Sunday, December 30, 2012

Submit to the 21st Century...

I went to a big art / craft fair today in Estero. It was more hassle than the hype was worth.

It was maybe half a parking lot full of local artists whoring their wares. Photogs stretching their pieces on canvas the size of a decent flat screen, metal workers heating scraps into lovely ornaments, jewelers appraising fake glass and hocking it as crystal. The list goes on. It was all over priced and under sold.

One lady had her own original piece work, and it was all made out of various scrap metal. Some pieces were elaborate plaques, others were simple designs. However, the face of the pieces were in Hebrew, all different phrases. It wasn't embossed into the metal, don't get me wrong - there was nothing fancy about the work. But, when black magic marker meets the light on distressed alloy, it looks nice.

I have a friend who is converted to the faith, and has recently become more involved in the religion. I wanted to take a picture of one of this artists' pieces, as (I'm not saying I would have bought it - $$$$) I was sure my friend would have liked it. Who knows, my friend could have asked me to pick it up for her, as it would look nice on her wall. But the second I got my phone out, the artist starts screaming at me "no pictures!" "NO PICTURES!!!" and started crying, like I stabbed her brain with a q-tip and knocked her down on the street. She says "all my work... my original work!". Okay, I got the message. You're one of those up tight artists who would rather lose a sale and not get your name out, than possibly have someone buy your "original" and give it as a gift to someone. Trust me, lady, nothing you do is that good or worth it. I've seen better.

Notice, I'm not saying who she is, or where she is out of. I refuse to even give her that much credit. She doesn't deserve me talking about it, but it got me upset because here we are, looking at her work, and possibly interested in the material. I understand taking photos of it is wrong because it's her work, but why sell it then? Is it copy written to the point she took it to the capital and it's on record in the Copyright Office?

We live in an era that is far evolving with fast information. Smartphones easily access the stratosphere of the Ethernet. Hell, even some of the new DSLRs are starting to adapt! One snap of the shutter, the photo of the artist with the piece of work goes to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and where ever else the phone operator wants to put it, as well as in the description linking the artist's name, address, telephone number, web address, and a slew of other information. How many people can see that one photo and read it's a new / local painter, and maybe want to see what other work the person has, is completely up to the artist. Don't limit yourself to setting up at these craft fairs and paying a high entrance fee, just to have people not buy your work. Like I said - I was in the air with this piece. I may have bought it!

One of my questions I asked a friend of mine (via text) was: What's to say that a newspaper wants to do a write up about the people there? The photojournalist can't get a picture of the artist and one of the pieces because, oops, someone may see that and steal the work? There's no real answer to that, unfortunately.

But please. I'm not saying I'm right in this, nor am I saying the woman is right, but the least she could have done was not scream at me. Had I taken the picture, she could have politely come up to me and asked me what I intend to do with the photo. I would have then said "I wanted my friend to see it, as she may want it on her wall". Honest answer. But after seeing the price, there was no way in hell I would have spent that amount of money, and then to pay twice, even three times as much to ship it over seas. So the artist lost a sale.

Needless to say, not a lot of people were walking around the entire fair buying things. The people I went with all said the same thing - that for the price these "artists" are selling their work, it ain't worth it. One of the people I went with, was an arts and craft dealer. He said he could sell his stuff for 9 dollars and people would be lined around the block and sell him out. The artists here, aren't making anything because people don't want to pay hundreds of dollars for a piece of aluminum or a magic marker on glass. And he's right. Proof was today when over a hundred people might have passed through that lot, and not one walked away with anything.

Hell, would this next photo be considered copyright? Am I going to get screamed at by the guy?

Or what about this guy?

Yes, they're both trying to make a living, but I am sure neither one of them is copyrighted. When you want to call apples versus oranges, the pirate's sign said to "Google" him! Now, isn't Google in itself, copy written  And this guy is telling people to go to a well known web search company's page and look for him. Is this infringement?  I don't know. It's becoming too technical.

And yet again, I'm not giving details to these photos as to who they are, or what their character is. You do the searching.

So what do I do? Just keep going out, day after day, taking pictures, doing write ups. It's the last Sunday of the year. Don't over think it.