madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

State of the Artist: Nude Nite Tampa Report

Nude Nite the Show proved not terribly hard to fine, though not terribly easy either. I used the Maps on the iPhone, pinned the location, then guessed at an exit which didn't exist. No matter, off at the last exit before the I-4 to I-275 interchange and south some blocks, and lo the street to which the address belonged, turned left and progressed and knew I'd found the place when the traffic stopped waiting for parking and the picketer preached the Gospel at those who walked past to gain entry or leaving.

I availed myself of Valet Parking, and am glad I did.

Into the show, stop at the desk. A sign at the line divided the line between Tickets and Will Call. I, as an Attending Artist, followed my instructions to proceed to Will Call (no line, everyone there waited to buy tickets) and received my packet. Packet included a very nice, very generic lanyard, my Participating Artist Name Placard to hang from said lanyard, two complementary tickets for any guests I may have brought. (Which, at ticket price, would easily be said to compensate me for the jury fee, making that part of the show a break-even. Hmm... thought to keep in mind, that.)

I picked up a program as well, and at some point an advertising card (Nude Nite and poster design on the front, Sponsors on the back). Then I started wandering through the show. I started with two simple goals for the short term; find my piece, and find an acquaintance from SCA days who is a body painter. Longer term goals included looking at as much if not all the art there. Middle term goals included something to eat and drink.

So a very brief aside here. The Show rented an old warehouse/factory building for the week or so needed to do the entire show: setup, show, strike setup. It comprised, essentially, two large rooms, very tall for single story, and I expect ordinarily acoustics in that space would be quite echo-prone. The setup helped with that. The 2D artwork hung on the thick fabric covered types of setup display (or one can think the Cube Dividers from a Dilbert Cube Farm). 3D artwork stood in either open space or against a wall. Those panels helped with the sound, being somewhat sound absorbent.

The panels also divided space nicely, being set up in each room in essentially concentric circles, with gaps for traffic. The centres of each circle comprised one Performance Art space. Such a space would be Industrial Ugly under most circumstances. Lighting for the show came primarily from the lights for the individual hanging and sculpture pieces, and some nicely set both indirect and direct lighting (on the Performance Art spaces). One overhead fixture I liked in particular, a dozen or so white studio bounce/filter umbrellas forming a ball shape around the light fixtures within.

Starting my walk through by going clockwise from the door, I found Cat in one corner already hard at work. Cat started by doing faces at Renaissance fairs, and expanded. She booked two models for Nude Nite. Each night of the show, these three worked together, two being painted, and then at periods through the evening being turned loose to wander through the show. Then they'd return, and the design either enhanced or changed as desired. Later, after the painting sessions completed Cat could wander the show as well.

Turns out, my piece hung not far from Cat's space. Thus, accomplishing the two short term goals I next went on for some food and drink. Once I accomplished that I set off to experience Nude Nite. On-line blurbs about the show said at least 200 pieces in the exhibit. I think more, and I'm guessing between 400 – 500. Thought that might be sensory overload. And that doesn't count the live performance art.

Listing it all? Forget it. Suffice to say I've long agreed with the statement 'I don't know much about art but I know what I like.' Not sure I can honestly say I don't know much about art these days, I think I should say honestly I know a little. And one of the things I know is that knowing what you like, what one can live with in ones own home is important.

So. I saw a lot. Some I liked. Some not so much. All of it interesting. Some of it will provide seeds, germinal inspiration for work I will pursue. So, a few which stand out:
  • The 'Nude Descending a Staircase' hologram which I also see as an homage to Eadweard Muybridge, by Rufus Seder.
  • The charcoal drawing, all circles, many overlapping, laying out an abstract shape of a torso by Cadoc.
  • The oil painting, wherein the artist laid the paint onto the canvas likely with a palatte knife, in squares that are set on the diagonal. To the human eye, too close, it looks to be an abstract. Step back, and the face, bust, and torso start to take shape. Move to one side or the other, and more of it comes out. Pixels! In paint! by Michael Kellner
  • Aluminum wire sculpture of a figure arching, hogtied in chains suspended away from the wall by Samantha Churchill (with a brief comment by one of the attendees, 'This art is so affordable...').
  • Another piece which also explored pixellation (and I've already, pre-show, an idea to work this up as well, based on something I saw a few years ago), this time photographic. Another face & torso, the nude made up of hundreds of individual photographs of the same model, though clothed, selected for the colours & tones to provide the colours & tones in the portrait, by Larry Nightswander.

Photography of the event is encouraged. I'm not terribly worried about any photographic duplicates of my work out there, being under glass there will be reflections of the lighting present. Also, anyone photographing it with flash, reflections, and anyone not using flash, overall light levels such that ISO will be way up there and photos somewhat noisy. I did some as videos, provided the best low-light response using the iPhone camera.

Some are of the various performance arts. Not all were nude, though all showed skin. Many were the people body-painted there at the event. Some were concept costumes, the Cyborg Alien, the Lizard Alien, the Mayan/Aztec. I liked watching the Mayan/Aztec Warrior, very interesting; a full head helmet/mask.

First I saw him he did his part up on one of the performance blocks, essentially kata with the obsidian edged sword he carried (all wood, I got a closer look at it later). Then he wandered through the crowd, doing the same movements with the sword only actually 'attacking' people in the audience or the other performers, never connecting. He was good with that. At one point when another of the Attending Artists started chatting me up, same Artist warned me the Mayan/Aztec was behind me. I saw the edge of the sword in my peripheral vision and smiled.

'That's all right,' I replied. 'I've got my Jedi Force field up, and he can't get through that.' Turned to look at the Warrior (this is when I got that closer look at the sword) and though he stayed in character, his other hand came up covered by parts of his outfit so only I could see the thumb up in response.

Stayed to the end, then joined the line of Artists picking up their unsold pieces. Even this provided an interesting view of the space. During the show, with the lighting and overall sound levels the Atmosphere for the event I'd call Industrial Chic. With the primary lighting after the Audience cleared the hall and we started gathering our pieces, it changed to Industrial Ugly. Amazing difference.

One couple, Artist & Partner, the Partner walked the line asking the Artists to show her their work. She wanted to see the faces of the Artists, put them together with their work. Another, one of the Show Staff, stopped to chat on their way out with the nights receipts on sales. Pieces did sell, even if not mine, and the estimated sales for the three nights of the event are something like 17 Grand. Bit of news for me, the Orlando show apparently out-sells the Tampa show. Another bit of news, both shows are showing an upward trend in total sales.

Here is when I really appreciated the decision to use the Valet parking; they'd already pulled the vehicles for those who had, and were clearing their work, out and ready for us. Into the car, and onto the road, back to the hotel. Slept fairly well, totally through the Monstrous Human Idiocy that transpired at 02:00 wherein DST: Daylight Stupid Time 'Sprung' ahead.

This is the first Show, as opposed to Weekend Art Festival or Con Art Show in which I've been represented since my freshman and sophomore years in college when I put pieces into the Aquinas College Spring Arts Show. Will I try again next year? Oh hell yes.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: art, life the universe and everything, photography

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