Jump to content

Zapp application-My issues


Recommended Posts

There has been someonline application talk so I'm bring this up here.

 

I have my own issues with zapp-not that it does not work or is not easy to use.

 

I do not feel it best for artists or shows.

 

More that it allows anyone who can push a button to enter shows without knowing much about them.For the promoter they get a huge increase in fees as more push the button then would normally apply and for the show the turn around of artists doing it one time only increases.

 

This fragments theshow. This is how- Artist shows up with work that does not work in that market-as all they know is what little zapp has to say about show and how easy it isto push a button-

 

They have traveledfrom heaven to earth to get to Tim buck tu then die sales wise and never come back or push that button again. I have had them as neighbors morethan once.

 

This has not been good for any of us. Slides digital images-photos no matter I’ve worked with them all. That’s not the issue here.

 

What does matter isknowing what works and what does not-I think promoters who do their own P R and gathering and taking responsibility for the juried process are best. Yes I do a few Zapp shows but that does not mean I have to like it.

 

I’m on board (VP) who puts an art fair (non Profit) on the past 35 years so I know both sides of this.

 

Greg Lawler’s (artfair source book) review of zapp is below-check it out-he brings up some good points as well.

 

Mark

 

http://artfairsource...om/opinion.html

Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting article. But it sounds like a lot of negative energy here on the forum, and to somewhat in that article, is being directed toward ZAPP that should be directed at the event organizers and artists. ZAPP is just a tool to organize the images so the jurors can view them.

 

Of course images were going to go digital. Of course artists would have to adopt new technology. Is it ZAPP's fault that people can tweak images on Photoshop? No. If people get in to a show with tweaked images and then sell poorly, is that ZAPP's fault? No. Is it the event organizer's fault? No. Artists have a responsibility to apply to shows that they are qualified to attend. I do a ton of research before applying to a show. Should event organizers make sure they are jurying to the best of their abilities? Of course. But of course not all are going to. I make functional pots. Nothing too showy, but well made and elegant (if I do say so myself!). There are a lot of shows that I don't expect to get in, and therefore don't apply to, simply because they tend to accept more flashy, showy work. It's no different than selling through galleries. It has to be a good fit.

 

 

Sales have decreased 10% since 2000. That's not too bad considering how the economy is functioning. Tell that to most other businesses and they'll tell you to stop whining. Jury fees have gone up 60% in the last 6 years. Big deal. That's $11. If $11 makes or breaks your business then you have bigger problems. Booth fees have gone up about $100. That's a little more annoying, but if you have a good show, it's still a better deal than the cut a gallery takes. If you add $2 to every pot in you booth you can make that up pretty easily.

 

I also have a hard time with people blaming the application process when they don't get in to a show they do every year. It is a juried exhibition, after all, whether you've done it before or not. Maybe, because there are more people applying to the shows, there are a lot of better artists applying. The assumption is that more applications equals more bad applications. It could be the other way around. As galleries keep dropping like flies, artists have to find new venues to sell their work. Art fairs fit the bill. And shows have to bring in new artists in order to stay current and exciting. I strongly disagree with the article that new artists should be limited to 10%. That's way too low, and will simply discourage new artists from entering the fair world at all. A smart artist will have a good web site and email list so he/she can contact customers to let them know which shows they will be attending, and have on online sales option, too.

 

I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but this is business, and there is competition in business. It's not easy, and the world is changing quickly. I've been working at growing my gallery, studio and repair business for the last 8 years, and it's a constant struggle, but it is growing. Art fairs are yet another revenue stream for me. The internet has made it more competitive on all levels, but that's how it is. The world is changing, and as usual, artists are struggling to keep up and accept the changes. My shop probably wouldn't be open for business if it weren't for technology and the internet, as it is the #1 way for me to find customers. It would be impossible for me to advertise all over Chicago and Milwaukee (and the whole country in reality) otherwise.

 

ZAPP is not evil. Art fair promoters might be kind of evil, and I know of a couple that are truly evil, but that's how it is. But if they get too evil, their businesses will eventually fail as people stop applying to their shows. We used to have these same conversations about gallery owners. Everyone's making money except the artists...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Big Electric Cat

Sorry, Matt I wish things were going better in that industry. I think a real paper is better than the electronic version - but then, I am older and in the minority.

As far as Mark's post, I think (and I could be wrong) the point that he and Greg Lawler are making is that the vetting process for artists has become less stringent, and less accurate, simply because Zapplication allows for so many artists to apply to shows. Jurying fees have increased, but these fees are not being used to hire more or better jurors, they are going to the promoters bottom line. Hence, the jurors that they DO have can't keep up with the load of images submitted, and tweaked pictures are probably going to slip through, and enable some 'artists' to be in shows that they perhaps should not be in. This is but one source of art fairs woes, if true!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt,

 

I to like the feel smell and touch of a paper-sad to see them slowly go away.

