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  • katehenke

It's Art Fair Season and Anything Goes

Saturday, August 12 is the Los Alamos Arts and Crafts Fair where I will be selling thirty-two pieces of original art, twenty-five of them are new this year. I managed to sell nearly everything I made in 2022.

As a friend recently pointed out, I wear a lot of hats. Yes, in fact, besides making art I have to update this website (which often gets neglected), manage my time with figuring how and where to market, decide what and when to produce, I have to track and purchase supplies in preparation for these events. It's obvious that its more than a full time job. Amazing that I manage to get down to actual painting at all!

So here we are literal days before the Los Alamo Art Fair this Saturday. Scrambling to get out and email blast so that people on my email list know when and where to find me.

I recently posted in Threads: "I’m doing exactly what everyone warns all artist never to do… create art for people to buy! Instead I see it as an exercise in honing a craft. The more I make the more I learn. The more I sell the more I can afford the supplies to make more. All of these mediums (oil & acrylic painting, ink wash & printmaking) take skill… what better way to develop skill than make and sell art? Nothing I make is precious to me. It’s all part of the process... Call me crazy."

Another artist friend commented on how he liked the diversity of my work. I rather liken it to throwing anything at the wall and see if it sticks analogy. In the world of galleries this approach is frowned upon... after all, you should be honing a style where everything fits together and looks homogenous. Certainly authenticity comes from that unique voice that we all have and historically it has taken artist many long years of hard work to find that voice. Well, I don't have that kind of time and am quite aware that I'm still practicing the scales and I have a lot of catching up to do. Yet and still, I hope to make something that is beautiful, evocative and brings joy and possibly thought to the viewing of what I make.

I recently had a revelation about my success in selling my art... I believe its likely that it comes from that diversity. Once had a visitor come into my booth, look around and say "there's something for everyone here!" Well, it's not my intention, rather comes from being an epicure where I like variety, it keeps my interest. Besides our consumer culture thrives on many choices and the mind begins to engage in "which one do I like the best" and it is competition that draws the viewer in... not necessarily for the experienced art buyer who might like the consistency more than diversity.

The art world is changing fast and furiously due to the internet. No longer is art sold exclusively in galleries ... art is available all over the internet. With it comes a flood of "amateur" artists who during COVID found the time and interest in a online class to discover their own unique voice in making art, and why not? However, it does mean the controls are off and that anything goes  brings about a lot of underdeveloped, boring art encouraged by social media friends, and platforms such as Etsy.

Established art critic Jerry Saltz was talking about the collapse of Modernism on is podcast and he got a lot of flack about it where he said, “We lived to see the collapse of the ideology of Modernism…

"…The point is that art is just coming from everywhere by everybody all at the same time from every place about anything.

"Right now everything is at play. Right now criticism is temporarily suspended… By and large criticism doesn’t exist.

This is quite a statement to be coming from a leading critic.

"Mountain Storm" Acrylic on canvas (9x14)

So we're in a place of anything goes and that sounds like pure freedom to me. Pull out the stops and let your own freaky way of making art fly!

Grateful for a modicum of art schooling that at times seems beneficial and other times adds to a useless inner critic banter. No matter how you dice it, there are only a few pieces that emerge that are worth more than the art supplies they're made with. I'm paraphrasing Brian Rutenburg "...its easy to be great once in a while, much harder to be consistently good."

Bottom line, it takes a lot of courage to put a paintbrush to blank surface and even more terrifying to present it to the public. The fear never goes away... I am driven to do it out of curiosity (where will this lead me?) as well as some kind of wild-ass guidance that keeps telling me I should. No. I MUST.

I may write more on this later but it's late and there are countless things to do in order to send out a very late email to my people.

The next venue where I will sell my work is in beautiful Cathedral Park in Santa Fe, organized by the Northern New Mexico Fine Arts and Crafts Guild and is held on September 23 & 24. Hope to see you at that event.

In October will make all of the unsold new works available in my online store!

Click to see these large:

My new indica logo!

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