Where Everybody Knows Your Name, and They’re Always Glad You Came

"Was It a Dream?" by Amy Guidry; Visit www.AmyGuidry.com

I wanted to take a moment to write a review of sorts of a local gallery in Lafayette, LA. I’m always interested to see what others are up to, especially when they do their own thing as opposed to just following the mainstream. So when your gallery has its own artwalk and is situated away from the “usual suspects” (i.e. downtown gallery circuit), then it must be Visions Art Gallery.

There is a variety of artwork on the walls at any given time. Some of the artists are well-known in the community, while some are just starting out. There is pretty much something for everyone since the work ranges in style and medium. I recently purchased a Tom Ladousa ceramic piece from there (on sale) and have been eyeballing some de Kooning-esque pieces by Dutch Kepler.

Another quality about the gallery worth noting is the overall atmosphere. This is not a stuffy gallery. If you are in the witness protection program, you may not want to go here because these ladies will know your name before you leave. Bonnie Camos (the director) knows everyone and freely introduces everyone as well. Put it this way- if Bonnie has a myspace page (I have yet to look) then she must have a billion friends. And she genuinely takes an interest in them.

Visions hosts its own artwalk every third Saturday of the month. This falls after the usual 2nd Saturday Artwalk held downtown in Lafayette, and also allows Visions to spotlight its own exhibits. Having only one exhibit to attend makes it easier to take your time and meet the artists as opposed to rushing through to make it to the next gallery before closing. (Although I do love the downtown artwalk as well.) But even if you can’t make it to an opening reception, you can always go during the day, enjoy the art, enjoy the coffee, and make plenty of friends. And maybe add them to your myspace page…


Beautiful Art for Free?

Amy Guidry with her work at the Acadiana Center for the Arts

I thought I should address this issue even though it seems like common sense to me, but maybe others fall prey to this.  I’ve seen an alarming number of art opportunities that ask artists to give up their work for free in exchange for publicity, a percentage of the royalties, etc.  These are typically illustration jobs or graphic design jobs which promise to “provide you with good portfolio pieces.”  Or they expect their book to get published, thereby making the artist “famous” and they will receive “royalties.”  If you are an artist, no matter how desperate you may be for money or exposure, please don’t go for these “opportunities.” 

First, you should already have a portfolio, which means that you already have 8 or more of your best pieces to show.  So when a job promises that all you get in the end is a great sample for your portfolio, well, you’ve already filled that void.  You can find a paying gig that will do the same.  You should be keeping copies of your work for your portfolio, personal records, etc. anyway.

Next, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the overwhelming majority of potential authors looking for an artist do not have a publisher lined up.  So when they ask you to do free illustrations, you are probably doing this work so it will end up lining their cat’s litterbox.  More than likely these are half-baked ideas that these people *may* intend to follow through with, but won’t.  In the end, there will be no book, screenplay, collection of poetry, etc. therefore your artwork will never be seen. 

I know there are exceptions to every rule, but more than likely requests for free artwork are nothing more than that- free work.  Time is money, so please keep that in mind before you consider forking over your valuable work to strangers (or even family members!).  Unless someone has already shopped around for a publisher and their deal is a “sure thing,” then you can discuss your payment and get it in writing.  And unless you know that your work will be heavily marketed (and this is still debatable), don’t even consider hoping for publicity from the use of your free illustrations, etc. 

Don’t get me wrong, pro-bono work is great, but the jobs I’m talking about are not for a good cause.  They are simply a means to an end for someone else looking to line their pockets with your free work.  Before you give away your comic book art, maybe you should just write your own comic.  Or get a gig doing graphic design for an actual design company that pays you with money and not empty promises.  There are plenty of paying opportunities for artists, you just have to look for them.  Let’s put an end to the starving artist concept.  You’re a paid professional, and should be treated as such.

Let me know if you come across any other questionable opportunities.  Comments?  I love comments.  Questions?  I love questions. 



Been Caught Stealin’ (And not in the Jane’s Addiction way)

Grrrr.  I just found one of my paintings posted on the internet by someone.  Without my permission.  And not even a credit to my name!  What’s worse is, it was posted amongst a slew of stolen images of cute kittens and whatnot.  Just randomly pasted onto a page, as you often see this phenomenon.  You know the ones… pictures of cats making weird expressions or those god-awful sparkly, animated fairies in goth outfits that barely cover them.  And now my work of art, art being the operative word here, is now being associated with these lame images.  And they didn’t even mention the artist behind the work.  Yes, that’s right- me!

You know, I’m never super happy to see my work stolen- yes, it is stealing, folks.  Remember Napster?  But if the theives at least have the common sense to put my name there with the image or better yet, put a link to my website, then I feel a little better.  At least then people are aware that I own the image.  I created it.  You get the picture.  But to find my image(s) blindly posted without my name attached, just allows more fools to take it and do the same.  It will spread like a virus then.  Think about it- no one knows who created those kitten photos or goth fairies (although I’d want to remain anonymous for that last one…) and no one cares.  They think those images are just there for them to use.  No worries.  Wrong.