 

Neil,

 

As far as (lot of negative energy here on the forum,) I'm not known for much of that-I try and be a contributor here.

 

As you said its business and sometimes business is not all fun or good-My point is it’s a discussion good or bad and we all need to know theupsides and downsides-

 

Zapp is not evil it’s a tool that we use-but as with tools sometimes a sledge hammer is not the right tool for putting in a tack

 

I think B.E.CAT got the boiled down point I was referring towell.

 

 

The other thing, which is now truer these days, is people sendin jury photos of items they say they make and do not. They often bring an entirely different product (import). As a board member at a show we see there has been a rash of this over the past few years also as told to me from other promoters-Folks say anything to get into the show-which thenbecomes a problem of dealing with them during the show. Kicking them out or banning them next time whatever is a lot of energy. This has been a huge problem,which not long ago was almost a non-issue.

 

Its not a pleasant or upbeat topic but its one we artists need to talk about.

 

It’s not good for us the show or the public.

 

Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope I didn't come off as too harsh. It's definitely all worth discussing. I just get frustrated sometimes. Artists easily forget that this is business, and I get all worked up into a tizzy because I can't get away from the fact that this is business. We make a product and we sell it. Just like shoes and iPhones and everything else at Target. Yes, our products have a special use in the world, and that's a whole other conversation, but when it comes right down to it, it's production and sales. It's hard to keep that perspective when your heart and soul are wrapped up in your product. I've had to adapt my business model every year since I opened just to figure out how to make money in this crazy market. I've had to stop selling some products because I can't compete with the online retailers when it comes to price. I've tried umpteen million advertising methods. And just when one starts working, everything changes. It's not easy being a potter....

 

And I'm still not convinced that jurors aren't doing their jobs well. That article is opinion, after all. Yes, the statistics may be true, but the effects of those numbers are opinion. Fact: there are a lot more people applying to shows than before. We do not know if that overwhelms jurors or not. It's easy to say that's the case, but we really don't have any proof. The majority of shows I have applied to so far this year have been at least a few days late with their acceptance/rejection notifications, sometimes a week or more. Does that mean they are overwhelmed? Does it mean they are unorganized and behind schedule? Or does it mean they have more applications than they expected, and are taking extra time to ensure they are doing a good job with their evaluations? We don't know. Bad work got into shows long before ZAPP. I think we really need another point of view, like from someone who organizes the popular shows.

 

As for not spending enough of the jury fee money on the jurors, I think that can be read another way, too. If someone asked me to jury a show for free, would I do it? In a heartbeat. And I have. It's a great resume line and great exposure to the art community. And it's just plain fun. Should they lower the jury fee if they're not actually spending the money? Maybe. It could be they're spending that extra money on advertising or something beneficial. Could be they're just pocketing it. Again we don't know. It's easy to say we're getting screwed, but we might not be.

 

 

I was talking about this with one of my students this afternoon, and we came to the conclusion that hand made goods are cool again. Just look at Etsy or the Renegade Craft Fairs, or the Knit $itch movement. My 37 year old wife just started quilting. Too cool. There are a lot more people making handmade goods than there were 15 years ago. Maybe shows are trying to be current and hip and accepting more of those young hipsters and pushing out the old timers. Maybe there's just not enough galleries out there to support all us potters any more, and more of us are doing art fairs to compensate, which is increasing the competition. Are people creating new work, or just applying with the same stuff they have always made because that's always worked?

 

I guess what I'm saying is we really don't know, and it's way too easy to blame the new process just because it's different. I do enjoy hearing all the different theories, I just can't buy into any of them without knowing for sure. Again, I apologize if I'm coming off too harsh.

Link to post
Share on other sites

All that we do here is opinion. So more is better than less-.You get what you pay for at most info boards.Me I try to pass on things for the most part so others do not need to fall into the same holes I have.I do feel we are all in this together.

I personally have used zapp from almost day one as shows jumped on the bandwagon-but as with anything there can be downsides and we as artists need to consider them

I'm not feeling to close to my work as its been almost 40 years of making and selling and its just work nothing more. Yes in 1000 mugs I like a few better than the others but they are all the same price and I hold them all in the same regard (except for reds)

What I can say is that downturns in the economy have always been been good for reasonable priced hand made items. There has always been an uptick in sales for me in every last downturn since the 70's

Sales are up overall past year as folks value the hand made items more when $ is tight. At least thats been my experience

For me as a west coast potter I have yet to see more younger potters coming along making more handmade items-maybe thats true back east. I would like to see it but we have not.

As you noted bad work has always been around-heck when I started my work was bad/unrefined-Thats not what I meant.

Pottery for me is only business and its been a great one.This week has me sending out pots to two states and making drops to 3 galleries and one wholesale spot. These pots where made all last year.

salt pots are the exception-pure fun only.

