Utica Uptown Downtown Art Fair 2015

I can’t believe it has almost been a year, since I wrote my last post. Of course there has been a lot going on and there has been some progress in the studio but things have slowed down due to a little addition to the family.

However, it’s that time of the year again… the time of the Third Utica Uptown Downtown Art Fair. Just like last year, I will be showing alongside some amazing makers from the Utica area and I am very excited to participate again. This time around, ProonK will be showing at the 4 Elements Studio, an awesome artist space that is run by ceramicist Vartan Poghosian. 4 Elements Studio is located on the top floor of a prior school building on Washington Street and Vartan rents out additional rooms to other artists that also love the fresh artistic breeze that is blowing trough a revitalized Downtown Utica. If my studio was not downtown already, the ProonK Studio just recently moved to Elizabeth Street, I would have loved to be part of Vartan’s artist collective. The space is truly special with it’s old school vibe and cute little studios.

Next to 4 Elements Studio, more than 15 artists are going to show in three additional spaces: The Other Side Gallery, Sculpture Space and Oneida Square Project Public Art & Design.

Participating artists are:

@Sculpture Space:
Kim Carr-Valdez
Paul Valdez

@ 4 Elements Studio:
Vartan Poghosian
Victor Lenuzza
Celeste Friend
Art Baird
Cynthia Baird
Shannon Stockbridge
Rosette Schureman
Kathy Donovan
Steve Nyland
Marc Tucci
Betty Murtagh
Proonk Jewellery

The Other Side Gallery and the Oneida Square Project Public Art & Design will show a wide selection of local artists featuring ceramics, photography, paintings, prints, drawings and mosaic products for business and home.

Here is the official poster with directions and all the fabulous artists:

utica uptown downtown art fair 2015

I would very much like to encourage everyone who is interested in going to try to make it to all four locations, since there is a great chance to win a raffle prize made by the artists.

The show will be held on November 28th and 29th from 10am-5pmwww.uticaartfair.com

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
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Schmuck #5: (ig)noble

Last but not least, I would like to talk about the Schmuck-satellite-exhibition ‘(ig)noble’, showing work of Swedish artists Karin Roy Andersson, Lisa Björke, Pernilla Persson, Hanna Liljenberg and Sanna Svedestedt at the Schwedische Kirche.

I will say it in advance, this was a difficult and challenging exhibition for me to see. Difficult and challenging in a good way, since it raised a lot of questions in my head that I am still thinking about.

But to the show… The artists said that the idea of the exhibition came to life after reminiscing about last year’s Schmuck-madness. The girls found that it seems like the contemporary jewellery market is getting more and more saturated. More people seem to be adjusted to the idea of artists using non-precious materials in jewellery, the price-range seems to be around 300€ plus, the quality of the work seems to stay around a similar level but there does not seem to be real buying force.

Therefore, the girls came up with the idea to make four different kinds of pieces, ranging from 35€ for several small-edition pieces over to six small-edition pieces with slight variations for 200€, two one-of a kind pieces for 600€ and one exclusive piece for 2000€. This was meant to help explore the visitors’ interests and buying bahaviours.

The exhibition was set-up in form of four wide tables that showed the 35€ work of all artists in the front row, the 200€ work in the next row, the 600€ pieces came right after, followed by the 2000€ work in the last row. The prices of the pieces were determined by the time the artists needed to make them. This was mainly visible in the pieces in form of the size. Although each artist used the same materials in all pieces, the 35€ work resembled small tokens that people could take with them to remember the show, whereas the 2000€ pieces were big elaborate statement pieces.

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 4.47.55 PMKarin Roy Andersson

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.47.12 PMLisa Björke

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.49.54 PMPernilla Persson

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.52.39 PMHanna Liljenberg

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 6.56.16 PMSanna Svedestedt

The reason why I wanted to see the show was because of the duality that came with it. It seemed like the Schmuck world was parted in half. Prior to seeing the exhibition, I talked to a few people about it and some were absolutely intrigued to go and see it because of its bold statement that put the selling-point of jewelley in the spotlight. Others seemed appalled because of just this. It seems like we are still living in a world where artists are not supposed to talk about money. Pretty sad to me, since we all know money unfortunately does not grow on trees, especially not when you’re an artist.

As you can hear, I applaud the boldness of the exhibition and I am still very intrigued to know about the results that the girls gained from it.

During the time I visited the exhibition and quite some time after I had left, I had several thoughts and questions in mind. So far, I have been a frequent Schmuck visitor. Almost every year, since I started to study jewellery design, I went to Munich to see the event. Now, almost 10 years and several satellite-exhibitions later, it seems like my perception of the event has changed. I guess the show has always been the same way but this year, it occurred to me that, I assume, there might have been 60% students, 25% makers, 10% galleries and 5% potential buyers. Now, come to think of money, we all know that students don’t have it and most artists don’t have it either. Galleries mainly come to find, represent and sell new work, which leaves only a very small number of people that is interested in actually buying the work.

Back to the show… when being there, a student who joined us to see the exhibition decided to buy one of the 35€ pieces. When asked why he went for that one, he said that he would have loved to buy a bigger one but that he could not afford it. Hence, he bought the smallest and cheapest version of it, so that it would remind him of the bigger piece he actually really liked. I found this very interesting. Does this mean, in reality, in order to make a living, one will have to make just this? Make cheaper jewellery that reminds one of something one can’t afford? But then who is one making the big expensive pieces for? For the hope a potential buyer will come along and buy it one day anyway or to keep the dream alive for people who can’t afford them? Don’t get me wrong, there are millions of other reasons as to why one should make the big pieces but trying to see it from a mainly selling point of view, I am not sure if I want to hear the answer.

