The Art Shopping Art Fair, Octobre, 2019, Paris.
A few weeks ago I exhibited for the first time in Paris at the Salles du Carrousel du Louvre. The Carrousel refers here to a suite of halls under the Louvre museum and the glass pyramid, used for events and exhibitions. There is about 5,000 square metres (56,000 sq ft) of space.
The First Day.
The champagne opening or vernissage, was on the Friday evening and then there were two full days, Saturday and Sunday. Although it was very tiring and there was a lot of planning preparation involved, I had a great time thanks to my friends and family, who came to see me. And thanks to the many visitors, who stopped to complement me on my work and asked me about my techniques.
The event was very well-organised on paper, with instructional emails flying back and forth between the exhibitors and the organisers for months in advance. I arrived early afternoon on Friday with my car at the delivery bay. You had to reserve a time slot in advance, in order to unload your work with the help of personnel onto the trolley provided, to take it up to your stand.
My stand (below) ready and waiting for the vernissage to start.
Why they bothered with the reserved timeslots I have no idea. There was at least half an hour wait, engine running in the subterranean depths under the Louvre museum, before I could access the delivery bay. Then when I arrived there were not enough parking spaces for the number of cars or trolleys for transporting the artwork up to the exhibition space, or personnel to help with the heavy lifting.
Anyway, once I got all my gear up to my stand things went pretty smoothly. I had ordered large-scale prints mounted on a semi rigid aluminium backing (Dibond) from my preferred photography lab Picto, in Paris, with self-adhesive velcro strips on the back. I knew that the temporary wood walls were covered in stretched cotton, but I had no idea whether the large prints would stay stuck for the three days. In fact they were very easy to put up even on my own, with the help of spirit level, measuring tape and pencil. And they didn’t come unstuck and were also very easy to take down.
As I work on my own most of time, it was a great boost for my morale and confidence to have visitors admiring my work. Recurring comments about my images were they are:
peaceful, delicate, calm and the wide-open spaces give a feeling of fresh air and freedom.
There were around 200 exhibitors and when my application was accepted I was well chuffed to be exhibiting at the Louvre. However, given the very disparate range of skills and experience on show I’m not sure that there was much of a selection process, except one based on who was willing to pay. Much of the work was very bright and garish, stuffed into small spaces, so when visitors arrived at my stand near the back of the of the exhibition space, they seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.
Meeting The Public.
I had some interesting encounters over the weekend. The visitors were as varied as the work on show. Late Saturday evening just before the fair was due to close, two dishevelled and odorous gentleman stopped at my stand. They looked like they had just come from work on a farm, out in the country, but I had the most interesting conversation with them and they were intrigued by my images.
Earlier in the day, a Bohemian looking Asian man with a long moustache and fancy waistcoat and who spoke no English or French, used a handheld translation device to tell me:
I enjoy being pierced by your work.
I will never know exactly what he meant, but I appreciated his sentiment and his joyful expression of pleasure. My work does seem to especially appeal to Asian people, which is a wonderful validation of my efforts as I love the minimalist aesthetic often associated with Asian art and design.
As there were many more painters showing their work than photographers, most visitors thought my pictures watercolours, which is fine by me as it is my intent to explore the commonalities between painting and photography.
Another unusual but brief encounter was with an energetic little man, who grabbed one my business cards and said:
What are you doing about an art gallery in urban wasteland? When’s that going to happen?
And then he rushed off!
Below is a video I made of the before, setting up, my stand and some demonstrations by artists and finally the day after, which I spent resting and reading with Oliver.
So what have I taken away from the experience?
Would I do it again?
The first question everyone asks me is:
Was the show a success?
In other words: How much did you sell?
I am delighted to have sold six prints, although I did not cover my costs, which were considerable.
Financially speaking the event was a disappointment, but I have an order for a large print from the new Versailles series and who knows what those three days may bring me in the future.
Time will tell.
It’s that time of year again when the search for gifts for the holiday season can become a chore.
Why not visit my shop to buy the unique and personal gift of a limited edition photographic print?
A Gift That Keeps On Giving.
This is a print created at the Chateau de Versailles this summer, a brand new series, available in my shop from 90€ upwards.
A royal gift for yourself, family or friends.
Thank you for visiting.