Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sarasota Craft Show Lives On

Richard Rothbard

What strikes me as strange in this economy is that promoters with over twenty years experience will cancel shows because they can't get enough artists at their prohibitively high booth fees, instead of offering booth fee reductions and making less profit for a year or two, enabling the artists to do shows at a rate they can afford and continue to stay in business. And it may not be only a year or two, the business of art and craft shows may be changing forever. More about that another time.

In a move that doesn't surprise me, Richard Rothbard has taken over the Sarasota (formally ACC) December dates and offering a much lower booth fee. He sent out the following e-mail:

Good News regarding ACC Sarasota & Charlotte Shows
"The Sarasota Craft Show is on! The Charlotte Show is on the table waiting for a consensus from Charlotte exhibitors. To ALL ACC exhibitors This is your special INVITATION to both Sarasota and Charlotte, so SAVE THE DATES. The shows will be managed by Richard & Joanna Rothbard of American Art Marketing who have 28 years of experience in show management, are NYC gallery owners since 1985 and exhibiting artists for almost 3 decades. Booth fees will be substantially lower, same high standards, and we will be working with the marketing team that has made the event so successful. Further details, Invitation & Application forms will be available on our website by May 7/8. Show dates: December 4,5,6. and November 6,7,8.
Those of you who would like to see Charlotte continue this year need to respond accordingly. The Sarasota Show is under contract...I am looking forward to hearing from you.
If you wish to receive a hard copy application by snail mail or have questions please email your request to e-mail Richard or call 800-834-9437"

Sunday, April 26, 2009

How Not To Ask For Digital Images

I get calls about this all the time from confused artists. A show is asking for digital images that meet the following requirements, "300DPI or larger." or how about this one that I came across when I helped a local artist prepare images for an application; "Save photos as JPEGs at 400 dpi. The higher the resolution, the better to see your artwork!"

Only actual pixels matter, and images should be defined in height and width in pixels.

DPI is dots per inch that a printer puts down on paper. PPI is pixels per inch and is the density of the pixels within the image. Neither PPI nor DPI is the size of the image and has no relationship to how large an image displays on a monitor or is digitally projected. In fact, an image that is 1920 pixels at 72 PPI is exactly the same file size, displays exactly the same viewable size, and has the same amount of detail in the jury room as an image that is 1920 pixels at 300PPI or even 1920 pixels at 4000PPI. Digital display devices like monitors or projectors only see actual pixels, not resolution. Resolution is only important when making a print where the closer together the ink dots are (DPI) usually means a higher quality print.

Pixels vs. Inches
Monitor and projector resolution is defined in pixels. Though you purchase monitors based on their size in inches or how much space they take up on a desktop, what displays on them is defined by their resolution in pixels. For example, 17 and 21 inch monitors, each set to 1024x768 will display a 500 pixel (long dimension) at the same proportional size taking up approximately 2/3 thirds of the height or 1/2 of the width. So when an art show asks for images size 5x7, they are referring to how large the image displays on the monitor they are using to write the instructions and it has no bearing on how large the images actually display on the monitors of the artists applying. That's why art shows need to ask for images in pixels.

Square images
Both monitors and projectors are horizontal format. Therefore if an image is asked for at 1024x768, the vertical size will be two thirds the horizontal size, and is unfair for any artist submitting vertical jury images. The beauty of the 1920x1920 pixel image format is that square images display both horizontal and vertical jury images exactly the same size. That's why the first day ZAPP released their image specifications, which were to be 1280x1920, I called and suggested that to be fair, they ask for a square image masked with black borders. In actuality, this is exactly the same as 35mm slides which can be rotated so that both horizontal and vertical openings are the same.

Digital Cameras and resolution
Digital cameras do not capture resolution, only actual pixels. You can decide what resolution you want by opening the image in Photoshop and unchecking resample before changing resolution. Resolution does absolutely nothing to file size as long as the pixel dimensions don't change. What's important is that you set your digital camera to capture the most amount of pixels at the highest image quality with the least amount of JPEG compression. Read my article on how to set your digital camera to photograph art.

Art Shows not using ZAPP or JAS but asking for digital images
For shows that don't understand digital images, I have two articles on my web site that I e-mail to any show interested in doing it in a way that's fair for all artists. How to ask for digital images and the best way to view digital jury images.

