Saturday, May 28, 2016

Getting the "Hang" of It!!

Yesterday my daughter and I took down the Dog River Library Show.    I've finally gotten the "hang" of setting up my show for this exhibit.    I remember the first time I did a show at this location.   It took hours and by the end I was exhausted.    I told my daughter "never again."    But time passed and this makes my third "one person" show at this venue.    Here are my tips to a smooth set up.

1.   Preparation - Decide on what will go in the show
I keep a computer file of photos of all my paintings by year.   This show I wanted all new work so this made it easier to sort through and select paintings that would fit the show.   I had been painting some "my town" reference photos so that made for a nice collections.    It takes around 25-30 paintings to make a good show in this venue, so I had to add a few painting from 2015 to round out the collection.    I begin planning the list a few weeks before the show.

2.   Paperwork - Getting the list, bio, business cards and labels complete
This is not the fun part but it is necessary.    I set up a list of my paintings with name, medium, size, year and price.    This can then be used to do a label merge to create the clear labels that will go on the wall by each painting.   I keep a bio and photo and so it just needed a few changes to be up to date.  Since I always have business cards, I pack a few to leave at the venue.    I also have labels preprinted with my name and contact information.  These are done in a gold foil.   I place one on the lower center of each painting as it is framed so these are already in place.    The week before I ensure all these items are completed.

3.  Packing - Safely packing the paintings to avoid damage
For this task I use large cardboard boxes and a rolling file box.   I wish I could find a larger rolling file box because this is definitely the easiest way to transport the paintings.   I save cardboard and bubble wrap and use to secure the paintings.   Packing I place front to back and back to back when possible.
I usually try to get this done the day before and leave in the garage.

4.  Ask a Friend - Hanging a show can be done by yourself but it sure moves more quickly with the help of a friend.   Fortunately I have a daughter who is willing to pitch in.

5.  Set Up to Hang the Show - How to get it done quickly
In order to get the best arrangement without a lot a constant rearranging I follow this process and it has streamlined this to around 30-40 minutes.    After bringing in the boxes of painting, we unpack and place against the wall around the room.    This venue has tables in front of the walls so it makes it super easy.   Then I look and see how the existing hangers are set up.   While you can change them, it saves a lot of time if you just go with what is there and make only needed small changes.    We then distribute the paintings around the room based on hangers.    After this I do a final look and make adjustment to ensure a harmony and continuity of the show.   If a hanger needs to be moved are added we do it at this point.

6.  Hanging the Show - Team work helps with this process.
The paintings are already laid out where they need to go around the room.  One of us gets a stool and is the "hanger".    The other one hands the paintings and stickers off.    Then it is like magic around the room.   A painting is hung and then the label is placed on the right lower side of wall.    After the hanging is finished, we step back and take a look at the show.    We make any needed adjustments to ensure balance.

7.   Who is the Artist - Always leave your information so people can contact you.
This venue has a small bulletin board at the entrance to the room, so it is easy to post my bio, tack up some business cards and the painting price list.    It's fun to hear from people who I've know from years ago but haven't seen in a while.   This month I got an email from an old friend I haven't heard from in years who stumble onto the show while at the library with his granddaughter.    Of course, our guild publicizes the event and I use my blog and Facebook to get the word out.

Sharing your work is an important part of painting.   I encourage you to join a local art guild and get involved.   There are usually opportunities to either participate in a show or like this have a "one person" show.  

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