Art Competition Odds

art competition odds: Center for Book Arts’ Artist-in-Residence Workspace Program

The Center for Book ArtsArtist-in-Residence Workspace Program received approximately 150 applications for 5 AIRs in 2014.

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Participants comprise about 1:30, or 3.3% of applicants.

See all Art Competition Odds.

Art & Development

pet peeve: mark-ups

I just paid $20 for a pad of vellum (Borden & Riley #90 Sheer Trace Vellum, 9×12 inches, 50 sheets) at Sam Flax in midtown Manhattan. Why? Because I received the materials list for a class 46 hours before it starts, and I haven’t got the time to take the trip to the art stores downtown in the next two days. So Sam Flax it was, and whatever Sam Flax wanted, I paid. Apparently, they want $4.50 over the list price (other stores, like Blick and Utrecht, charge less than the manufacturer’s list price of $15.54—respectively, $12.39 or for a comparable product, $13.99).

I want to support the little guy. I understand that mom & pop shops can’t offer the same pricing that chain stores dealing in much larger volumes. But it’s not like their staff were any less aggressively apathetic. (Three customers waited to checkout as a staff member giftwrapped something, while three other staff stood around; one of them clipped his fingernails. Gross!)

I dislike being so negative, but not as much as my distaste for feeling ripped off. I’ve learned my lesson.

Art & Development


This blog is not meant to be a personal diary, but a major change is coming, and I must explain the circumstances.

I started this blog three years ago, in April 2007, with Four Reasons Why I am Writing a Blog:

I think of this as an exercise in Research + Development as an Artist, Citizen, and Art Community member.

1. To promote professionalism, rigor and generosity–values I hope to reciprocate within the San Francisco Bay Area art community and larger world.

2. To demystify the life of an artist. To share my enthusiasm for contemporary art.

3. To consider ethics and politics–the artist as citizen.

4. To think about what it means to be an artist, and the process of becoming the kind of artist I would respect and admire.

I’ll be sharing experiences, event listings, reviews, quotes, links and reflections. Though this writing will be grounded in my experiences, rather than writing about me, I look forward to thinking about larger issues through a localized investigation.

Since then, when I was on the cusp of finishing my graduate studies, I’ve had many wonderful art experiences. I feel like I’ve got a really strong, solid community here. There is certainly more I could do in the Bay Area, but I feel like I’ve made a respectable effort to look at art, visit new spaces, partner with diverse institutions, push my practice, contribute, and continue developing as a participant in the art community.

For the most part, my optimism was not unfounded. When my high expectations have been dashed, it ultimately strengthened my commitment to professionalism, ethics, and integrity, as well as my gratitude for friends and colleagues with shared principles. Being an artist is challenging, but without the support and generosity of like-minded friends and colleagues, it would be impossible.

Now, I’m on the cusp of a new transition: I’m moving to New York for family reasons. There are, as you can imagine, a rash of mixed emotions—of the Bay Area, sadness and gratitude; of NYC, excitement and anxiety.

The list of things to do, replace, explore, find, or restart in NY is overwhelming, but as it concerns this blog, I can say this:

I’ll continue to post musings, links to points of (art) references, information and resources. I foresee two opportunities for correcting the course of this blog, however.

First, publicizing worthwhile projects in the Bay Area seems like a community service, because there’s far more deserving projects than critical arts coverage here. NY, with its countless shows, spaces and publications, might take a different tack.

Second, I’m only one in a long march of artists who relocate to NY. This presents a conundrum for me—my coming-to-New-York, artist-in-the-big-city story is cliche, yet that doesn’t change the fact that my experience in the near future is going to be one of discovery. I’ll continue to strive to be accessible, relevant, and honest about my observations.

That said, I’m looking forward to connecting with like-minded artists, curators, writers and thinkers with strong commitments to rigor, excellence, community and ethics.

I’m excited to nurture my ties to the Bay Area: friendships, writing projects, art projects and other collaborations. I’m open to suggestions. Send me a note!