Hi Everyone out there in the Vancouver area. As you may know this years Eastside Culture Crawl is once again upon us. This is a hugely fun event for both artist and visitors! If you are out and about checking it out make sure you stop in here at the ARC! We are on the invite/map. Below I have written some points that might make your visit more enjoyable for everyone involved. I have been involved in about eight or more of them and have picked up some tips that might help visitors have a better time.
A couple of points to remember during the crawl are first most artists are not set up for debit or visa etc. Cash or check usually works though. Some artists though may want to keep the work around until the show is over. That is pretty common with a lot of galleries and shows etc. You can rest assured that even if paid for it would be more than safe with them until you pick it up after the show. Artist's will often treat art buyers like the Gods that they are. If you are still a little nervous then then an option is to at least leave a deposit to let the artist know you are serious and committed to buying the piece.
Never tell a pre-gallery artist you are a gallery owner, if you are, otherwise they are liable to follow you home. If not that they will at least talk your ear off non stop which could threaten their air intake and thus affect proper brain function.
Also it is important to remember that the pile of junk in the corner of their studio that your child just jumped on and broke is a $5000. piece of art work. I know it really is hard to believe. So please save a lot of hard feelings and keep an eye on your younger ones. Of course if you are somewhat art educated you will already know this.
Another point to remember is that most of the artists in the show are not yet in real estate, even though they may want to be. So please don't ask them how much their rent is, does that include heat and hot water or how they like living in the building. They want to talk about their art or even better sell you their art. The building here though does have a manager that will tell you all of that... In fact he gets paid to do that. He will even book you in for a building tour if you are an artist.
Though the artist may want to talk to you for hours about your medical condition or whatever. please don't let him!!!!! Being an artist is a tough life and they really need to keep focused on selling their art and other potential customers. These shows are a crazy amount of work to get ready for. Not to mention way more expense than it seems at first. They need to recoup their expenses. Promise the artist that you will call him after the show is over and you can tell him all the details then.
I should also point out that I did hear rumor that a lot of artists, here at the ARC anyway, have hidden camera's in their bathrooms. Supposedly they are also known for posting videos taken with these camera's on the web. So needless to say don't ask them to use their washrooms if you don't want to end up online! Aside from that, most likely have their bathrooms piled to the ceiling with private and personal stuff that you would not want to see anyway!! Besides the ARC has washrooms in the basement for everyone visiting to use. There is often a show down there in our Common Room anyway.
One thing you will notice here at the ARC is that there are virtually no TV's! Artists often don't have time after doing their day job (if they have one) and then their artwork to watch tv anyway. Most will though have computers that they worship and depend on. With a lot of them it is their only connection to the outside world. Please don't ask to use their computers to check your email!! Aside from being a bit rude it is an invaision of one's privacy. Most artists along with normal people prefer to leave privacy invasion up to qualified government personal who do it without them knowing it via virus scans etc.
Another good point to remember is there are as many examples of artists who made it very big while they were alive as there are of ones who never made it until they were dead. So please save yourself the embarassment of telling that story one more time. Remember most artists have heard the old "make it after you die" story thousands of times. Of course anyone into marketing knows that death has very little to do with an artist making it. In fact, unless an artist lives long enough to produce a big enough body of work he will likely never make it anyway... dead or alive. So again save yourself the embarassment of telling that cliche story one more time.
One real good point to note is that a lot of what makes art good or bad is your interpitation. Have you ever met someone who hated a flavour of ice cream you loved? They weren't really crazy... they just had different tastes. During one "Crawl" I had up one of my crosses with arrows stuck in it. One fellow came in, a nice christian chap, who did not take much of a shine to the piece. The look in his eye made me, for a moment, appreciate the fact that we have such strict handgun laws here in Canada!!! For the rest of the show I kept one eye on the door to our studio and the other for some cover just in case. Later on in the show another fine Christian chap came in and fell in love with the piece and what it represented to him. He went on to rave about the piece and that I must have recieved inspiration from God himself when I did it. He told me to never stop welding. Just the same I still kept my eye on the door for the chap who was not so... shall we say...moved. Remember "good" is often nothing more than a personal preferance. In fact if you look at history some of the greatest art was rarely recognized by the art authorities of the time. Trust you own likes and dis-likes and you won't go far wrong.
During the Crawl you are also bound to stumble across some artist who does work just like someone you know. Even though it could be true the artist does NOT want to hear about him. Not only does he not want to hear it, he would definately not love the artist's work. They love their own work. That's why they do it. Think about it for a moment. If you were a dentist and you told someone that fact, how would you feel if they dived into a long winded story about how they knew a dentist who did ABSOLUTLY AMAZING WORK. Would you want to quickly grab that dentists web address so you could check out what he is doing when you got home? Didn't think so. Neither do many of the artists here want to check out some other artist that is doing AMAZING work just like theirs. This is another cliche that artists hear over and over and over and over and over....
Another point to note is that a lot of artists's just love dogs! Probably even your dog. Just the same some might not. So please don't bring your pet, dog, cat or otherwise. Even though artists work in their studios here at the ARC they also live here. Some may not appreciate your pet in your space as much as you do. Not only that but pets often don't have an appreciation for fragile art like humans do. Who knows some may even have pet alergies. So once again please leave Bowser at home or at least in the car. This will save everyone a lot of stress likely including your pet.
It is also important to note that having 3500 people track through your living room is a little stressful to say the least. As the previous manager here for six years here I saw a lot of artists say no big deal when I told them about the crawl. Often those ones by Sunday were cross eyed and exhausted in dis-belief! Even though it is taxing it is also a lot of fun. This makes it great for you since you get the chance to trudge through a lot of private studios you would normally never get to see! Following some of the above pointers will make this experience better for you and everyone else.
Otherwise hope to see you at the show!!! Have fun and check out some cool new art. For more info on buying art check out my other post: Gold silver art and antiques