Geisai Taipei is one of the big chances for independent artists and crafters to get noticed by the Asian art market, including galleries, curators, organizations, magazines and other organizations. One the one hand, with hundreds of artists competing for a handful of recognition awards, the chances of self-representing artists getting “discovered” and represented are slim to none – but on the other hand, that tiny chance of getting your art in front of industry leaders is enough, for most of us, to dish out the US$ 234 for a little booth (W 180X D 180X H 240cm) at this one day art fair event.
Plus, the growing popularity of Geisai and the large community of Taipei art connoisseurs means that, if well-utilized, Geisei can be a great opportunity to grow your fan base and increase your exposure – and maybe even to connect with some interested buyers.
Although I joined Geisei 2 last year, I didn’t know what I was getting into and presented very, very poorly. With just one little booth, I figured I better cram in as many paintings as possible, stacking them up on top of each other, and stuffing each little corner with personal oddities, fliers, news-scraps… I even had an electronic talking fish and a wooden Buddha statue to try and give my booth some style and color. BAD IDEA. You don’t want to present your art like 2nd hand knock-offs at a flea market. You want to project your paintings’ value with simple and clean presentation. Think like a gallery: white walls, lots of space, crisply printed title tags, high quality printed materials (i.e. business cards). If there’s room, perhaps a catalogue of works/price list.
This question is much more tricky. With hundreds of competitors, you need a selection of paintings that brands you as an artist, stands out for it’s unique style, technique and theme. You want pieces that complement each other with similar colors. But you also want fucking good paintings – absolutely finished, pristine and polished: this means the edges have been painted or framed, the canvas has been glossed, it looks perfect. At the same time, you want something edgy/striking enough to make people gasp in awe-stricken stupor (ok, maybe not if you’re a landscape artist – but you should still shoot for it). Paint something that grips viewers and makes them sigh in wonder at the captivating beauty – or repugnant horror or scandalous humor – something that they will immediately go find their friends and drag them to visit your booth.
Well I’m still struggling with that question. On the one hand I have some of my standard, unusual, Magritte-esque surrealist portraits of beautiful girls; a few of them are pretty good. Portraits or people paintings have won in the past. I also have some stronger pieces; my orange juice Buddha or my new sexy Sponge-Bob adultery painting, which is SURE to make a stir. But I also came back to Peru with some awesome wooden ornamental frames, to do a series of pop-art/religious icon paintings, which could be pretty awesome. I may need to get 2 booths this year.