Let’s face it.
Unions were and at times are still important. They are a counterweight to a management that runs unhindered while taking advantage of employees for the benefit of the capitalist and to the disadvantage of the workforce. Fair enough. But in our times, many laws are already in place where they were not during the more turbulent days gone by for labor unions and workers. All well and good. But artists are not workers being oppressed by the evil capitalists and they are not forced to do anything. Art fair artists already know the rules and can choose to play by them or not. The don’t work for the shows and the shows do not hire artists.
Does this mean things are all “just rosey”for artists? Absolutely not. The key is to take control of the market and work with shows and directors that understand the importance of artists at art shows. That’s my advocacy – throw out the bad apples. Let the buy/sell vendors do those shows and the artists should be doing the “good” ones. Becoming allies with shows that get this concept is key. In the meantime there are a lot of problems.
After my experience with this group I mentioned last week, I have some questions. Does this trade group or union or whatever it may be:
Address the issue of returning art shows to artists?
Have the confidence of artists on the circuit?
Identify with the rank and file artists as multi-layered, professional, educated and diverse people who are creative and do not sell “products”?
Seek to find a way to weed out posers and charlatans in the business without subjecting artists to unrealistic expectations?
Understand and embrace and protect artists with different methods, perspectives and opinions?
Demonstrate an understanding regarding the use of pen names, business names, and nicknames as part of an artist’s experience throughout history as well as presently?
Handle and accept criticism from members, associates, and ancillary populations as well as compliments and adulation with some level of professional humility?
Control on some level the renegade attacks on the credibility of an artist’s personal experience by members with agendi that may differ from the organization’s goals not by admonishing or ignoring the behavior, but by making it clear the behavior of a member or members is not the sanctioned view of the organization, it’s board, or it’s members?
Willing to work with a diverse group of professional artists committed to improving the art fair universe on several levels without muzzling creativity or creating narrow, unmeasurable standards?
Understand as an organization representing members that debate, arguing, compromising, reversing, etc. are all components that need to go into the crucible in order to forge a decent end result?
Able to articulate when they feel insulted or criticized and develop a way to respond, counter, and develop ideas during a process rather than running to “mother”, questioning the integrity of a member as opposed to their intelligence or lack thereof, or denying members that do not fit an equal voice without hanging the death knell of being censored or banned if the power base within the organization determines someone or some people as too disruptive or radical or controversial?
Recognize that all members and non-members are different in their experiences and expressions?
Understand that the proper spelling is “Ignoramuses” rather than “Ignorami”, that the comment was a lowball, and it went over the heads of everyone on the thread?
Have an effective policy regarding gossip and rumors?
Hold members accountable to fair questions such as “What specifically did I do or say to offend you?” as opposed to allowing attacks to continue?
Remove members with an an explanation regarding why?
No to all these questions.
Not at this group.
Nope, not in my mind when I signed up to participate in the group and certainly not now. These questions do not need to be answered at the Corner Booth forum or on the Corner Booth Facebook Page. Why? Because people are not censored there. People can choose to participate or not participate as they see fit. They can bring their game or they can stay home. Art shows are a tough business. We need to be tougher, faster, smarter, better, and make more beautiful paintings, pottery, photos, intaglios, sculptures, jewelry, etc. or we will be eaten alive by unions, unscrupulous shows, buy/sell vendors, and every other player that thinks he can browbeat the artists simply because we do not stand up to the bad guys.
The behavior I experienced last week happened for one very simple reason. I was not looking to get banned. I brought a knife to a gunfight and had to back out of the room. I wanted to see if the group was legitimate with regard to outsiders and I got a mouthful of knuckles – deservedly too.
They had a chance to sway me, to get me to think about what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it. Instead they focused on my pen name and called me a “dick” (which may or may not be true, by the way) among other labels and tried to get me to be a better politician, a better talker, a better mediocre bullshitter.
I am not a politician.
I am not a leader.
I am not a patsy as was hinted by the Jack Ruby comment after I was booted.
They have made a lifelong opponent to their organization in terms of relevancy to me as an artist.
They are not getting my dues or my support.
Are they getting yours?
All my love,
PS: Below is a jpg of a recent drypoint (artist’s proof) I entitled “Winter” – it is part of a new series I have started – I call the series “Ruby of Oregon”. Note the signature! You may copy and share this at your leisure as long as it is not sold, Munks is given credit for it’s creation, and Ruby of Oregon must be noted as the series. Share them with your friends and enjoy! I sure did. I had great inspiration!! Print one out – send it to Oregon, post one in the back of your booth and I’ll sign it at a show for you, send it to me and I’ll sign it and send it back. Wallpaper your studio. Whatever. But always watch out for the Ruby of Oregon and people like her.
Think for yourselves.
Now let’s get back to work and quit giving these people the attention they do not deserve?
No one speaks for you better than your closed checkbooks.