I recently announced that I will be showing work in the upcoming Catholic Charities Gala of the Arts at Navy Pier. It has been a good learning experience to work with an outside organization on this. So many of my previous shows were self-organized and self-promoted. For this show, I could really just focus on the art, and let the experienced Art Committee do the rest.
The Art Committee is allotting a 5′ x 8′ hanging space for each artist. We are allowed to bring between four and nine pieces. We were asked to draw up our display ahead of the show at a 1:12 scale. On the day of the show, there will be no guesswork. The artists or their assistants will oversee the art installation according to the pre-designed layouts.
I took the idea of the layout sketch a step further and printed out copies of each piece to scale. This not only makes my layout design crystal-clear for the Art Committee, but it also gives a glimpse of the show to all the people who cannot purchase a ticket.
Gala of the Arts layout
You’ll notice there are no new pieces. I am still in the mindset of getting my existing inventory in front of new audiences. The Gala of the Arts crowd is definitely a new audience for me, and I look forward to seeing its response!
Last year, I made a number of pieces inspired by the Lithuanian Carmelite Icon, Our Lady of Ostrabrama (also known as Our Mother of Mercy, or Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn). You can see the first drawing I made at the left. I went on to produce prayer candles, holy cards, and other OLO images, most of which featured at the second NIA Art of the Solstice show. The prayer candles and holy cards sold well, but I had a lot of the merchandise left over.
Flash forward over a year and a half later. I happened to be having a conversation with someone about the history of OLO, and I mentioned the many art pieces I had made. It turns out this person was looking for gift ideas for a friend who is a Lithuanian American Catholic! Upon looking through some of my pieces, she decided to purchase the original drawing and one of the holy cards for her friend!
It goes to show that you never know when you will meet a potential client. You have to believe there is a home for each of your pieces somewhere, even if you don’t find it right away. Always be willing to talk about your work, and you will create the conditions in which buyers can discover you.
Way back in 2012, in my third blog post (which you can read here), I shared a few of the illustrations I made for author John Wawrzaszek’s Field Manual: Human Body zine. (You can read an excerpt from the hilariously surreal zine here.) I enjoyed the project, but I never expected to return to these illustrations I made so long ago….
John has also been organizing a long-running series of readings called Two Cookie Minimum. Last night was the 6th anniversary of the series, and John commemorated the occasion by presenting a couple of chapters from Human Body. He wanted to project some of the illustrations while he read, but he didn’t want to use the same black-and-white versions that everyone has already seen.
For this special anniversary, John asked me to colorize the drawings. I decided to make the coloration look like the printing techniques you see in old anatomy textbooks. (If you click on an image, you will get a closer look.) The result is fun and adds a new dimension to the drawings. You can see a photo from the reading here, taken by Alex Nall.