The Artist Is Open

From May 14-17th I participated in this:

Print

It.  Was.  AWESOME.

Along with exhibits, performances, dance, and music the Long Island City Arts Open Festival includes an artists’ open studios weekend.  It was the first time I’ve participated in an open studios event (always wanted to, but my Vancouver studio was located outside the catchment for the Eastside Culture Crawl).  I’m so glad I had the opportunity to participate – it really was a positive experience.

In preparation for the weekend I rearranged my studio slightly: moved my loveseat, placed tables to make viewing artwork on shelves easier, and put my chair on the other side of my worktable so that I could greet folks as they came in:

view from desk

My inward view from the other side of the table.

I put excess work into plastic, archival sleeves so folks could browse through series and get up close and personal to the art.  Printed artist statements gave visitors insight as to what inspired the different series – handy for shy visitors or for when I was engaged in conversation with someone else:

Didactic panels

Framed piece in background (How To Be A Bi-Polar Bear) was actually upstairs in the Made At Reis Studios Show & Sale over the open studios weekend.

I invited viewers to sit and look through my sketchbook for an insider’s view to my process:

Sketchbook

While receiving visitors I worked on The Bats.  Creating with my hands has always made me feel more grounded and I appreciated having a task:

Bat Parts

Bags and bags of bodies and legs.

Giving myself something to do other than sitting around awkwardly waiting for the next wave of people to arrive wasn’t the sole purpose for the resurfacing of wee bat body parts. 😉  I thought it would be interesting for studio visitors to experience what goes on in the studio, so I did what I would normally do if I had been there on my own.  The bonus I got for working on this particular project during the open studios?  As I was explaining the piece to guests, I became newly inspired to finish it and I’m all fired up to see this installation realized.

Artist interacting with the public!  Photo: Pat Arnow

Artist interacting with the public! Photo: Pat Arnow

Both Saturday and Sunday were busy with curious crowds of art-loving visitors.  It was encouraging to receive positive feedback and interest in my work (40+ new museletter subscribers!) and I enjoyed chatting with people about the inspiration behind individual pieces.

A truly fulfilling experience – I’m already looking forward to next year’s festival.

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