Sunday, August 10, 2008

What I did on my Summer Vacation

Well, truth be told our summer vacation was more business than vacation but I couldn’t pass up the cozy nostalgic notion. Barbara and I ventured to the region north of us widely referred to as “Up North.” Generally speaking our trips up north are saved for the autumn months, the colors, cider and cool air. Or, I’m with a couple friends fly fishing the Yellow Dog river in the upper peninsula, in which case Barbara is no where near me, or the insanely large number of angry, hungry bugs. This year we went north in August largely to visit with several artists in their studios and also a couple of art fairs. Fortunately, for us and I suppose for you as well, we found several new artists for the gallery. But what I really wanted to talk about are the art fairs. One we thoroughly enjoyed and the other, not so much. I’ll get the ugly out of the way asap. The fair in Bay Harbor, MI was rather disappointing. I know some of you are thinking, “all art fairs are disappointing.” Well, that may be true but if you truly feel this way might I suggest you reconsider your motivation for attending in the first place. The fact is your probably not going to find the next Pollock, Picasso or Richter at these fairs but you can certainly find plenty of fresh air, summer food, and many, many artists working their tails off trying to sell their efforts. The second fair in Sutton’s Bay, MI was delightful. Both of these fairs are not at all near the scale of the colossal event in Ann Arbor or even our local Crosby Festival of the Arts at the Toledo Botanical Gardens. The fairs we visited are both small and intimate, situated in and around some of the most beautiful country you can find within a comfortable days drive. The artists were typically solid in their chosen medium with most from our region and some from right here in our area. The Sutton’s Bay fair was just put together better, offered more quality artwork to view making for a much more enjoyable fair.

I respect these artists devotion to a way of life many of us could simply not begin to handle. This business of producing art is crazy enough when you enlist the help of dealers, and gallerists to sell your work for you. The notion of packing a van full of your glass, prints, jewelry, pottery, paintings etc. and setting up camp for one to four days on a hot summer weekend is not at all for the faint of heart. These people deserve our respect, admiration and when you get right down to it some of our cash. Artists such as these have chosen to go this road in an attempt earn a living but also to communicate to us on a personal, toe to toe level what they see in this world. There is real value in that for us. We all benefit when seeing things from an artist’s eye, enriching our world in ways we alone could never accomplish.

Go to an art fair this summer or coming fall. Take it all in, the food, the smell, the art and if at all possible reach for that wallet and take something home, you’ll be rewarded every day in ways I can’t begin to explain.