In the Trenches: A New York Artist Navigates Her First Salon and Group Show 

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In the Trenches: A New York Artist Navigates Her First Salon and Group Show 

(And Amasses an Amazing Team in the Process)

January 2018

January 7th, 2018 A listing on the Opportunities page of the NY Foundation for the Arts site catches my eye: “Start your career off right…in front of the New York and Brooklyn art scene…Best in Show wins a cash prize and a solo show!” Another listing searches for works “under 30 by 36 inches” that “boast of color”. I swallow the $35 submission fees and give both a shot. The carrot at the end of the stick “…solo show” suddenly appears on my radar.

An hour later – BAM! An email reads: “Your work is exactly what we are looking for!” Could it really be?! An hour later, another: “I enjoyed reviewing your submissions…” I am giddy with happiness and tell Joseph!  Nonplussed, he continues watching football.

January 8th, 2018Early morning. A Hillsong podcast echoes in the background. Pastor Brian Houston preaches on the pointedness of vision – “Write down the vision and make it plain…” Habakkuk 2:2. “Your dreams and passions are key to what you are really about…and connect you to the great I AM”.  I take this as a personal missive from God and smile inwardly.

Later that day: I visit Jim Braden at Duggal, a Photo and Print Production Place in New York. Jim is affable, witty and professional. We discuss recent museum exhibitions, fine art photography and the rambunctious machinations of his 12-year-old son. I select paper, determine collages to be made into prints and agree on pick-up dates. An artist himself, Jim shows me an upcoming book of drawings inspired by his son.  He does so with a touch of pride.

January 10th, 2018Early morning.  An update from my mutual fund company arrives in the mail. Given the confident market and a soaring stock price, the financial report in my hands takes me by surprise. I breathe a little easier.  Any previous financial fears vanish.

Anthony and I speak on the phone about the status of my website. We discuss several scenarios when he extends a game plan. I like him; he’s hungry; he has vision.  I ask myself what it means to stay committed long term. Have I not waited my entire life for this? 

Later that day: Jumping over dirty snowbanks and fighting a fierce cold, I make my way to the P.P.O.W Gallery in the Meatpacking District. As the sole visitor to the gallery that day, I am greeted by paintings, silk wall hangings and friezes alive in color. I feel as if I’m seeing for the first time. I decide then and there to cement a relationship with my designer.

January 12th, 2018 Temperatures fall below freezing. On the platform of the Grant City train station, I cull Google listings in search of a suitable photographer for my newest works. My meager Iphone photographs aren’t cutting it; I need quality photographs to refurbish the site, to serve as future prints to sell and to advertise to curators for exhibition purposes. A baby photographer listens to my plea but remains unfazed. A fine art photographer in the city offers a full-day session at $2500.00. Ouch! Feeling sticker shock, I move on.

January 15th, 2018 – I’m in luck! I find a fine art photographer in Brooklyn who shoots primarily for artists. I panic when Paul asks for access to a 10 by 10-foot wall. I suggest my parents’ Tudor home in Staten Island. He arrives and unloads his studio in the center of my parents’ living room. He shoots non-stop. Paul forwards me the name a new printer and a contact known for making affordable editions.

January 19th, 2018 – Both my gallery liaisons remind me of drop-off dates. The heat is on.  I collect my prints in the city and travel back home to the Hall of Frames. Janice and I select mats and affordable frames for a uniform look.  In an immediate about-face, I return to Tribeca for a full night of work, exhausted.

January 22nd, 2018 – I keep a mental tally for the costs of photographer, designer, printer and framer. Meanwhile, back at Duggal, Jim uncovers a print for “Landscape at Edgegrove”. We marvel at the results; it resembles the original to a tee.

 Me:How should I price my work?

Jim: “I would calculate the cost for all that went into production and charge three times the amount. Your time and effort costs money. You should be paid…!

January 26th, 2018 I’m riding in the back of an Uber car loaded down with six works and speeding toward the gallery. It’s Drop-Off and registration day; I’m excited and my heart is racing. I’ve spied my competition and I think I’ve got a chance.  I walk in and the walls are white with possibility. I know that this is just the beginning.

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Uncommon Alchemy

SLIDE 1: “momentum’s nursery…” handcut vintage paper collage (2020) 10” X 6 3/4” SLIDE 2: “an eruptive dismay…” handcut vintage paper collage (2020) 5″ x

Justin Barrie Kelly, Gold Medal for Excellence, found object, assemblag, contemporary art, Welsh artist, sculpture, Low relief, Wall hanging, Sculptural relief, Collage

Wickedly Welsh

“Gold Medal for Excellence” . Image courtesy of the artist. Wickedly Welsh In the Studio with Artist Justin Barrie Kelly @justin_barrie_kelly   Fascination for geometry