Friday, 4 October 2013

WASPS Open Studios 2013

WASPS Open Studios is an annual event i have come to love. The process of getting to the weekend of the event is, however simply exhausting.

In previous years, I have been one of the artists who become heavily involved in organisation. This year I decided I needed to take my foot off the gas a bit. It is a frustrating process - over 40 artists - all with their own opinions, trying to make the weekend work.

In the past it has frustrated the hell out of me as, if you don't already know, artists can be over-sensitive. That's fine and I think it's right that everyone has a voice but it gets to the point where, well, I just want to scream at the insanity! In my previous career in design, I worked in a medium-sized company that really evolved over the years. they worked on changing the culture from the early days and after I had been there 16 years, many of the people there had become quite sharp and efficient. I ran a small but, I would say quite switched-on design department. Driven to "exceed customer expectations", that translated into creating the best designs at a competitive price, making a profit, enjoying ourselves in the process, hopefully having done such a good job that the customer came back to us in the future.

The Bad Stuff

Working with a group of artists is the opposite of this. I was having a T-break with an artist friend who also had a different career for 2 decades before going back to painting and I was glad she also was feeling the frustration. Reinventing the wheel, talking about the same thing over, and over, and over but not actually doing it. Needing a committee just to put a fucking price label on a wall, not learning from mistakes made in previous years, the list goes on. We came to the conclusion that it is just an "artist" thing. For some, it may be the fact that they have never known anything else.

When I was a young designer, I learned from other designers. As I moved up the ladder I still learned from other people. What strikes me at WASPS is that there are several people who are really not very successful and yet they want to run the show. Whilst I think everyone should be heard, people who have sold one painting all year really should learn to shut the fuck up when it comes to TELLING other people how it's done. It beggars belief.

I am, however, getting used to it now.

So, this weekend, I will be used to the selfish bastards who hogg the public spaces, meaning that their fellow artists won't get as many visitors into their studios and the stupid artists who , despite bing asked, won't park their car outwith the WASPS car par and leave space for our visitors because they just don't get that visitor experience is hugely important (some of us unerstand that if you have three kids it can be a nightmare having to park a ten minute walk away).

I will also have to take on the chin, the visiting artist with NO business manners whatsoever, who take up too much time when you only have a limited amount to speak to your customers. I will also have to put up with the really rude ones who hand out their business cards and take photos of artwork without even asking.

The Good Stuff

Why do I bother with all of the above? In the end, I think that most of the people I've referred to are trying to do a good job. Most are decent people, just trying to make the event the best they can. I don't mind differing opinions, it's just when they can't be backed up with evidence that it drives me crazy. There are a couple of A-holes at the studios but that's the same in every walk of life, isn't it?

So it all comes together in the end and what WASPS have created with the Open Studios event is, I think an amazing opportunity for artists and the public alike. I've seen some other shows around Glasgow in the past couple of years ago and none of the collectives have IMHO come anywhere near to what we put on in Hanson Street. The feedback we get is hugely positive, from the quality of the work to the fact that we put on a treasure hunt for the kids.

For me, I love meeting people in my own environment. I am a bit of a fish out of water when I am present at out of studio events but there is something about exhibiting from the studio that I am really comfortable with.Many visitors don't hold back and discuss there opinion on my art with me and as I am not present at galleries except on opening nights, there is not usually the chance to get that kind of feedback.

So here's to a great Open Studios 2013. Full Exhibition details here.

I hope it's a great event for the artists involved and for all our visitors and I have one day left to get the mess that is my studio (above) finally knocked into shape.