In summary
Asking for resolution isn't asking for an image, it's only asking for the density of the pixels in an image. You need to know the height and width of the image either in pixels (for monitor/projector jurying) or inches (for printing) to provide what they need, and this goes for any digital image submission, not just art show jurying.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Art in the High Desert Gives Feedback to Artists

Carla Fox, artist and director of Art in the High Desert has this to say about jury feedback.
"I found, as an artist, I was frustrated in not getting into some shows though I tried repeatedly with different images. I wanted to know more than just my score. Art in the High Desert is the only show I am aware of that works this hard to help artists improve their applications. We are offering a window into the jury room, as well as specific feedback on your specific application and images and how the jurors viewed them. The extra fee for jury feedback, was also explained in the prospectus. Here is what the prospectus states about jury feedback and it is far more than just scores.
Jury Feedback - If you would like feedback from the Art in the High Desert after the jurying we are happy to supply you with this. It consists of general comments from the jury room, a checklist of common concerns, as well as brief comments on your submission. The cost for this is $5. These are available until June 1, 2009. A SASE, your name & media, + a check is required for feedback."

The $5 jury feedback fee covers a whole new set of expenses. Each juror had a "Juror Feedback Form" for each artist. That is 4 jurors x 397 artists who applied =1588 pieces of paper. Board members also took notes of reactions in the jury room. All this paper must be sorted and cataloged. For each artist who wants feedback we check all the notes to compile their personal feedback. This takes a lot of time. And frankly is a pain in the butt. Each year I wonder why I fight for this feedback as the paper consumes my time.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Detroit Festival of the Arts Cancelled for 2009

This was announced back in October on their web site:

The University Cultural Center Association (UCCA) has announced that it will not produce the Detroit Festival of the Arts in 2009 due to the construction of the Midtown Loop Greenway. The Loop will extend through a significant portion of the festival site. Please note that the Festival will return in 2010.

A legitimate reason, unlike most of the other shows that are canceling due to high booth fees and not enough artists applying.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Apply to be on the Waiting List

Where are the artist advisors when you need them. A screen capture from the show's web site:
The 2009 ArtFest Midwest "The Other Art Show" takes place on June 27-28 in Des Moines. It's the local art show that runs at the same time as the nationally recognized Des Moines Art Festival. The original deadline was March 2 with notification March 21. But if you look at their application page on the web site it says, "April '09 *****PLEASE NOTE We have openings for the waiting list for the 2009 show and are accepting artist applications. If interested in the waiting list, we will waive the jury fee. There are also a few outdoor demonstrating artist booths available. Follow normal application process or email or call for further info."
It also says further down on the page that "payment of booth fee is a guarantee to exhibit. Booth fee is non-refundable".

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Artwork Photographer Provides Strange Color Files

I occasionally get images to correct where the photographer has given the artist images of their work with color that looked weird. In the above example, the photographer had shot RAW and converted his files to the Prophoto rgb color space. In simple terms, the Prophoto color space has more color information than the Adobe RGB color space which has more color information than the sRGB color space. But you need a color managed program (like Photoshop) to view the Prophoto files properly, otherwise you'll see the image on the right when you should be seeing the image on the left.

Working in the Prophoto color space is fine, but the photographer also needs to understand the limitations of their client. Not everyone has access to a program like Photoshop, which can read the color information and display it accurately. Therefore the image should have been converted to the sRGB color space and before being given to the artist, which is also the default color space for digital jurying for art shows.

Good Art Doesn't Have To Match Your Couch

Artwork as a Bulletin Board

Every wonder what your customers do with the artwork they purchase? That painting or photograph is probably hanging over the couch being appreciated by all who view it. But sometimes it has an unexpected use, like this reproduction (I certainly hope it's not an original painting) hanging at the nurses station, being used as a bulletin board at the hospital where I was visiting a friend.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Art Show Tries to Give Feedback to Artists

In an interview with a 2009 Brookside juror, I was told that Brookside was saving juror comments for the artists in the "comments" line of the ZAPP scoring page. A number of artists asked where they could find those comments. An artist contacted the show and sent me this e-mail:
"I have done some checking with Donna Potts, the show director at Brookside, and she has found out from Zapp that artists are currently unable to access the juror comments. According to Donna, Zapp hopes to make that available next year. Donna was not aware that artists couldn't access the feedback and wishes she had known."