Sunday, July 19, 2009

Through the mill....

Ok...so some of you know that I went to NYC yesterday for the open casting call for a new (as yet untitled) art competition show on Bravo. I have some thoughts on the experience...I believe I can share my insights, though I will say the contract with it's stereo instruction meets legal jargon contract prohibiting artists from divulging certain aspects of the process leaves me wondering just how much I can say here...but then I wonder if SJP and Magical Elves would care about the musings of a "rejected" artist - yes, I was turned away.

I will say I had quite a good time standing in line for 6 hours - and I am not being sarcastic (Shout out to Lauren, Kevin, and Donna, numbers 157, 159, and 160...my line buddies :D) It was a festive atmosphere and a perfect day - seriously stoked we got there when we did, leaving us against a construction site wall that offered the *perfect* amount of shade.

Portfolios were passed around and fawned over, critiqued and conceptualized, props were given or looks of confusion (what was that thing?) were silently shared from within the line to perfect strangers wondering the same thing. Theories were created, conclusions were drawn...someone sneaks by with their portfolio announcing (but not too loudly) they have 3 days to create a piece, videotape it, and send it back. News spreads like wildfire...the crowd became amped. Catch phrases for the show's host were bantered about "It's time for you to go back to the drawing board" and 5 foot "portable" canvases were disected. Validaty was questioned. Egos were shot. Lies were dispensed. Iced coffee was abundant.

Tents erected in the hot summer sun marked the beginning of the end. The professional validaty of those skipping through hard copy portfolios, deciding the fate of hopefuls was scrutinized and probed by the masses - an audience wondering just who these people were and why their opinions were of importance buzzed with notions - everything from "Maybe they are gallery directors?" to "I bet they found them this morning at the subway." I wondered if they were somewhere in between...A few, not all, but a few, although charming, seemed more worried about where their coffees were than the actual thoughts of the artist with which they are speaking and the portfolio they were viewing. Of course I can't go into specifics, I will say I felt rushed through (this is a fact most could see from the street even...) I was ok with that if it meant I could speak to a panel directly, this was what I thought was going on through the "hallowed" doors we were all hoping to get through.

I didn't make it there though. Told I wasn't a "good fit" for one reason or another and sent on my way.

I wondered. I wasn't loud enough. Wasn't bitchy or edgy enough. I wasn't one of the "characters" they were looking for. I wasn't a skinny hipster. I was married. I couldn't understand her thick accent and fumbled...whatever it was, I really feel it had little to do with my portfolio.

I wonder if there is a repository somewhere filled to the brim with emerging talent waiting to be picked through for a price.

I don't worry about my work. I know I have a strong artistic voice. I wasn't what they were looking for, and I think they're right. I really believe they are looking for more varied talent to fine tune through the process so they can say they created an "art star". Academia tells us to fine tune our focus and hone our voice to create a cohesive body of work. I don't believe this is what the show wants. Which, I understand. I really do.

So, you won't be seeing me on TV anytime soon, but that's all good. I wouldn't take back the experience (though I would change a few things, like I wouldn't have spent 100.00 to get my passport application started if I knew I'd be cut straight away, and I would have worn sunscreen on my now bright red nose) I can say I was there.

I do have to say I overcame my fear of driving in a huge city. I drove my butt down there with my "entourage" (sister and good friend) and tooled around the city with ease, so now I can scope out galleries and take day trips down and get moving with that aspect of my career. NYC watch out. I'm not intimidated by you anymore :)

5 comments:

Jennifer Mullin said...

Kudos for you for trying out! I considered, but didnt have the guts.

I agree that on those Bravo shows, they are looking for a "look" as much as they are looking for talent.

It will be interesting to watch the show unfold.

Rachel said...

Yay for you that you had the guts to try out and double yay that you are now not afraid to drive in the city!

Abstractheart said...

That must have been a really fun and interesting experiance. You know reality T.V though and it still has a script.

alexkeller said...

i don't even really know you, although your work is on my wall. but i'm proud of you for driving in the big city and for trying out. at least now you won't be wondering 'what if?' i never made it into the graphic design program i applied for (twice), but i'm glad i tried.

Victoria Webb said...

See James Kalm's report (video on youtube) for his take on the day's auditions.

Kudos to you for driving in NY- I overcame my own fear a few years ago when I had my first show there. It's actually easier than driving in Philly.

Best of luck- and thanks for all the helpful tips you post about online selling. Much obliged.