View From The Top

gregbuscemeIt is always a wonderful time during TASIMJAE, the membership show. Not only do I get to interact with all returning artists bringing work in, but I get to meet the new entrants as well.

This year I was impressed by how many new entrants we had and how young some of them are. It points to a healthy mix of art veterans with the younger Millenials who came to enter the show in droves. Many got in reflecting the judgement of the juror to innovation and originality.

Here are the numbers: there were 106 pieces of art entered by 72 different artists. The juror, Michael Meazell, selected 68 pieces of art produced by 47 artists. That number constitutes a huge turn out and a big show, more than half the artists entered were represented.

As reflected in our youth influence, we have a young first-place winner Kwanzaa Edwards, a recent Lamar graduate who is making a name for herself by being a prolific artist. Second and third place winners come from McNeese State in Lake Charles. Kenneth Baskin won second place and Lynn Reynolds took third. It’s not the first time either of these artists has shown at The Studio and we appreciate the participation of the artists of Lake Charles for being so dedicated to our exhibition. They have been rewarded by many shows and many prizes throughout the years.

With so much good work and so few main prizes we also have a Honorable Mention category which includes Bryan Castino, Craig Odle, Samantha VanDeman, Shanna Hawa, Maurice Abelman and David Granitz III.

It is always a good idea to talk about the jury process. A juror is usually picked because of their ignorance of local artists which gives then an advantage of anonymity and a clean slate to work with. we selected Michael because he wasn’t fully familiar with the show but he is fully aware of the community. Michael is from Beaumont and studied at Lamar University, but has lived in Houston for many years and thus is not aware of the artists from this area.

I wanted him because he has connections in Houston and he needed to see what is going on in B-Town, possibly to promote an artist from this area. But mostly, because he is a good guy and an excellent artist whom I’ve known for many years.

Not being selected is not a bad thing — it just happens. No reflection on your work, it was the choice of the juror based on their own tastes and prejudices. Had he had lunch before the judging he may have chosen a whole new set of work or rejected more, one never knows. So don’t burn your work because someone didn’t select it, that has no bearing on the quality of your work or your placement of that work in another show.

It does make one reflect on one’s work and if there is anything that will improve it. Your own introspection about your work should be the arbiter of its quality or significance.

For those itching to get their work in somewhere we have the Alternative Show in June, an open call for entry with no juror and no fees and no chance to not get in. Entry is like the membership show but no selection is made, all get in. This has historical significance based on the French Academy Salon in Paris where, among others, a young artist, Gustav Corbet,was rejected from the jurors at the Salon. Outdone by this Corbet set up his own tent for his work and for all those who were rejected by the Salon which, over time, became more popular with the public. So it is with the alternative show, A school of art in its own right.