What are the many experiences and challenges of your own show? Photographer Angela P. Schapiro recently participated as an exhibiting artist at Art Expo 2018 Foto Solo at New York City’s Pier 94, the largest art trade show in the world. For any artist, it’s a challenge and accomplishment to apply, be invited or exhibit work on such a large scale.
We asked Angela a few questions about her process and journey, the ins, and outs of getting her work in front of larger audiences, her most memorable moments, and any tips for other artists thinking of doing the same.
You were accepted to Artexpo New York 2018, congratulations. What inspired you to apply?
ArtExpo actually invited me to show in 2017, but I wasn’t able to participate. However, I did go to the 2017 show to see what it was like. The opportunity for a photographer to exhibit work seemed like a good way to get exposure, so I entered the 2018 show in the Foto Solo section.
How did you decide what work to submit for your application? Do you find editing your work for events like Artexpo or platforms such as Your Art Gallery to be challenging, or is that something that comes naturally to you?
This was the first time that I entered a show such as this. I researched who the most likely people to view the show would be on Trade Day as a guideline for what to show. Galleries, agents, publishers, interior designers, and architects, etc. I tried to select pieces that might resonate with each of these groups. I included 14 of my works. Some were abstract and some figurative.
Tell us a bit about the installation process at the art fair?
The Art Expo organization made delivery of my work to my booth very easy. But, I could never have hung my show without the help of two very good friends, David Segal, a theatrical lighting director, and Paul Markel, a designer. While I had made a schematic of how I planned to hang my works to scale, Paul actually created a slightly different layout. With an abundance of blue painter’s tape, he meticulously mapped everything out, carefully measuring and making sure everything was level. It took him six hours to do this! Then we spent another hour hanging the works.
How did it feel to get your work in front of such a large audience? What was the response to your work? What special anecdotes or people are most memorable from your time at Artexpo?
I had no expectations but was hoping for exposure. Although I didn’t sell anything, I did meet three gallerists who want to show me and an agent who wants to work with me. I have to follow up with them to see exactly what is in the details. There were three other photographers close to me and we ended up bonding and helping each other. If one of us needed to leave our booth for any reason, the others would keep an eye on it.
What did you learn from participating in an art fair? Are there any lessons learned you can share with other artists who are thinking about pursuing this type of exhibition opportunity?
Participating in a fair such as this is a serious investment. There’s the cost of the space, the cost of printing (I decided to print everything on aluminum substrate) and other add-ons. Showing by oneself is very tiring. This show lasted 4 days and you really had to be prepared to spend 8 hours a day on your feet. It isn’t very inviting if you are sitting behind your desk all the time. If I were to do this again, it would only be with a small group of photographers who would pitch in for a much larger space, which would have more visibility. I think that a platform such as Your Art Gallery may well prove to be the better way to go.