Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ArtFields Kicked Ass!

ArtFields Kicked Ass

This 10 day South Eastern regional event in Lake City, SC, patterned after the massive international Art Prize in Grand Rapids, MI, exceeded all my expectations. My experience with Art Prize in 2011, where I exhibited in Open Concept Gallery was also great (I've got a blog on that under year 2011), but when it comes to the level of art presented, ArtFields was on a much higher level. The reason for this is that the entire event was initially pre-juried by a panel of people including curators and directors from institutions such as The Frist, the High Museum, and the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. The award judging came in the form a mix of  general public texting votes, and a professional jury panel - go to the link and at the top, you see the award judges, at the bottom, the pre-screening jury:
(To see more work contained in the exhibit, go to my previous post)
Inside the largest venue, the ROB, a renovated tobacco warehouse, where my work was placed
Lots of kids attended. This injured one checks out my drawings on cut out plywood.
This is the 2nd year of ArtFields. The 3 winners from 2013 had their own exhibit of new work at the Jones-Carter Gallery. Jim Arendt was the $50,000. juried winner, Kirkland Smith, also SC, the Popular Vote winner, and Leanna Knapp of Florida, the other juried winner. The exhibit was terrific, the gallery gorgeous.
Jim Arendt is a SC artist who works in fiber-specifically re-purposed denim. This is his 1st venture into 3D
Kirkland Smith builds his complex work from found objects and lots of mysteriously appropriated children's toys.
Leanna Knapp works in plaster. Fragile and gorgeous.
There were 400 works of art in or outside 46 downtown businesses all in easy walking distance. This is just random selected work that caught my eye.
work in Downtown Bakery. The little objects attached to the wall piece (Becky Joye/ Raleigh) were motorized. Great cookies there.
Work inside Table 118, the "it" restaurant in town. Had an awesome roasted pear salad there.
Beth Melton/ Thin Air/ Thread, shuttles, spindles from a former SC textile mill. Work like this, and there were plenty, gave this event powerful regional authenticity and individuality.
A Nathan Durfee- Diana Drifting Through the Purr. I liked the pirate kitty the best. He's from Charleston and exhibits at Robert Lange Studios
Ray Azcuy's Fertility Goddess. Rubber and glass.
I saw lots of work I recognize- Edward Belbusti! He is another artist from the Arts Company in Nashville, where I exhibit.
Drat. Can't find who did this. It was interesting.
I can't even say how much I love this crazy piece that was at LaBamba Mexican Restaurant (good food). It is from William Hurt, Raleigh NC. Toast . The restaurant had their whole back event room tricked out into a really decent exhibit space.

Disgusting Event Crasher Incident

We are walking down the sidewalk, and this little girl wearing a tiara asks if I want her autograph, because she is famous for being a star on "Toddlers and Tiaras" reality TV. Don't even get me started on the baby female objectification market. In my past when I got lost in the garment industry, I was often hired to make custom clothes for children like this, and to take photo head shots of them for the catalogs. The mommies make up their faces ahead of time- turning little children into street hooker clowns. Boy do I have stories. The only good one was from a mother who pulled her kid out. That was it- she pulled her kid out. 
So here you have a stellar art event, and some random repugnant sidewalk hawker crashes it with 3 abused little girls dressed as princesses. Cripes- what IS this tiara shit- This is the USA, not a monarchy. Get them a kids Revolutionary War book instead and walk them around this area- All the Swamp Fox/ Francis Marion action went down here.  I can't imagine how messed up those girls brains and sense of reality are.
This bitch (polka dot bag) had these 3 little girls out on the sidewalk all afternoon soliciting people. I googled then- the mom has spent around 1 million on pageanting these twins, and now is renting them out for a fee to get back some of the $$, it looks like. Check out the "For Booking Contact" line in the poster below.
This is what the poor kid handed me. I'm not blurring anything out because they are exploited everywhere all ready. Lots of pedophilia pose pics. If this isn't child abuse, I don't know what is. I love how my local hero Johnny Knoxville made fun of this twisted "industry" in his epic movie, Bad Grandpa. But did it do any good?

Back to ArtFields

There were also a bunch of really interesting events that were part of the ArtFields 10 day event. There was a live portrait drawing event, which I was part of and BOMBED- hence getting kicked out in round one. I drew myself into a tight, overworked corner. The drawing didn't actually totally stink, it was just stiff and off. Amber Patty, another TN artist in it, ruled. She lasted till the last elimination, standing up, working big and loose and kick ass.
They also had workshops, a community mandala project, and this very popular street event, called the "Before I Die" wall. And a 5K, and more and more.
Overall look at the Before I Die Wall
Eclectic detail
Just looking around the area, you soak up history. Some of these companies must have been foreign owned at one time?

State Parks and Horrifying Action Sequence

On the last of the 3 days we were there, we decided to go to two of the local state parks, Woods Bay State Park, and Lynches River County Park. They were both incredible, and have boardwalks through the swamps, and Lynches had a whole system of rope bridges. It was like a movie set.The roads around there go from rural to residential, so you need to watch your speed limit. Between parks, we had just slowed down to 40 mph. entering a residential zone. A white Mercedes was tailgating us, then passed us illegally at around 65 mph. Roberto says "Alpha Fucker". In the tailwind of the Mercedes, an ATV with brake failure shot out into the street from a gravel track behind a hedge row. No warning. Roberto was able to slam on the brakes, and just bump the vehicle. The teenager on it was fairly freaked out, but uninjured. 2 seconds earlier, the Mercedes driver would have killed him instantly. You need to be careful as hell in rural areas. Crazy kids, bike riders, loose cows, tractors, you never know. I don't think that Mercedes driver gave a shit. Robert up grew up looking out for horse drawn sugar cane wagons.
Lynches River County Park
Zippy's good brakes save a live, and Zippy gets an ATV tire dirt tattoo. The ATV and rider were fine.

Back to ArtFields

The Award Ceremony. Good bands, a reception with incredible truffles and a chance to talk with lots of other artists.  The winners are scrolled across the header here:  . I predicted the Family Dollar- I knew it would win something! Every kid in that town is probably playing with cardboard boxes now.
The only issue I had with the event was something they had no control over. This town is beautiful, culturally rich, mostly renovated, has great shops, but, for pain-in -the-asses like us coming in from urban areas, lacking coffee culture. The only latte machine in town was at McDonald's, and it was broken. Roberto blamed the huge influx of art people. They must have gotten slammed, and the machine busted from overuse?The bakery had coffee out in air pots just some of the time. We struggled not to go into withdrawal and become belligerent, then went back in desperation to McDonald's for regular coffee. It was fine, but spoiled idiots like us are wondering, gee, I wonder who the local roaster might be? Duh. There was also our vegetarian issues, but those were more easily solved. Mexican restaurants and Table 181 saved the day!
No lattes or veggie burgers at the Chat and Chew outside of town :-o
I bring home swag!


  1. What a great event! I can't believe you got kicked out of the portrait event after the first round. This shocks me! The galleries and town look cool (minus the exploited children). Mercedes driver is in line for very bad karma.

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