So let this be a lesson to you.  If you think you can post my work without my permission, you are sorely mistaken.  And if you think I won’t find out about it, again, you are sorely mistaken.  I’ve found people halfway across the globe that I’ve never met.  And this applies to my work and that of other artists as well.  We work hard to create these pieces.  So give us our due.  And stop stealing! 


Southern Open 2008 Juried Exhibition

Just a "few" of the guests that arrived when we first got there.

Well, if you weren’t there, you must have been the only person NOT in attendance at the Southern Open this year. The Southern Open 2008 is the second juried exhibition held at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in downtown Lafayette. Last year it had a good crowd and a good number of entries, but this year was overwhelming. Perhaps word has started to spread. Who knows. Regardless, the place was packed, you had to practically yell to be heard, and there were nearly 800 entries (and that’s from only the 5 states allowed to participate). Yowza.

Amy Guidry with juror Peter Frank, art critic and art historian and my painting "Anti-Aging"

As stated in my last post, the juror was Peter Frank, art critic, art historian, and writer for LA Weekly. I had the opportunity to meet him and get my picture taken. The show was very diverse, and as he stated, juried shows allow him to choose a wide range of work as opposed to a typical curated show with more of a direct focus. Makes sense. I appreciate that his taste is eclectic. Sometimes juried shows will favor a particular style, depending on the juror, but this one had variety. Maybe it’s the secret ADD person in me, but I often prefer shows with diverse works. It keeps me interested. I love to see how they all fit together even though they were created by different people.

Amy Guidry, Ralph Bourque and Troy Dugas with his work

Alas, my work did not win any awards, but it was chosen. I’m more than happy to say that. And it was amongst some great work, so I was happy to be in their company. I did think it was placed a little low on the wall, which Peter Frank agreed, so you may notice this in the photos. I guess they had space issues because a lot of pieces were grouped together one above the other.

If you’d like to view all of the photos from the exhibit, you can check them out at www.AmyGuidry.com/slideshow.htm

Saturday Artwalk- Not One, But Two Shows!

"Anti-Aging" by Amy Guidry; 30"w x 24"h; acrylic on canvas

In an attempt to get my readers out there viewing my work in person, I want to inform you of two shows I will be in this Saturday.  As you may or may not know, this Saturday- May 10th- is the 2nd Saturday Artwalk in dowtown Lafayette.  In addition to the usual gallery openings, the AcA will unveil the Southern Open 2008, their juried exhibition featuring works from 5 Gulf states.  The show was juried by Peter Frank, an art historian and art critic, who frequently writes for LA Weekly.  There were over 770 entries and 105 works were selected.  One of my paintings, “Anti-Aging,” is featured in the exhibit. 

The opening reception starts at 6, in conjunction with the Artwalk.  Peter Frank will be in attendance and is scheduled to give out awards at 7pm.  I will definitely be at the exhibit, so feel free to say hi or offer me some free porn or acne medication as do my spam fans. 

"New Realm" by Amy Guidry; SOLD; acrylic on 100-yr. old ceiling tile

Also scheduled during the Artwalk is the Heymann Historic Ceiling Tile Project and Exhibit.  The exhibit will take place at Galerie Lafayette (located in Jefferson Street Market).  My tile, “New Realm,” will be on display.  My tile has actually already sold, but its new owner has graciously obliged to leave the tile up for the exhibit before it is shipped to its new home in Montana.  So this will be my last chance to say goodbye, and your final opportunity to see my work in person. 

I will be running back and forth between the shows and checking out the other gallery openings while I am there.  Please stop by!  Artwalk is from 6-8ish, depending on the crowds.  You can see for yourself why so many people say my work looks even better in person. 


Too Shy Shy, Hush Hush, Eye to Eye

"Complacent" by Amy Guidry; SOLD

Yes, for all of you fellow music hounds, that is from a Kajagoogoo song.  My title refers to all you shy (?) readers out there that have not left any comments or questions for me.  Don’t be shy!  What thoughts do you have concerning art- be it mine or others?  Do you have any questions?  What’s on your mind in regards to current art trends or the art market?  Let’s get a discussion going here.  I’m providing my insight on this blog, but if there’s a certain issue you’d like to get my perspective on, let me know.

For instance, one question that I seem to get a lot is how I come up with ideas for my artwork.  I think nothing of it, but perhaps this is a tough issue for other artists or maybe they’re just curious about my thought process.  To answer the question, I generally sketch tons of ideas out and pick and choose what I want to bring to fruition.  Usually once I start, I then decide on the direction I want to go in so I can create a cohesive body of work.  This means that a lot of ideas are put on the backburner.  However, I eventually get back to them and use them as is or develop them a bit further.  I used to not sketch out every idea, which was a big mistake because I know from experience that what may have seemed like a stupid concept at the time is actually a great idea.

Never throw out your sketches.  Maybe that’s the packrat in me talking, but some of my best paintings are from ideas that I almost abandoned.  Maybe they are not meant to be used at that time and will be appropriate later.  Or maybe you just need some space so that when you return to those ideas, you can work on them with a clear head.  Sometimes I have the idea, but I try working it out in different ways (all pointing in the same direction, just a different handling) so that I have several variations to choose from. 

So I think that answers the question.  If you have any others, please feel free to share them with me.  Even if it’s just to ask who’s Kajagoogoo.