So, dear readers, here is the long anticipated (if you don't know me, please insert heavy sarcasm...), part 2 of my surtex journey, this time concentrating on how we (Tammie, Emily and I) worked together as a collective in preparing for the show.
Firstly, let me say that if you are planning on exhibiting in a group, make sure you have common goals, work ethics and individual styles that ultimately look good when shown together in the same space. Maybe that seems obvious, but the look of your booth, design, etc. should have a cohesive vibe to it...not so much where the individuality gets lost, but enough that a passerby knows the kind of art to expect. The three of us (along with the other collective members) had been together, doing collaborative projects for over a year, so we knew that we could depend on each other going in, to share the workload and work well on a collaborative basis.
Once we committed to the show, our first design-related order of business was to put together a Surtex ad. We were all busy, so naturally, the deadline creeped up and we only had a few days to put something together. After deciding to just divvy up the allotted space in thirds, it was apparent that we would need vertical images! Giraffes, llamas and top hats to the rescue, haha. We agreed to an overall palette for cohesiveness, added some coordinating patterns at the bottom to fill the space (and show we could do more than characters...a recurring theme). Emily put together the overall design with some additional great hand lettering and we were done in about 24 hours, whew!
Our next design topic, was the booth itself. This was a little trickier. We all were of the opinion that we wanted to stand out and be different, which by our definition, meant not going the typical vertical banner route. I believed that as a collective, we had a unique opportunity to do something a bit different...we had the advantage of combining our time resources as opposed to an individual artist and yet we were not as large as your typical design studio, attempting to fairly represent a larger number of artists' work. Our booth design evolved over time and many discussions, via text, email, Facebook, google chats, you name it. Initially, we were going to feature a different character scene on each wall. The characters would be dressed in our own patterns and hopefully, could be printed on foam core, to give the walls some added dimension. The more we thought about this, the more we realized that this would really only feature characters. Being a group with differing strengths, we needed to rethink and come up with a design that could showcase pattern work more effectively. Tammie came up with the great idea of extending the "rain" theme we already had going on the character wall, with a wall filled with raindrop patterns. At that point, we felt that we would have the best of both worlds... pattern + characters = happy happy!
|Wall design that was axed in favor of the raindrop wall concept.|
|Initial thumbnail of what our character wall might look like.|
Next came the extras. Emily had the awesome idea of having a selfie wall. Since we had a corner booth with an outside wall, we decided to utilize that for selfies. That left the interior/flip side of the same wall. Having crappy site lines (we started referring to it as the "useless wall") I thought of playing up the rain theme a little more (yep, I know how to run an idea into the ground) with a fun self promo.... squirt guns (or for the politically correct crowd, "soakers"). With all the walls, spoken for, we divided up the tasks. Emily did the character background and designed the selfie shapes (we divided up the props themselves later), Tammie did a graphic plaid background for the raindrop wall and other areas, and I did a happy happy lettering pattern for the selfie backdrop along with the headers for the squirt guns.
|We each contributed our own birds as well as hand lettered names. |
Credit for the Happy Happy Art Collective logo goes
to Muffin Grayson.
Now it was time for actual design and production. We never actually comped up what the final booth would look like, something that in retrospect, was kinda scary. The most we did was mock up our own areas of the walls. Emily provided the background image, and I made sure that my elephant would fit. For production, again we divided up responsibilities. I dealt with the foam core vendor, Tammie with the banners and Emily tied up all the loose ends and handled a lot of the dealings with the show itself. We had talked intermittently about hanging raindrops, suns clouds, etc. as a cute finishing touch. That idea got scaled down to a raindrop banner, hung between the poles. I found some cool colored vinyl online (what can I say... I procrastinate by shopping...) and we cut and strung together all the drops on setup day.
|This was Emily's preliminary character wall background for layout purposes, She later added flowers that we each had drawn. White vinyl raindrops were added by hand at the show after we had adhered our guys to the banner.|
Fortunately, Tammie was local, so we had the everything shipped to her (lucky Tammie). The only snafu was with the foam core. The company I found that could print and die cut our characters was based in San Diego. Needless to say, oversized foam core animals with skinny appendages don't always travel well cross-country, but we gave ourselves enough time for some redo's, which we ended up needing to do. Setup day was a bit more involved than the usual hanging of banners. The command velcro strips worked really well, even with hanging our big, wall-sized banners. After cutting numerous foam core tabs to the backs of the characters and raindrops, we adhered them all and moved on to cutting out more raindrops for the various walls as well as for the banners. We decided to tackle packaging up the squirt guns back at the hotel, after we ate.
|Our wild and crazy Saturday night activity... bagging and stapling up squirt gun promos!|
|our promo table set up... magnets, cards, postcards, stickers and pencils galore!|
|Emily was a pro at interacting with the passerby's!|
|my little shower of patterns :)|
Ultimately, we were super psyched when we saw how it all turned out (so maybe we or at least I was a tiny bit worried, not having comped it all up!) The show went very well and the booth design and selfie station served as great conversation starters. Well, I think that about covers it! If you haven't dozed off by now, thanks for reading!
|parting was sweet sorrow!|