This past weekend, I was honored to again be a part of the “Through the Lens” art event. A showcase organized by Kristi Lewis for local Bay area Photographers of all ranges, hosted at The Parliament in Oakland, CA.
Unsurprisingly, there was no shortage of photographic eye candy to be found and attendance was bursting at the seams. Seriously, Kristi filled the house to the ceiling on this go. It was amazing.
During the previous event, she had somewhere around 25+ artists’ and I believe just over 100 attendees. This time, there were 40 artists and well over 300… yes, 300 in attendance. It was shoulder to shoulder of creative appreciation. I have to give it to her. It was a trip.
In a recent talk I had with her, she had noted that many people assume she has a team that works on this. Which is easy to assume. Organizing and managing a gallery event like this, even a small one, is a monumental task. Intimidating to the nth degree. But in reality, the team consists of three… her, herself and she. That’s it.
Mind you, she has the great fortune of good friends and colleagues willing to step in to lend a hand when D-Day comes. Whose assistance, is greatly appreciated by all. But the brunt of this endeavor is a solo approach and I have to commend that.
Now, as for the show itself… at the footer of this post, I have supplied a list of the showcased artists’ whose work graced the walls that night. Subjects ranging from street, cityscape, still life, macro and more. A wide array of talent to meet the interest of any art fan… and a Face Painter and DJ to boot.
As participants, we also had the opportunity to sell our work, as well as any books, zines and loose prints we care to bring. Proudly, I did sell one piece myself, my StreetPX co-host Jim sold a couple and I believe another 9 pieces or so changed hands that evening and now hang upon some happy new owner’s wall.
What’s neat about this event is the varying stles and genres on display. As noted above, there is street, macro, documentary, architecture and even funny still life work. Just great stuff and artist’s were able to submit up to five pieces each. Most were around 16×20, but there were also some wonderful pieces that were a bit larger on the surrounding walls.
I have to say, with the amount of artwork on display, I was impressed it all made it up and they did not seem clustered or overwhelming. It was a pleasant showcase of all the work and evenly spaced. If I were to split hairs, I’d say the only slight downside was the difficulty in lighting the upper loft area, were more pieces were located. Standing in the space, one can only imagine how difficult it would be to properly light… and aren’t we all looking for more light. 😉
Now, as for selling loose prints, books or other while on the spot… in this particular event… proved a very daunting task. Personally, I had prepared a number of small prints for distribution and even considered bringing my book, “2000 Miles in a Vandura“. I even had ’em in the car, at the ready. But (and this is not a complaint here), it was packed within 30 minutes of the doors opening and near impossible to “show” anything in hand.
The venue itself, isn’t exactly forgiving for large numbers. It’s rather narrow, with very little open traffic area to work around or mill about. This layout made the areas where the work is primarily located difficult to penetrate and you truly had to tuck your head at times and just move forward. BUT, this is one of those “problems”, you could only dream to have.
When it’s hard to move around, it means the absolute highest theoretical amount of eyes are guaranteed to see your work. That is a good thing, just not so good for on-the-spot distribution. But the fact is, this is not the point of this show, it’s about the artwork, the talent. The opportunity to sell was simply a green-light permission, not a recommendation. Looking back on it, I wish I had gone out to the car and gave them all away. But I was too caught up in the moment to remember.
That is, until about 8pm. Which is when me being me became a problem and the anxiety began to creep up the back of my neck.
See, I don’t often do that well with crowds. Actually, let me rephrase that, without some liquid/smoky courage, crowds will simply destroy me. As such, sadly, I had to make my exit an hour earlier than I would have liked. Though, I had an absolute blast while I was there and that’s what matters.
Kristi is doing a fantastic job with this show and I hope this grows. I don’t really see a reason why it won’t and I will definitely be there to watch it do just that.
Kudos to you Kristi for all your hard work, congrats to the artists that made the cut and thank you Parliament for the space to house it all.
Through the Lens is a great event and I’m already looking forward to the next.
Much thanks to all of you that dropped by and for any of you reading that missed it, it’ll return on April 23 with more work to be seen. Also, for you artists’ interested in showing, pre-booking will begin soon.
Artists on Showcase:
- Swee C Oh
- Rolando Rodriguez
- David Clarkson
- Dan Shehan
- Marcell Turner
- Phil Tan
- Cornelia Ann Grimes
- Sara Wade Gray
- Prescott – Tuggywuggy
- Harvey Castro
- Justin Chimienti
- Keith Bodziak
- Alexis Aileen Darden Reyes
- Terry Scussel
- Mike Dillon
- Martin Ybanez
- Pete Rosos
- Chris Lovatt
- Emily Tinkey
- Big Ed Mustafa
- Don Carlson
- Costa Panagopoulos
- James Watkins
- David Luigi Gregory
- Jennifer McDonald
- Jason Rodman
- Clint Musgrove
- Edward Grylich
- Dennis M. Barry
- Pamela DuMarc
- John Mazzei
- Denis Lincoln
- Manuel A. Yánez
- Lauren Ammirati
- Alpana Aras
- Stan Pechner
- Kristi Lewis
- Elaine Kiso (apologies, could not find a link. Let me know and I’ll update)
- Francisco Aguilar (apologies, could not find a link. Let me know and I’ll update)