In March of this year, I'm planning on subscribing once again to Art Calendar magazine. You might be thinking, "yeah, so what?" but this has a big impact on me and my little world. I'm actually very anxious but yet somehow excited about this.
You see, Art Calendar is the magazine by artists for artists, that has all sorts of articles about art, creativity, yada yada and it also features, in very small little typeface, buried in the back of the probably hand-stapled publication, The Listings.
What is a Listing, you might ask? And that would be a good question. The Listings, as they are called by people in the know (this is now both you and I,) are the running, monthly changing, list of galleries, museums, and other odd hovels, looking for artists to exhibit their work. The Listings are used by people (The Artists, perhaps?) who want to actively exhibit their work.
You see, the way it works is:
- The folks at Art Calendar mail out their little hand-stapled magazine by artists for artists that has all sorts of articles about art, creativity, yada yada on the first of the month. In very small little typeface, buried in the back, the people who read this publication, perhaps known as The Artists, can flip to The Listings.
- The people, perhaps known as The Artists, eagerly await the arrival of this publication and prey the mailman is not a day late, because the deadlines in The Listings are fast approaching, in fact, many of them have already passed or are, quite likely, about to in ten minutes or less.
- The people, perhaps known as The Artists, maniacally tear through The Listings in ten minutes or less (so as not to miss that huge impending afformentioned deadline) trying to figure out which hovel might possibly want to exhibit their crap-on-a-stick and call it artwork. The mailman is not offered sufficient time to flee the scene. Often, he's witness to scraps, shreds, bits, and shards of paper (and, it goes without saying, staples which were once used by hand) flying through the air before his very eyes. The Artists tear through The Listings wondering if their landscape photographs could pass as sculpture from Africa created by aboriginee natives indigineous to New Guinea. (The Listings, you see, are sometimes quite specific. The world has enough "straight white male" artwork, whatever this is, according to The Galleries.)
- The wannaba Artists send unsuspecting galleries (in ten minutes or less) a package containing perfectly labeled and mounted slides of their work, complete with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one of them, plus complete biographies, and a spew of undeciferable verbiage that we pompously refer to as The Artist's Statement. (Which defies logic, isn't written in anything resembling proper English, and bears as little possible reflection upon the prior mentioned crap-on-a-stick The Artist is trying to pawn off as artwork as is possible.) Many Artists don't make it past this step because they would prefer to skydive without a parachute, jump off a cliff, or walk into the ocean rather than prepare The Artist's Statement. (We're painters, not writers, you see.)
- The Galleries, to use a technical term, take months to selectively cull over which crap-on-a-stick from which lucky people, soon to be Artists, they would like to exhibit. Actually, the packages, as prepared in Step 4 sit and gather dust in the back of The Galleries until 10 minutes before The Exhibition, at which point The Galleries pickup random packages and say things like, "this appears to be crap-on-a-stick but we need something to hang on the wall so send them a postcard."
- The people, now officially known as The Artists, receive, in the mail (if the mailman has survived Step 3,) The Postcards, altering them to the fact that their crap-on-a-stick has been accepted into The Gallery and that it must be perfectly matted, framed, and presented in ten minutes, in order to make it there in time for The Opening Reception. It goes without saying that, most people, now officially known as people who didn't get into the show receive postcards alterting them to the fact that their crap-on-a-stick wasn't good enough. Sometimes the postcards contain no markings whatsoever and it's left to the "people" to decifer the fact that they didn't get into The Gallery and which gallery it was that responded. (Sometimes, if you are lucky, you get a line through the "No" box and like maybe a return PO Box bearing the wrong zip code, but that's only if your mailman is alive.)
- The Artists run to The Post Office where they literally jump over piles of dead mailmen, claw their way to the front of the line, and demand their precious crap-on-a-stick artwork be send to Peoria in the next ten minutes or less, including, of course, return postage and several hundred copies of Artist's Statements, some of which were written by Artists now dead (See Step 4) and none of which apply to the specific crap-on-a-stick they are mailing in the same box because, hey, they had only ten minutes to get there and they are "flaky" artist types.
- The Galleries, The Artists, sometimes even The Dead Mailmen, all come together for a shindig we like to call The Opening Reception. The Opening Reception is, in fact, the best part about making art because they serve alcohol there. That and, you get to look at lots of crap-on-a-stick that people, who really shouldn't call themselves Artists, have put up on the wall for you to enjoy. Oh and, they serve alcohol there.
- The Art Dealers, who should buy your precious crap-on-a-stick, and might be willing to pay millions for it, don't come to The Opening Reception, rather it's attended by several other Artists, Gallery owners, and, if you are lucky, reporters from the oh-so-compelling Peoria Daily News. That's ok though because they serve alcohol there.
- Should somebody, wanting to actually buy some artwork which matches their couch, happen to show up, by mistake, at The Gallery during The Opening Reception, they will demand to speak to you, The Artist, for hours about "your depth" and details of your work that you clearly included in your Artist's Statement. They will attempt to, quite literally, talk your ear off. That's ok though, they serve alcohol there. At the end of the evening, by the time The Opening Reception is over, nobody will have bought your artwork and you will have overheard several passers-by make inspiring comments like, "I just don't understand art these days. I mean, how can this pass as artwork? That looks like crap-on-a-stick." That and, there won't be any alcohol left. (My only advice to you, if you are an aspiring Artist, is to leave The Opening Reception as soon as there is no alcohol left.)
I just love being an artist. It's so much fun.
Until next time...