Friday, July 16, 2021

Flood Warnings, Anyone? The Art Fair Edition

...And so, the Ann Arbor Art Fair weather curse holds true, though it feels especially damning this time around: foreboding forecast for the shortened three-day timespan, though we all lucked out yesterday -- the threat of rain held off, and I personally wandered wayyy past my limit in order to get a complete overview of the whole thing. Even with the good-but-clown-feetish-sneakers, my feet swelled, pooooor little me. The fair had some marked changes, of course. No avenues of fair food, no violin monster spotted; no Ignatius Hats with people swirling around the booth, laughing at themselves in the crazier designs, but secretly hoping they look cool; no potters' guild or yourist clay sections; no Nick Wroblewski, and South University offerings look much diminished (though to be fair, still more vendors than most art fairs have in total)... On the flipside, splendid watercolorist Katie Musolff returned to the Original area, and Karin Coron returned to grace us with her intense oil & oil pastel landscapes (booth NU807), and Connie Verrusio, the maker of one of my all-time-favorite pairs of earrings (repurposed produce scales).
I cleared off my day yesterday and today to wander the fair, with our spitfire happily deposited in preschool; and here we are today, with solid rain since 3 AM (intermittent torrents). So far there's no pocket of time with less than 80% chance of precipitation, which is damn brutal for all the artists, having paid quite a lot to be here, not to mention travelling for hundreds of miles, all the schlepping, and STILL having to be present in one's tent, without enough people coming through, trying to talk the body away from resenting wet feet, and the mind from anticipating a financial mess of a show or a tent collapse. Oi. I have artists whose work I'd love to revisit, and was counting on doing that today, with myself selling at a local ArtHouse Pop-Up tomorrow & Saturday (913 Gott St, Ann Arbor, ahem!). Maybe at some point a lighter rain, perhaps a drizzle, and I could briefly wander in galoshes? Here's hoping everyone ventures out on Saturday, with the better forecast.
*Just a few snippets*
Yesterday, it was refreshing to see the fashion illustration of Anita Rundles over on North U (booth WA817). She's based in Brooklyn and has done some work for Netflix. I love the interplay of precise, fine lines with freer splashes of color -- good energy. It also reminded me of the cache of old design illustration my Mom kept from her art school days. She passed away in March of this year; it was a comforting to look through Rundle's originals, thinking of how Mom would have had definite reactions (both praise and criticism). For her part, Rundles fretted over the weather curse that everyone else had mentioned; if you are in the area, go visit her booth and help make her first show worthwhile. And ask her why she didn't bring the great Solange illutstration wih the gold earrings (on her Instagram), though I'd assume it's sold.
Master glassblower William Ortman has been at it for 16 years. Astoundingly intricate without being fussy. Large cut away vases.
Kipley A. Meyer wasn't dying for a photo op (sandwich held behind his back; reticence), but he obliged me. He asked me if I did yoga or meditation, and explained that his pieces speak to going beyond the chatter of the monkey mind (see "Enter Within," on the left). When he gestured to the piece on the right, "Return" (or "Return to"), he ran his hand back and forth along the circular paths and said, "Return to the breath..." and it fit perfectly. For some reason, I also found the repetition of the pounded, rusty nails quite satisfying.
Allllll the way at the other end on Main Street, I almost zipped past Scotty Jones' booth before registering it. But once you see his sharp, and distinctively styled bags, you don't forget them. I became a fan at the Gutman Gallery shop, but when I saw his Urthy brand there, I didn't realize HOW much he puts into them: his fabrics, with few exceptions, are 50s upholstery textiles; the retro graphics are all his OWN screenprints; and he's just now branching out to using his own fabric designs (he highly recommends Spoonflower's quality). But I assume you have a team of people sewing your designs? "OHHHHHHHHHHHH no! NOPE, it's all ME" he laughed and asked whether I had been to the fair merchandise booth yet. Jones sparkled: "I did the merch designs this year! They just brought them to me" Wishing much success to Jones!
Almost time for Terry Gross, and still it rains. "Drizzle stopping in 50 minutes" -- but the following hour block shows more thunderstorms. Artist friends I feel for you. And hope people come out in full force tomorrow.

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