Lessons from My 1rst SOMA Artists Studio Tour

Lessons from My 1rst SOMA Artists Studio Tour

During the first weekend of June, the 15th South Orange Maplewood (SOMA) Artists Studio Tour was held. I was convinced by my lovely bride to participate because I do not show my work enough. So I prepared myself, printed my work and displayed it for all to see. I stood there for waiting for people to come by, but only a few did.

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Presented by the Pierro Gallery of South Orange and 1978 Maplewood Arts Center, the goal of the SOMA Artists Studio Tour is to celebrate local artist. Visitors are given the opportunity to exhibit and sell their work as well as show off their work environment. I went into the Studio Tour with grand ideas, but I missed a lot. It was not a huge success, it was a learning experience though. Here are a few of the things I learned standing there those two days.

Sharing the wonders I see

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Most of my camera work is done, not expecting notoriety. Most times, as I travel through New Jersey I see my camera work, due to the type of work I do, but rarely am I allowed to say, “I did that”. At the SOMA Artists Studio Tour, I was allowed to say “I created this. ” Picking what to show was hard though and I relied on others for help. The end result was I may have tried to share too much

Curate.

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One Of the things I learned is I have to curate my work better. At the SOMA Artists Studio Tour I just my favorite images, without having a theme to guide how I shared my work. I printed 28 images, it got costly.

Printing cost

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Most of the work I shared at the SOMA Artists Studio Tour was printed on 8×19 Red River Pearl Metalic Paper. I used a Canon Pro-1000 printer to output my work and framed the images. While the prints were beautiful, they were not cheap. If I limited my self just a little more and just matted the images I could of controlled cost better.

Displaying

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When It came to displaying the images, I chose to use easels. The one problem with this was, I was displaying outdoors. I had to contend with the weather and a rambunctious child. Prints were harmed over the course of the weekend. I have to come up with a better way to display my work. 

The Regret

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Out of everything I shared I did not share any of my street photography. In letting someone else help me pick what I shared at SOMA Artists Studio Tour I ended up sharing their favorite works of mine. I did not share my favorite work.

“Think Process, Not Product”

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In sharing my work, creating prints, hoping to sell a few, I did not do one major thing. I did not properly promote myself. I thought that word would spread through the SOMA Artists Studio Tour. In the end, very few people came by. If I ever do this again I will find a more appropriate way to share what I am doing.

Critiques

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The one thing I did enjoy fro the few people who came by was the conversation. It terrified me a little. I was expecting to be criticized more. The people who came, though,  were pleasant and just wanted to see art.

Looking ahead

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Overall the SOMA Artists Studio Tour was a fascinating experience. I made Mistakes,  it was all worth it though. If I ever do a gallery again, I’ll…

  • … give the show one or the themes
  • … make sure the number of  images need to be limited to a more manageable exhibition size
  • … advertise
  • … will keep it simple.
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