Last Saturday I did the Garage Sale Art Fair -- an event invented by a couple of art fair artists -- Bonnie Blandford and Michael Kifer.
I can't overstate how important I think it is that this is run by touring art fair artists. I don't think that anyone not familiar with our lives and concerns could have pulled it off even half as well. But they do pull it off. Year after year
They made the event fun without detracting from the respect and high regard for the artists and craftsman's work. Though they played up the bargain aspect, it never came at the appearance of anything but an exceptionally good value on something that the patrons may, otherwise, not be as likely to afford.
In fact, there was much buzz among the patrons along the lines of ......."oh my gosh! ....he's/she's ("famous" artist in their view) here!". The buzz I got from the patrons was not just the deals they were getting -- it was the deals they were getting from these particular artists!
The bargain aspect never played up the "seconds" nature of much of the work there. Sure, that was an understood aspect underlying the whole event, but it just never came across as the artists unloading junk. It always came across as a great opportunity for the buyer
They made it easy for the artist. If the artist wished to put more time into presentation, I suppose that was possible. But it wasn't the nature of the beast. Art work could be displayed however you wished to display it. This was one thing I loved about the event. It reminded me so much of those days 25-30 years ago when we all went to art fairs with our own inventions for ways to display. And as odd as this sounds -- that sort of "ramshackle" sense of display is so dadgum inviting to the patrons. I can't remember the last time I saw a more engaged patronage. They loved it. All the intimidation that we as artists subconsciously build into our displays to make us seem more erudite, more esoteric, more "gallery", were absent. Those walls down, patrons felt more at ease to approach artists.
I can't do this event every year. I usually don't have enough seconds to make it worthwhile. But I consider it an important event. It is an interesting reality check. When we artists begin wondering where the art fair patrons have gone....
...it seems they just might be just as crazy about our work as they ever were. They just may not be able to afford our work that is now priced -- not as reflects the market, but as reflects our (artists) desire for an easier middle class lifestyle to match our age peers. We were never promised that. We were never promised that we could BOTH have the joy of working with our hands AND not have to work hard. Very hard.