But back to the roots of the problem. If there is only a small number of people that is capable of buying the more expensive jewellery, how does one reach them? Is a show like Schmuck the right platform to try and approach this kind of people or is it really meant to be more of a showing event that presents the newest trends? But if this is the case, where does one show and sell the pieces? Of course there are contemporary jewellery galleries, which can be very successful in selling the work. But other than galleries, is there nothing else artists can actively do? How can artists reach the buying force? Also, how can artists attract the millions of people that still don’t know about contemporary jewellery? As we all know, the contemporary jewellery world is still very small…

This is a really difficult matter and honestly, I don’t know the answers to it.

I would really like to hear what the Swedish artists found out. I guess the 35€ pieces might have been the best sellers, which is great of course but a little sad at the same time.

As to the show, I think it was a very bold and brave attempt to raise awareness as to how to make a living in this field. It surely is not easy. I hope there will be more exhibitions of this kind to come in the future. Artists get together!

What do you think about this matter? What can be done? I would love to hear your opinions.

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to follow this blog.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

Inspiration – Hedda Bjerkeli

It sure has been a while again since my last post and really, I should be working on my display for pieces that will be on show at Broad Street Gallery in Hamilton, NY. …for anyone in the area who is still looking for something special for Christmas, this might be the place to go.

Still, I stumbled over the work of artist Hedda Bjerkeli this morning and I instantly fell in love with one piece. It is a brooch that at first sight might look pretty simple due to its oval shape but taking a closer look reveals millions of little details and characteristics that make this brooch exquisite. I love the way the enamel looks messy and in some sort natural. It has an incredible ‘home-ly’ feel to it. It is calm but at the same time incredibly vibrant. The stitching, is it crochet?, really pushes me over the edge… I can see parallels to my graduation pieces and future ideas for many more pieces to come. I am excited!

The workshop is almost ready by the way and I can’t wait to have a big enameling session soon. More good things to come…

Image

Work and photo credits: Hedda Bjerkeli

Image

Work and photo credits: Hedda Bjerkeli

Lisa Juen – Become One, Ring 2007

Lisa Juen – Snembryo, Brooch 2007

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like my FB ProonK page.

ProonK at DAFF

The time has come to report about ProonK at DAFF, the Design, Art & Fashion Fair in Shanghai that took place at Wharf 1846, Bund Promenade on Cinqo de Mayo last Saturday.

After a couple of VERY busy weeks in the studio, trying to get as much jewellery done as possible (23 Globalorettes, 23 pairs of earrings, 24 Solitaire Rings, 8 Clover Rings, 5 Cluster Rings, 24 ProonK Rings, 4 MeiHua Book Marks and 3 pairs of Solitaire Cufflinks), I was ready to embrace this event. Luckily with the help of two really great people, Rachel Marsden and Barry Sinnott who went far and beyond to help with packing, coordinating, planing, setting-up, chatting, attracting, looking great in their ProonK T-Shirts, feeding me, take-down, schlepping and of course partying… Thank you so much!

I was very nervous at first, since this was the first time I participated in such an event with ProonK but it was super exciting at the same time, not really knowing what to expect.

The Ice Cream Truck-team, the main organizers behind the event, kicked it off with a pre-party at Source, which was a great opportunity to meet other artists and designers participating in the fair. I met Frau Ana, a German fashion designer based in Shanghai for the first time, as well as the product designer Jonas Merian from Jonas Design and my friends Nini and Gregor from Idle Beats. I met the two because of a screen printing workshop in which I participated last Thursday to print my own ProonK T-Shirts. They looked absolutely fabulous and it was such a lot of fun to print them with Gregor, who is a taught Church-Painter (Kirchenmaler), a trade that I wasn’t even aware existed but sounds incredibly exciting! I will blog about the print-making evening in a separate post soon.

The party was big fun, partially because of the free beer and pizza, which were the reason why I had BIG trouble rolling out of bed in the morning at 8am. Somehow we made it to the Wharf around 11am and we managed to set everything up in time. I decided to go with a hanging theme, since it was easy to transport and install and did not look super heavy. I am not a big fan of displays that kill the excitement of entering right on the doorstep. The hanging idea was perfect, since I attached the jewellery to its packaging and it was very easy to wrap them up and send them on their way.

DAFF officially started at 2pm and was meant to run until 12pm. There were several artist and designers participating, as well as food and liquor stands. I had some great sausage from Amelia, the lady in Shanghai who is known for her jam. Recently, she started to sell home-made sausages too, which were a DELIGHT! I had to go back a second time to satisfy my meat-cravings!
Around 4pm, there was a fashion catwalk with Frau Ana and other participating fashion designers. Unfortunately, I could not see it, since a lot of visitors started to show up around that time and we were all super busy talking and introducing ProonK. I think the majority of people visiting really liked what we had to offer and it made me really happy to see that. There were a lot of surprised and astonished faces, especially because of the use of the LED lights in the jewellery.
At some point in the evening, I heard of a street art competition with several graffiti artists taking part but again, I could not make it there. Rachel went to see it though and she was kind enough to give me her pictures, so you can see them now too. I met one of the graffiti artists, Siu Tang, later on. Have a look at his blog here.

For some reason, the event was shut down by the police around 10pm. They just came in at some point and locked the main entrance gates. I am not sure why or what happened. It was a bit of a shame, since the fair was meant to last until midnight but I felt sort of relieved as well, because my feet were killing me from straight 12 hours standing. I did not even make it to the after-party at Strictly Designers United anymore. Instead, I fell asleep on the 15min cab journey home to wrap up the display!

Here are a few more pics of the event, showing you the vibe of the day in 30 degree sunshine and hundreds of visitors. I really enjoyed taking part and I hope there will be a repetition soon! I am very much looking forward to it… I hope you too!


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