was making beautiful work using a quilting technique. Very high craftsmanship, great geometric designs, and subtle colors attracted a gallery to her Solo booth. I'm afraid I don't have her name.

And as usual, there was a ton of really mediocre work, some of it downright garish. But the extremely impressive high-quality and inspiring work more than made up for it.

–Tanya Dashevsky

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ArtExpo New York – The Show Must Go On is must reading for all interested in the future of the show

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Get your free Goalkeepers Club checklist. All help. No pitch.


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