With this business comes experience with all types of fair promoters and long ago in the early 80's I made the choice not to deal with promoters that I thought where as you said( truly evil)

This decision has really worked well for me in the long haul.

I tend to only do business when its good on all sides-as now in my life whatever gets made sells and goes away some faster than other true but it all goes. At some point we will all realize we only have some many pots in us.

I have learned that when you send a customer home from a show with a bag of pots as they forgot a form of payment you will have that customer for life like a mole on the neck.

Mailing a mug and have them send the check -another customer for life-This type of business is going away I'm told and thats from the people I trusted to send in the $.

I have adapted Jeff Khons (another potter) way of thinking-once its made I've already past that and on to the next so Its someone else's to deal with either with money or to use.

No apology needed I'm thick skinned.

I do not expect or even hope all agree-as we all have different opinions

Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd like to add my opinion to this thread .... basically I agree with Neil's positions ... that Zapp is a convenient scapegoat for all of the problems that art festivals are facing. Most of the arguments in Greg Lawler's article are not factual, just unsubstantiated ranting. And I totally disagree with the idea that art festivals are "getting rich" while artists are suffering. Nobody is getting rich these days! Even if you use Lawler's unsubstantiated stats, festivals are only making a few thousand extra dollars from the additional applications. That's nothing. And if that extra money will keep them from going out of business, then good for them.

 

And I think it ridiculous to argue that Zapp gives advantages to lesser quality work. That just doesn't make sense. We are all still on the same playing field, the field is now digital and larger. But we still all have to compete just the same.

 

The quality of any given art festival is solely based on the individuals who are running it, and nothing to do with Zapp. There have always been good shows, and not-so-good shows. Zapp didn't change that. And the next application protocol that comes along to replace Zapp won't change that either.

 

The one thing I do agree with in Lawler's article is that the profitability of arts careers has gone down by a lot. No doubt this has been painful and frustrating to many. If you want something to blame, it's the collapse of the housing market.

 

Mea

Link to post
Share on other sites

The one thing I do agree with in Lawler's article is that the profitability of arts careers has gone down by a lot. No doubt this has been painful and frustrating to many. If you want something to blame, it's the collapse of the housing market.

 

Mea

 

 

Bingo. Pottery/art are luxury items. If there's less expendable income available, we suffer. I think another problem is that there are way too many art fairs now. Around here every little 'burb has an art fair, and that spreads out the profits too much.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote-(I think another problem is that there are way too many art fairs now)

This statement is right to the heart of something BIG

If a community has say one or two art shows a year then they are a big deal and well attended-If there is one art show every weekend thru the season for the public to attend they why bother for them to go. The thought is we can go next weekend or some other time.

This has what I have seen over the years especially in large urban areas-for me the closest is San Francisco a 6 hour drive-there is a show within a one hour drive for the whole of the bay area all season and into the winter.

Sales at all shows drops and shows no longer have a special spot for the buying public.They are not well attended like they once where.

If you can focus on shows in areas that only have say a yearly show for a large or even small area

This is a general plan with exceptions.

Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites

Artists easily forget that this is business, and I get all worked up into a tizzy because I can't get away from the fact that this is business. We make a product and we sell it. Just like shoes and iPhones and everything else at Target. Yes, our products have a special use in the world, and that's a whole other conversation, but when it comes right down to it, it's production and sales.

 

couldn't agree more. nicely put, neil.

 

I've had to adapt my business model every year since I opened just to figure out how to make money in this crazy market. I've had to stop selling some products because I can't compete with the online retailers when it comes to price. I've tried umpteen million advertising methods. And just when one starts working, everything changes. It's not easy being a potter....

 

just curious, what business models and advertising have you used that seems to work well? whatever you're willing to share is fine, no need to give away your greatest secrets or anything.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in the Chicago area. There are at least 3 shows every weekend within an hour of the city center. Many are small, with a lot of hobby-artists selling. But there is at least one good show every week. It's tough. That said, the public seems to have a fairly good idea of which shows are the good ones, and a lot of people don't like to drive all over the city, so they tend to go to the good shows that are closest to them. But it still seems like way too many....

Link to post
Share on other sites

In regards to Zapp itself, I'm glad it's available and about time. Earlier I mentioned that I work in the news newspaper industry. I’ve had a pay cut and coworkers have lost jobs, But I really don’t have any feelings against new technologies or the internet, that’s just the way things are, no Luddite here, even a bit of a geek.

 

Before digital, I hated the hassle of analog, dealing with film, mailing slides....etc. I couldn't wait for something like Zapp to come along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Before digital, I hated the hassle of analog, dealing with film, mailing slides....etc. I couldn't wait for something like Zapp to come along.

 

 

 

Ditto. Slides were a nightmare. I remember applying to grad school way back when, and having to get 20-30 slides together for every application. The cost of duplicates was awful for a starving student.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.