Thursday, June 12, 2014
First Friday Foul: How not to treat an artist.
First Friday is the monthly Art Walk on Bainbridge Island. Normally a time to celebrate new art installations with openings at the nearly dozen venues downtown, it was anything but a celebration for Peter Kirk, despite the fact that he was on the verge of his first art show.
Thirty minutes before his opening, he was informed that the venue, Eleven Winery, had taken down his work. Peter had hung it only the day before.
Peter was at a complete loss for words. His show had been arranged by Jen Till, Peter's mentor, a painter who has shown previously at Eleven. In January of this year, Jen sent several photographs of Peter's work, along with a description of his aesthetic, to Eleven. The Tasting Room Manager responded "I loved his work. We would be happy to have him showcased here at the winery."
In the weeks leading up to the show, Peter and the Tasting Room Manager exchanged emails about logistics, scheduling, when to hang the show, and providing an artist's biography. As recently as 3 weeks ago, there was nothing from Eleven but enthusiasm: "I am really excited to have your works featured here at Eleven!"
Instead of hosting a reception to be attended by friends and family, Peter found himself in the parking lot, with his artwork in boxes.
This is not how an artist should be treated.
Jen sent an email to Eleven's owner, who replied that the problem was that Eleven needed a "better system in place for making sure that all art pieces provided for display in our tasting room locations are pre-approved, so that there are no surprises for either the artist or the tasting room manager at the time of the show." Apparently he forgot that the Manager had emailed Jen back in January that she "loved his work" and that "[w]e would be happy to have him showcased here at the winery."
In closing his email, the owner added this little bit: "My artist friends have told me that rejection is part of the deal with a career in art, and that ultimately this experience will make you stronger, blah blah blah. I'm sure you don't want to hear any of that now."
No. He didn't want to hear that.
Peter Kirk's website: http://itsthemorning.com/