100 Prints, and I took home none

Friday, August 5, 2005

I went to Open Studio‘s “100 Prints” event earlier this year, an event that I have been attending for about 10 years. It’s a fund-raiser for Open Studio wherein 100 artists each donate an original work of art (made with printmaking techniques such as lithography, silk-screening, giclée), and 100 people each buy a ticket for $300. There’s an hour or so of walking around and looking at the art, sipping a glass of wine and eating some great hors d’oeuvres, then they start drawing numbers out of a barrel. When the number on your ticket is drawn, you have one minute to pick one of the artworks that remains on the walls. Great fun, raises money for the excellent printmaking facilities and scholarships at Open Studio, and I’ve always taken home something interesting.

This year, my walls are full. 900 square feet of apartment, and I have every wall covered with art: much of it from Open Studio (Jan Winton, Tara Cooper, Dana Holst and others), some photographs, one large computer-generated fractal image, a few antique prints, and a lone acrylic painting. I just can’t justify buying more art, and will likely stay that way until I move to a bigger place.

So for the first time in 10 years, I didn’t buy a ticket, but went as the guest of a friend who I introduced to 100 Prints a few years back. What a different perspective! Usually, when I go, I know that I’m coming home with one of those prints on the walls, so I rank everything into five categories (A through E, or “love it” to “birdcage lining”) on the first walk-around, then rank the ones within my A list. If everything on my A list is chosen before my number is drawn, I start ranking my B list. I’ve rarely had to move past my A list, and only once past my B list: there’s no accounting for taste, since the person whose number is drawn first inevitably picks something on my E list.

Walking around without a ticket in hand, my perspective was more along the lines of “what would I pay $300 for at an art show”? Although all of the works are worth at least that much, it’s more a matter of what would I choose to pick to hang on my walls if I didn’t have to pick something. I saw one fabulous piece that my friend ranked on his E list (I already knew that he and I do not share our taste in art), and three or four others that I really liked. My first choice went early, but the one that would have been my second choice didn’t go until very near the end, so I likely would have had it if I had bought a ticket.
Oh well, I don’t have the room on my walls anyway.

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