At the Hinsdale Art Festival this weekend, there was a major issue regarding the legitimacy of "buy/sell" art. This usually is seen with jewelry vendors, and often with silk embroidery "artists". It seems to be happening more often lately. Apparently, the applicant to this show applied using the same process as any other artist, but the jury was not able to discern from the photos that the goods were mass produced and pre-manufactured, and not created by the person (in this case, a group of people) that were selling them. It is always clearly stated in the rules of all show applications that the artists must not use premade materials and must be the creator of their work.
Their double booth was next to mine, but as a watercolorist, I'm not as attuned to this type of scheme as are jewelers and people that possibly are just more observant than I am. To these more observant people, it was an offense to their hard work and creativity. One of them complained to the show organizers about it, and apparently they were confronted, and admitted that the jewelry was made by others. At that point, the vendors were forced to display 4 neon green signs declaring that their merchandise was made of pre-manufactured components. They were not expelled from the show, however, and there are those that feel that is the only way to clamp down on this behavior.
It is important to not let these fraudsters have a place in fine art shows. All of us that conceive, create, and lovingly offer our fine work for sale deserve better. It cheapens our efforts, and we should not be hesitant to point out these offenders to show organizers. If there is a market for such merchandise, and I'm sure there will always be, they should find a place at flea markets or other venues.
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