The Estero Fine Art Show opened yesterday at the Miromar Outlet Mall to sunny skies and gusty winds that kept art lovers cool and the exhibitors energized all day. Attendees were treated to many high-quality original works of art. But even better, the artists participating in this cozy boutique outdoor festival eagerly shared their inspiration, techniques and personal stories of triumph and tribulation.
Let’s be clear. Artists only have a handful of ways in which to market and sell their work. Some work through dealers, who promote their art to collectors and galleries around the world. Others consign their work to one or more reputable galleries, who handle marketing and sales through devices that include solo exhibitions, group shows and one-on-one viewings. More and more set up websites and engage in social networking in order to reach collectors, enthusiasts and art lovers.
But each of these options serve to insulate the artist from the people who view and ultimately judge their work by either purchasing or passing on it. Artists who participate in outdoor fairs and festivals do so primarily because they crave contact with viewers and potential collectors, even at the risk of their criticism or rejection.
“I’m a people person,” watercolorist Christine Reichow states unequivocally. “I love talking to people.” It’s common to see Reichow peering from beneath one of her trademark vintage hats, deeply engaged in conversation with someone she’s only just met. “Today, three people came in my booth and as we started talking, I discovered they were from my home town,” Christine beamed. Chance meetings, new friendships, those are the fringe benefits of choosing the art festival way of life.
Reichow is not alone in her gregariousness. Ask Julio Garcia about his vibrant, colorful paintings, and he’ll launch into a thickly accented description of how he blends surrealist and abstract imagery to portray fleeting emotions encapsulated in moments of time. Pop into Herion Park’s booth, and she’ll tell you about her experiences in the New York fashion district, dropping names like Yves St. Laurent, Ralph Lauren and, with a tinge of sadness, Alexander McQueen. Or swing by Patricia De Leon Alfonso’s tent, and the Santa Barbara transplant will share stories about how the creative types in her new Miami neighborhood inspire her and her artist husband to attain new heights in their own artistic endeavors.
To be sure, the art at Estero Fine Art Show merits a trip out to Miromar for a look. But the opportunity to get around, spend time with and talk to the artists you’ll find there is the real draw associated with a show like this one.
The Estero Fine Art Show brings to southwest Florida new original paintings, drawings, pastels, photography, ceramics, clay, glass, sculpture, wood working and carvings, fiber art and art jewelry from the ateliers, studios and workshops of some 100 local and internationally-acclaimed artists. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Admission is free and there is ample free parking.