Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sausalito Art Fair Lessons #1

I spent yesterday at the Sausalito Art Festival, considered one of the top ten in the country. It was a beautiful day for walking through the colorful minds of a few hundred successful artists.  I saw material combinations that surprised me, bold colors, humor, passion and exquisite craftsmanship.  And, learned a few lessons that I will share here over the next few days.

On the macro level, what struck me was the prevalence of three elements:  color, size and surprise.  

Bold colors were everywhere, pushed to the absolute maximum, even in materials such as ceramics which normally feature more muted colors.  Here's Fred Stodder's teapot. 

Size leaned toward BIG with many 6, 7, or 8 foot pieces in some of the galleries.  This echoed what I've been hearing, that big, expensive pieces are selling better than moderately priced and sized works.  Of course, I don't know what will wind up selling at this show but the big pieces were definitely dramatic.  Here is one 6'x4' piece by Red Wolf  that was particularly beautiful and dramatic.  The way he layers color together gives this almost colorless piece great depth and warmth.

Surprise came in a lot of ways ... blending of process such as the ceramic collages offered by Sara Post  to the painting on recycled materials offered by South African Fortune Sitole  but my favorite was Kue King who blurred the line between making art and being art.  Kue combines the soft fragility of feathers with hard, twisted metal wire to form whimsical trees that wave in a gentle breeze.  But Kue is himself a work of art, unique and engaging. 


  1. That big (and expensive) pieces are back may bode well for the economy. I've noticed the same in the fine craft shows here, after several years of seeing smaller and much less expensive work on offer, it's great that artists are starting to allow large-scale back in .

    Great teapot.

  2. Big expensive houses are also selling better than the more moderately priced ones. I don't see it as boding well for the economy, unfortunately; I see it as another symptom of the growing gap between rich and poor. Perhaps I'm just a negative nellie, though...